Hershey signs license deal for more attractions

January 10, 2024, 11:43 AM · If you've ever wanted to visit something like Hershey's Chocolate World without having to make the trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania, you might soon get your chance.

The Hershey Company has signed a licensing agreement with Falcon's Beyond Global for Falcon's to develop Hershey-branded Location Based Entertainment experiences in both the United States and international markets.

"Falcon's is honored to work with The Hershey Company and bring some of the world's most renowned brands to life in new ways so they can be savored by even more consumers around the world," Falcon's Beyond Global CEO Cecil D. Magpuri said. "We are excited to explore what's possible with Hershey and help bring forth what makes their brands so beloved through memorable immersive entertainment experiences."

According to Falcon's, each location will include a Hershey-inspired attraction, a food and beverage experience, and a retail offering with branded products. Specific details, including sites and opening dates, will be announced later.

Hershey's Chocolate World in Hershey, Pa. stands next to Hersheypark, one of the top 20 most-attended theme parks in the United States. Hersheypark is owned by Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company, while Hershey's Chocolate World is owned by The Hershey Company, the global chocolate manufacturer and snack company that signed the deal with Falcon's.

Former Disneyland Resort President Rebecca Campbell has joined the board of directors for Meow Wolf, the Santa Fe-based immersive art and entertainment company that's known for its mind-bending experiences.

"Rebecca's vast experience is a game-changer for Meow Wolf," Meow Wolf CEO Jose Tolosa said. "Her deep knowledge of the media and entertainment space, including theme parks, perfectly aligns with our global aspirations, enhancing our current and future exhibitions and extending our influence beyond our physical spaces."

In addition to its flagship House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe, Meow Wolf offers Omega Mart at the Area15 complex in Las Vegas and Convergence Station in Denver. Meow Wolf's first theme park attraction was the Kaleidoscape dark ride at Denver's Elitch Gardens.

Merlin Entertainments has announced the appointment of Linda Zou as Chief Strategy Officer, effective next month. Zou joins Merlin from Boston Consulting Group in London.

"As Merlin transforms into a premium positioned, innovative and data driven company focused on driving enterprise value, we will continue building capabilities to be world class in dynamic pricing, optimising trade, exploring the future of branded accommodation, maximising retail opportunities and investing in technology to drive efficiencies," Merlin CEO Scott O'Neil said. "Linda is the perfect executive to lead our organic growth plans and ambitious plans and trajectory. Linda is intellectually curious, a driving force of will and has proven to be an extraordinary teammate. She will be an instant value add to Merlin as she brings a wealth of experience and expertise in strategy, innovation, and transformation in the retail and travel sectors which translates directly into our business."

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Replies (2)

January 10, 2024 at 12:36 PM

I think the "brand experience" category of themed entertainment is often overlooked. I don't know about others who frequent this site, but when we travel, even if it's a theme park-centric vacation, we tend to also spend time doing other local attractions. For instance, on our recent trip to Nashville, which I only reported here about our stay at the DreamMore and visit to Dollywood, we did numerous other attraction around the Nashville area which would be considered "themed entertainment". We went to the Jack Daniels Distillery (and Miss Mary Bobo's), visited the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson's home), The Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, The Parthenon, and an Escape Room (all were part of the city's "All Access Pass"). Many of the attractions used technology, media, and offered presentations similar to what you would see in a theme park - both the Ryman and Grand Ole Opry used projection and holographic-like technology similar to what is used on Rise of the Resistance and Universal's Harry Potter attractions.

While these attractions tend to be short, small, and/or draw a niche audience, they can be quite lucrative, especially if they connect with guests in a way that impacts the way they view associated brands or a region as a whole.

Pretty much every major city in the country (and cities abroad) offer similar multi-attraction passes for museums and attractions that often include brand experiences like the one Hershey is looking to create. Executed in the right way for a reasonable cost or leveraged with a combo-ticket that includes other similarly-sized area attraction can have a major impact.

The trick is making sure these go into the right markets, and making sure they're marketed correctly (too often brand experiences can underwhelm if it sounds like you're going to see your favorite product being made but only get to see a video of the assembly line, which is a complaint often lodged against Hershey's Chocolate World).

Also, a major kudos to Falcon's and Cecil, who I remember meeting from their work on Curse of DarKastle when the firm was merely a plaster artistry company that did a majority of the interior and exterior finish work on the BGW attraction.

January 10, 2024 at 10:22 PM

My guess is this will be something similar to the Legoland Discovery Centers or Crayola Experience you can find at many high-traffic malls/tourist zones.

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