Universal Creative

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Universal Creative
Division
Industry Engineering, architecture, design
Headquarters Orlando, Florida, United States
Key people
Mark Woodbury, President
Thierry Coup, Senior Vice President
Products Theme parks, resorts, attractions
Parent NBCUniversal
(Comcast)
Subsidiaries Universal Parks & Resorts
Website www.universalstudios.com

Universal Creative is the research and development group responsible for designing rides and attractions for Universal Parks & Resorts theme parks.[1]

History[edit]

From 1968 until 1997, Universal Creative was known as MCA Planning and Development, working as part of Universal's recreation division. In 1997, when Universal parent MCA was sold to Seagram and dropped the MCA name, the company was renamed Universal Creative. Originally located in Universal City, California, the company moved to Universal Orlando in 2001.[2] In 2011, Comcast purchased NBCUniversal, incorporating Universal Parks & Resorts and Universal Creative into its portfolio.[3]

Innovations[edit]

Universal Creative is responsible for designing and creating innovative attractions such as The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (1999), Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (2010), and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts (2014), and has numerous patents on file for additional attractions and innovations.[4] Thierry Coup, Universal Creative’s Senior Vice President of the Creative Studio, describes the philosophy:

When people come to our park, a lot of them ask ‘How did they do that?’ It’s what we want to hear. But as they become more savvy, we have to keep improving and staying on the cutting edge. We look at up-and-coming technology, because developing an attraction at this level requires the use of tricks, techniques and technology that exists, and then we have to bring it to the next level. Often production systems we use for attractions are not available commercially yet. We work with technology partners to look at the future and see how we’re going to incorporate that into our attractions, to immerse our guests in a way that they’ve never dreamed about.[5]

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man[edit]

Entrance to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
Entrance to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Marvel Super Hero Island at Islands of Adventure

Universal Creative's The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is a "thrilling and groundbreaking dark ride" using advanced audio, with the sound accurate to ⅕ of a video frame.[6] “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.”[7] 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.[6]

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.[6]

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.[8] The ride has been ported to Universal Studios Japan, which opened in January 2004.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey[edit]

Exterior Facade of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey opened in June 2010 as part of the Hogsmeade area 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).[9] 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.[9] Due to the massive popularity of the ride, it was ported to 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[edit]

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is a steel roller coaster that opened on July 8, 2014 at Universal Studios Florida. It encompasses motion-based vehicles, detailed sets, physical effects, and 3D projection screens similar to those found on Transformers: The Ride 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.[10] 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.[10]

Universal Parks & Resorts[edit]

Universal Parks & Resorts, the theme park subsidiary of NBCUniversal, operates Universal theme parks and resort properties around the world. Universal Parks & Resorts started as a touring attraction with Universal Studios Hollywood in the 1910s, and in 1964 turned into a family amusement park destination. The park gives guests the chance to look behind the scenes of motion pictures and television programs produced by Universal Studios and offers ride attractions based on feature films and television shows. The popularity of Universal Studios Hollywood led Universal to build parks in Florida and overseas.[11]

Theme park and resort projects[edit]

Current projects[edit]

Project Park/Resort Opening Date
Fast & Furious Supercharged[14] Universal Studios Florida Spring 2018
DreamWorks Theatre[15] Universal Studios Hollywood Spring 2018
Aventura Hotel[16] Universal Orlando Resort Fall 2018
Dragon Challenge Replacement[17] Islands of Adventure 2019
Treminator 2: 3D Replacement Universal Studios Florida 2019
Super Nintendo World[18] Universal Studios Japan 2020
Universal Orlando Resort 2021
Universal Studios Hollywood 2022 (Rumored)
Universal Studios Beijing Universal Studios Beijing 2020 (Rumored)
Universal Studios Moscow Universal Studios Moscow 2022 (Rumored)

Past Projects[edit]

Ride Films[edit]

Project Park/Resort Opening Date Notes
The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera Universal Studios Florida 1990 Co-produced with Hanna-Barbera Productions, Rhythm and Hues, Sullivan Bluth Studios, Landmark Entertainment Group, and Ride Trade
Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies Universal Studios Florida 1990
Back to the Future: The Ride Universal Studios Florida 1991 Co-produced with Amblin Entertainment, Berkshire Ridefilm
Universal Studios Hollywood 1993
Universal Studios Japan 2001
Terminator 2: 3-D Battle Across Time Universal Studios Florida 1996 Co-produced with Landmark Entertainment and Digital Domain
Universal Studios Hollywood 1999
Universal Studios Japan 2001
Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast Universal Studios Florida 2003 Co-produced with Nick Digital and Ride Trade
Shrek 4-D Universal Studios Hollywood 2003 Co-produced with DreamWorks Animation
Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Singapore 2010
The Simpsons Ride Universal Studios Florida 2008 Co-produced with 20th Century Fox Television, Gracie Films, Reel FX Creative Studios and Blur Studio
Universal Studios Hollywood
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Islands of Adventure 2010 Co-produced with Warner Bros. Recreation Group
Universal Studios Japan 2014
Universal Studios Hollywood 2016
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem Universal Studios Florida 2012 Co-produced with Illumination Entertainment and Ride Trade
Universal Studios Hollywood 2014
Universal Studios Japan 2017
Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon Universal Studios Florida 2017 Effects by Industrial Light & Magic

Special Effects Rides[edit]

Project Park/Resort Opening Date Notes
Universal Studios Backlot Tour Universal Studios Hollywood 1968 Co-produced with Totally Fun Company, Ride & Show Engineering and Weta Digital
Kongfrontation Universal Studios Florida 1990 Co-produced with Totally Fun Company
Earthquake: The Big One Universal Studios Florida 1990 Co-produced with Ride & Show Engineering and Totally Fun Company
Jaws Universal Studios Florida 1990 Co-produced with Ride & Show Engineering, Landmark Entertainment, Amblin Entertainment and Totally Fun Company
Universal Studios Japan 2001
E.T. Adventure Universal Studios Florida 1990 Co-produced with Amblin Entertainment and Sally Corporation
Universal Studios Hollywood 1991
Universal Studios Japan 2001
Back to the Future: The Ride Universal Studios Florida 1991 Closed in 2007
Universal Studios Hollywood 1993
Backdraft Universal Studios Hollywood 1991
Universal Studios Japan 2001
Jurassic Park: The Ride Universal Studios Hollywood 1996 Co-produced with Amblin Entertainment
Islands of Adventure 1999
Universal Studios Japan 2001
Twister...Ride it Out Universal Studios Florida 1998 Co-produced with Warner Bros. Recreation Group and Amblin Entertainment
Men in Black: Alien Attack Universal Studios Florida 2000 Co-produced with Columbia Pictures, Amblin Entertainment and Landmark Entertainment
Disaster!: A Major Motion Picture Ride...Starring You! Universal Studios Florida 2008
Transformers: The Ride Universal Studios Singapore 2011 Co-produced with Paramount Pictures, Amblin Entertainment and Digital Domain
Universal Studios Hollywood 2012
Universal Studios Florida 2013

Shows[edit]

Project Park/Resort Opening Date Notes
The Land of a Thousand Faces Universal Studios Hollywood 1975
The Wild Wild Wild West Stunt Show Universal Studios Hollywood 1980 Co-produced with Landmark Entertainment
Universal Studios Florida 1991
Universal Studios Japan 2001
Nickelodeon Studios Universal Studios Florida 1990 Co-produced with Nickelodeon
Murder, She Wrote Mystery Theatre Universal Studios Florida 1990
Ghostbusters Spooktacular Universal Studios Florida 1990 Co-produced with Columbia Pictures, Landmark Entertainment
An American Tail Theatre Universal Studios Florida 1990 Co-produced with Columbia Pictures, Landmark Entertainment
Animal Actors Universal Studios Florida 1990
Universal's Horror Make-Up Show Universal Studios Florida 1990
The Boneyard Universal Studios Florida 1990 Closed in 2008
The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera Universal Studios Florida 1990 Closed in 2002
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle Show Universal Studios Florida 1992 Closed in 1993
Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies Universal Studios Florida 1993 Closed in 2003
A Day in the Park with Barney Universal Studios Florida 1995
The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad Islands of Adventure 1999
Fear Factor Live Universal Studios Florida 2005
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal 360: A Cinesphere Spectacular Universal Studios Florida 2006
Creature from the Black Lagoon: The Musical Universal Studios Hollywood 2009 Co-produced with Broadway Attractions
Special Effects Stage Universal Studios Hollywood 2010
Lights! Camera! Action! Hosted by Steven Spielberg Universal Studios Singapore 2010
Universal's Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories Universal Studios Florida 2012

Roller Coasters[edit]

Project Park/Resort Opening Date Notes
Dragon Challenge Islands of Adventure 1999, 2010 Previously known as Dueling Dragons, co-produced with Warner Bros. Recreation Group
Incredible Hulk Coaster Islands of Adventure 1999 Co-produced with Marvel Entertainment
Woody Woodpecker's Nuthouse Coaster Universal Studios Florida 1999
Flight of the Hippogriff Islands of Adventure 2000, 2010 Previously known as The Flying Unicorn, co-produced with Warner Bros. Recreation Group
Universal Studios Japan 2014
Universal Studios Hollywood 2016
Revenge of the Mummy Universal Studios Florida 2004 Co-production with Alphaville
Universal Studios Hollywood 2004
Universal Studios Singapore 2010
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit Universal Studios Florida 2009 Ride manufacturer Maurer Sohne
Hollywood Dream - The Ride Universal Studios Japan 2007 Ride manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard
Space Fantasy - The Ride Universal Studios Japan 2010 Ride manufacturer Mack Rides

Accolades[edit]

Thea Awards[19][edit]

Award Year(s) Received Project Park/Resort
Paragon Award 2015 The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Florida
Diagon Alley
Hogwarts Express
Diagon Alley Retail/Dining
Award for Outstanding Achievement 1996 Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular Universal Studios Hollywood
1997 Terminator 2:3D: The Battle Across Time Universal Studios Florida
2000 FiestAventura Universal Studios Port Aventura
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man Islands of Adventure
2001 Men in Black: Alien Attack Universal Studios Florida
2002 Animal Celebration Universal Studios Japan
2002 Templo del Fuego Universal Studios Port Aventura
2005 Revenge of the Mummy Universal Studios Florida
2006 Fear Factor Live Universal Studios Florida
2008 Peter Pan's Neverland Universal Studios Japan
2009 The Simpsons Ride Universal Studios Florida
2009 Universal Studios Hollywood
2010 Disaster! Universal Studios Florida
2011 The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Islands of Adventure
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Islands of Adventure
2012 Space Fantasy The Ride Universal Studios Japan
2013 Transformers: The Ride 3D Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Singapore
2014 The Song of An Angel Universal Studios Japan
2015 Harry Potter & The Escape from Gringotts Universal Studios Florida
2017 Springfield (Themed Food & Beverage Experience) Universal Studios Hollywood
Award for Technical Excellence 2015 Interactive Wands Universal Studios Florida
Classic Award 2002 Universal Studio’s Tram Tour Universal Studios Hollywood
2017 WaterWorld: A Live Sea War Spectacular Universal Studios Hollywood

The Golden Ticket Awards presented by Amusement Today[20][edit]

Award Year(s) Received Project Park/Resort
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

Theme Park Insider Awards[21][edit]

Award Year(s) Received Project Park/Resort
Best Theme Park 2002 - 2004, 2010 - 2011 Islands of Adventure Islands of Adventure
Best Attraction 2002 - 2005 The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man Islands of Adventure
Best Roller Coaster 2003 - 2004 The Incredible Hulk Islands of Adventure
Best Restaurant 2003 - 2008 Mythos Restaurant Islands of Adventure
Best New Attraction 2004 Revenge of the Mummy Universal Studios Florida
2008 The Simpsons Ride Universal Studios Florida
2010 Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Islands of Adventure
2012 Transformers: The Ride Universal Studios Hollywood
Best New Family Attraction 2015 Hogwarts Express Universal Orlando Resort
Best Quick-Service Restaurant 2015 The Leaky Cauldron Universal Studios Florida
2016 - current The Three Broomsticks Universal Studios Hollywood
Best New Theme Park 2017 Volcano Bay Volcano Bay
Best New Roller Coaster 2017 Krakatau Volcano Bay

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "TEA Universal Creative". TEA. Themed Entertainment Association. Retrieved September 6, 2017. 
  2. ^ "A brief history of Disney's and Universal's theme park design divisions". Theme Park Insider. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  3. ^ "Comcast completes NBC Universal merger". Reuters. Reuters. Retrieved September 6, 2017. 
  4. ^ "6 Universal Patents Predict the Future of Theme Parks". Orlando Informer. 2016-12-19. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  5. ^ Kramer, Scott. "The Magic of Universal Orlando: Revealing the Technology Behind the Rides". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  6. ^ a b c "This Amazing Adventure May be One of the Best Rides Ever Built. Here's the Inside Scoop". Theme Park Tourist. 2017-05-21. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  7. ^ Kramer, Scott. "The Magic of Universal Orlando: Revealing the Technology Behind the Rides". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  8. ^ "The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man". Wikipedia. 2017-09-03. 
  9. ^ a b "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey". Parkpedia. 2012-02-23. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  10. ^ a b "Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts". Wikipedia. 2017-08-29. 
  11. ^ "Universal Parks & Resorts". Wikipedia. 2017-09-15. 
  12. ^ "Let's talk Nintendo with the creative director at Universal Studios Japan". Theme Park Insider. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  13. ^ "Universal Studios Singapore™". Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  14. ^ "Universal Orlando". www.universalorlando.com. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  15. ^ "So long Shrek, hello Kung Fu Panda. Universal Studios to turn 4-D theater into DreamWorks showcase". Los Angeles Times. 2017-06-05. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  16. ^ "Universal Orlando". www.universalorlando.com. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  17. ^ Bevil, Dewayne. "Universal: Dragon Challenge to be replaced with new Harry Potter ride". OrlandoSentinel.com. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  18. ^ Storey, Ken. "Universal shares new details on Super Nintendo World then even more details leak hours later". Orlando Weekly. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  19. ^ "Past Thea Award recipients: 1994-2017". http://teaconnect.org. Archived from the original on 2015-01-11. Retrieved 2017-09-20.  External link in |work= (help)
  20. ^ "The Golden Ticket Awards | Presented by Amusement Today". goldenticketawards.com. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  21. ^ "The Theme Park Insider Awards". Theme Park Insider. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 

External links[edit]