This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (September 2018)
|Industry||Engineering, architecture, design|
|Headquarters||Orlando, Florida, United States|
|Mark Woodbury, President|
Thierry Coup, Senior Vice President
|Products||Theme parks, resorts, attractions|
|Parent||Universal Parks & Resorts|
Universal Creative designs, develops, and delivers themed attractions, rides, resorts, and parks globally for Universal Parks & Resorts, a division of NBCUniversal. Universal Creative operates as the Comcast equivalent of Walt Disney Imagineering, which is responsible for The Walt Disney Company's works of physical permanence.
Universal Creative's divisions include master planning, creative development, design, engineering, project management, and research and development. The Universal Creative team is composed of artists, architects, engineers, designers, producers, builders, writers and more who conceive, design and build all of the themed entertainment experiences for Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Singapore, and Universal Beijing Resort.
It is best known for its design of immersive experiences based on NBCUniversal and third-party intellectual property. Notable classic and modern licensed properties used by Universal Creative include Harry Potter works and films, Dr. Seuss properties, The Simpsons (Disney-owned and -licensed), Jurassic Park, Spider-Man (Disney-owned and -licensed), Transformers, Despicable Me, and Nintendo franchises.
In December 1958, MCA, Inc. purchased the Universal City Studio Lot in California. After MCA and Universal merged in 1962, MCA-Universal expanded into recreation. In 1964, MCA-Universal officially opened Universal Studios Hollywood. As the park grew, Universal Creative was founded in 1968 under the name MCA Planning and Development as part of MCA-Universal's recreation division.
Universal Creative continued to operate through 1996 as MCA Planning and Development, opening Universal Studios Florida in 1990 and creating attractions such as Jaws and E.T. Adventure. In 1996, MCA was sold to Seagram, which changed the company name to Universal Studios, Inc. In 1997, MCA Planning and Development was renamed to Universal Creative. Two years later, Universal Creative opened Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort.
The company moved to Universal Orlando Resort in 2001, the same year it opened Universal Studios Japan. In 2011, Comcast purchased NBCUniversal, incorporating Universal Parks & Resorts and Universal Creative into its portfolio. Universal Studios Singapore, a joint venture with Resort World Sentosa on Sentosa Island, was opened by Universal Creative in the same year. Its next major park projects are Universal Beijing Resort and Universal Orlando's Epic Universe. Universal Creative currently has offices in Hollywood, Orlando, Osaka, and Beijing.
- Mark Woodbury: President, Universal Creative and Vice Chairman, Universal Parks and Resorts
- Steve Blum: Senior Vice President, Ride Safety & Engineering
- Thierry Coup: Senior Vice President, Creative Studio
- Charlie Gundacker: Senior Vice President, Attraction Development
- Mike Hightower: Senior Vice President, Executive Project Director
- Brawner Greer: Senior Vice President, Legal Affairs
- Daniel Memis: Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration
- Russ Dagon: Senior Vice President, Resort Development
- Caryl Lucarelli: Vice President, Human Resources
- Gene Dobrzyn: Senior Vice President,Project Management Office
- Modesto Alcala: Senior Vice President, Global Restaurant Development
Universal Creative files numerous patents for new technologies with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In 2019, Universal Creative filed 43 patents. Some notable patents include the SCOOP ride vehicle designed for The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man in Universal Orlando Resort, interactive wand technology for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and moving portraits for the queue of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. "We actually had to create the technology which was used to make those portraits look like moving paintings," said Thierry Coup, Senior Vice President of Universal Creative's Creative Studio. "There's a whole portfolio of patents that Universal filed just with the creation of this attraction."
Universal Creative designs, develops, and delivers attractions, resorts, and restaurants for Universal Parks & Resorts globally.
Universal Creative attractions are known for their use of classic and popular culture intellectual properties, in addition to their incorporation of new technology.
Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Universal Creative's Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is considered to be the world's first "story coaster". The Creative team's coaster broke multiple records by being the first coaster in the U.S. to have a free-fall vertical drop (17 feet), catapulting guests 65 feet in the air at more than a 70 degree angle then immediately dropping them back down in one movement, having the most launches of any coaster in the world (7 total), and containing the longest coaster track in Florida, measuring approximately a mile in length. The construction of this attraction also included planting a forest of 1,200 trees.
Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure won the Thea Award from the Themed Entertainment Association for outstanding achievement, the Best New Roller Coaster Award from Theme Park Insider, and was named "best new attraction installation of 2019" from the 2019 Golden Ticket Awards.
Transformers: The Ride - 3D
Universal Creative, in partnership with Oceaneering International and Industrial Light & Magic, created Transformers: The Ride - 3D to be featured at Universal Studios Singapore, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Universal Orlando Resort. In this dark ride, riders board a 12-person vehicle designed to look like a Transformer and go on a chase from the top-secret NEST agency. The attraction blends computer-generated action with reality through the use of 14 screens and a variety of physical props. Universal Creative first opened this attraction in Singapore in 2011 and Hollywood in 2012, followed by Orlando in 2013. Its biggest challenge was real-estate space, which prompted it to be designed as a vertical, two-story experience. Transformers: The Ride - 3D has won numerous awards, including the Thea Award for outstanding achievement, the International 3D Society Lumiere Award, and was named "best new attraction" from Theme Park Insider.
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
Prior to The Walt Disney Company's acquisition of Marvel Entertainment, it licensed theme-park rights associated with the Spider-Man character, and related properties, to Universal that are limited to Japan and to the eastern United States. Disney retains theme-park rights elsewhere, including Disneyland Resort, in California.
Universal Creative's The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is a dark ride using advanced audio, with the sound accurate to 1⁄5 of a video frame. "All of your visceral, aural and visual input has to be in perfect sync," says Steve Blum, Senior Vice President of Ride Safety and Engineering. "Humans are very sensitive to anomalies in their environment: If you don't give them the right input, they detect right away that it's not real." Universal Creative partnered with Oceaneering International to create a 12-passenger motion-base simulator pod capable of six degrees of freedom (heave, sway, surge, yaw, pitch, and roll) and 360-degree rotation (achieved with a ring and pinion gear system), all contained in an angled shell to direct riders' view. Universal Creative's Phil Hettema and William Mason received inventor credits on the ride system patent, known as the SCOOP.
Universal Creative employees Scott Trowbridge and Thierry Coup storyboarded a scene-by-scene breakdown of the ride that would be projected onto thirteen 30-foot tall projection screens integrated with physical sets. Because guests would be moving toward, away from, or past these 3D screens, animators had to consider the perspective shift that viewers would actually encounter if these really. They developed a new process they called "squinching", used to account for a viewer's moving sightline and distorting the animation to match.
Created for the Islands of Adventure theme park that opened on May 28, 1999, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man won Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Award for Best Dark Ride for twelve consecutive years from 1999 through to 2010. It has since placed second in that category, after fellow Islands of Adventure attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, took the top spot in 2011. In 2000, the ride won a Thea Award from the Themed Entertainment Association for outstanding themed entertainment and experience design. It has also won numerous public-voted Theme Park Insider Awards and Screamscape Ultimate Awards. The ride has been duplicated at Universal Studios Japan, which opened in January 2004.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey opened in June 2010 as part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure. It features robotic arms as a ride vehicle which are mounted on a track, to travel through the attraction while performing their movements in synchronization with the ride's show elements (animated props, projection surfaces, and so on). In Amusement Today's annual Golden Ticket Awards, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey debuted as the best new ride of 2010. It won the Best Dark Ride category for five consecutive years from 2011 to 2015. Due to the massive popularity of the ride, it was duplicated at Universal Studios Japan (which opened on July 18, 2014) and Universal Studios Hollywood (which opened on April 7, 2016).
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is a steel roller coaster that opened on July 8, 2014 in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. The attraction was a part of Universal Creative's goal to "create Diagon Alley exactly how people might have imagined it in the books." It encompasses motion-based vehicles, detailed sets, physical effects, and 3D projection screens similar to those found on Transformers: The Ride 3D and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. The ride takes guests through the vaults of Gringotts, where they meet several characters from the Harry Potter films and have a face-to-face encounter with Lord Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange In Amusement Today's annual Golden Ticket Awards, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts has made it into the Top Five Dark Rides since it opened in 2014.
The Universal Creative Resort Development team designs and develops resort, hotel, restaurant, and retail experiences for Universal Parks & Resorts. Universal Orlando Resort's long-standing partnership with Loews Hotels led to the development of Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, Universal's Aventura Hotel, Universal's Endless Summer Resort – Surfside, and Universal's Endless Summer Resort – Dockside. Future Universal Creative resorts include The Universal Studios Grand Hotel and the NUO Resort Hotel – Universal Beijing Resort at Universal Beijing Resort.
Universal Creative designs and develops the restaurants within Universal Parks & Resorts. Award-winning restaurants within the parks include Mythos Restaurant, The Leaky Cauldron, and The Three Broomsticks at Universal Orlando Resort. Award-winning restaurants in Universal CityWalk Orlando include The Cowfish and Vivo Italian Kitchen. Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen, currently located only in Universal CityWalk Orlando, is expected to replace the Hard Rock Café In Universal CityWalk Hollywood in 2021. This is the latest addition to Universal Studios Hollywood to align with Universal Orlando Resort's CityWalk dining options. Other shared restaurants are Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, Bubba Gump, and Voodoo Doughnut.
Theme park and resort projects
Universal Creative is in the process of developing two new parks—Universal Beijing Resort and Epic Universe. Universal Beijing Resort is expected to open on September 20th 2021 with seven highly themed lands. These lands include: Kung Fu Panda Land of Awesomeness, Transformers: Metrobase, Minion Land, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic World Isla Nublar, Hollywood, and WaterWorld.
Epic Universe, the fourth park to be added to the Universal Orlando Resort portfolio, was announced in August 2019. It will feature an entertainment center, hotels, shops, restaurants and more. It is expected to be located within a larger 750-acre site that will nearly double Universal's total available acreage in Central Florida. No opening date has been announced. Brian Roberts, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Comcast Corporation, said the following regarding Epic Universe.
|Universal Beijing Resort (Phase One)||Universal Beijing Resort||September 20, 2021|
|Super Nintendo World||Universal Studios Hollywood||2022|
|Universal's Epic Universe||TBA|
|Universal Studios Singapore|
|Universal's Epic Universe||Universal Orlando||2024|
The Golden Ticket Awards presented by Amusement Today
|Best Indoor Attraction||1998||Back to the Future: The Ride||Universal Studios Florida|
|Best Simulated Interactive Ride|
|Best Dark Ride||1999 - 2010||The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man||Islands of Adventure|
|2011 - 2015||Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey||Islands of Adventure|
|Best Water Ride||2001 - 2002, 2004, 2006 - 2014||Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls||Islands of Adventure|
|Best Indoor Coaster||2008 - current||Revenge of the Mummy||Universal Studios Florida|
|Best New Attraction||2010||Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey||Islands of Adventure|
|2019||Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure||Islands of Adventure|
|Golden Ticket Awards Legend||2019||Revenge of the Mummy||Universal Studios Florida|
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