Looking for an all-ages adventure in a theme park known throughout the world for its thrill rides? Then it's time to plan a visit to Sesame Street.
The Themed Entertainment Association this month honored PortAventura World's Sesame Street: Street Mission during a Thea Award Digital Case Study. We covered the interactive dark ride when it opened in 2019.
Creative leaders talked through the project's development during the TEA Digital Case Study.
"When we start a new project, we are talking about new experiences for our guests. We are not talking about an attraction from the beginning. Depending on the experiences we want to bring to the audience, we go to an attraction, to a show, to a restaurant, or maybe all of them. It depends on the experiences we wanted for them," PortAventura Development Department Director Luis Valencia said.
For this project, Valencia said that the resort wanted something that appealed to all ages, which led them to do something they had never done before - building a dark ride. And for that, PortAventura turned to its long-time partner Sesame Workshop and the dark ride experts at Sally.
"Sesame Workshop's mission is to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder," Sesame Workshop Executive Vice President Ed Wells said. "To do that, we need to be everywhere kids and families are. So expanding our theme park reach with PortAventura World allows us to create that deeper connection with our fans and allows us to sustain the nonprofit mission work that we wouldn't be able to do otherwise - continuing to create high quality, educational and entertaining content for kids."
"There have been a lot of great Sesame attractions produced over the years, but a dark ride is a different thing," Sally Dark Rides Creative Director Rich Hill said. "[With] a dark ride, you're literally taking the guests into the story and into that TV show and trying to tell an authentic story with these characters' voices."
Hill described the result: "The Big Cookie has gone missing from the Big Cookie Parade, and so Detective Grover has hired us to help him travel the streets of Sesame Street, going to all these great locations and following the cookie crumbs to try to find who took the Big Cookie," Hill explained. "That's what we're charged with, and really it's a traveling exhibit through all of these great locations and seeing the great characters of Sesame Street."
"It was very important for it to match the TV show as closely as possible," Hill continued. "So one of the things we did was to make the animatronics match was that we hired Jim Henson's Creature Shop to come in and actually do the outer skins of the mechanics that we built here at Sally Corporation. Working with them closely, they were able to create the characters that we know and love, that we've seen on the screen for years and years.
"With the media, we were able to go out to New York and actually film the puppeteers live on the set of Sesame Workshop, and they actually acted out the entire script, and all of the scenes in person, and we were able to take that footage and then give that to the media department and they were able to match all the animation, the models and the characters' performances that had to shine through."
"Seeing them act out the words I wrote on a page was literally a dream come true."
You can buy tickets via the TEA's website to watch the complete session on demand, as well as future sessions in the Thea Awards Digital Case Studies series.
Previous Thea Award 2021 Digital Case Studies: Britain's Blackpool Pleasure Beach Celebrates 125 Years, 'Midnight Ride' Brings The Twilight Saga to Life
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