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Wednesday 19 December 2018
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22 Nov 2017
IAAPA 2017: Universal's Thierry Coup on taking immersive design to the next level

The man behind Universal Studios’ most successful visitor attractions says operators looking to stay ahead of the curve must go above and beyond to deliver new levels of immersive experiences.

Thierry Coup, senior vice president of Universal Creative, said that following successes such as Universal’s Harry Potter attractions, public expectation is higher than ever and visitor attractions are tasked to live up to those expectations.

“We have to deliver experiences that are much more immersive than anything you can find out there,” said Coup, speaking during the Legends panel at this year’s IAAPA Expo in Orlando, Florida.

“You can utilise technologies VR or AR but there’s nothing like entering a world where you have been transported completely. It’s not just igniting the basic senses like touch and sound.”

For the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction – first opened at Islands of Adventure in Orlando and then replicated at Universal’s parks in Los Angeles and Osaka following phenomenal success – Coup described how multiple senses were integral to the design when creating the attraction to ensure a one-of-a-kind experience.

“You walk into the Wizarding World and you can smell things coming from the restaurant, and it feels very much like what was described in the Harry Potter books by JK Rowling,” he said.

“She did such a great job of describing every one of the senses, that when you finally taste the Butterbeer for example, it’s like a system of engaging everything and placing you in a world that you can’t find anywhere else but there.”

There are, of course, challenges to IP collaboration, which Coup described as “almost like marrying someone for their wonderful child”.

“You have to get along, you have to develop this relationship, but the goal is to ensure together that this ‘child’ is successful,” he said. “That comes with a lot of complexity from the partner but there are so many great things that come along with that.

“For Harry Potter it was small shops, small stores, no marquees, no signage, small entrances – it goes against all the rules we have set for the perfect operating theme park. We learned from that and we were very open because we had to be.

“In the Transformers ride working with Michael Bay, we said ‘we can’t do slow motion on a ride, that won’t work’. But then we tried it and it was actually a great success.

“You have to make compromises. You have to learn as much as you can about where the IP came from and was born. You have to put your ego away and both sides have to speak to each other. It becomes a crazy great marriage and you end up with this amazing final product.”

Check back with Attractions Management and AM2 for all the latest news coming out of IAAPA 2017.


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17 Dec 2018
US to have professional T20 cricket competition 'by 2021'
USA Cricket plans to set up a professional T20 cricket league in the country by 2021.
12 Dec 2018
FIBO and Leisure Media announce collaboration
FIBO Global Fitness, organiser of the FIBO portfolio of fitness shows, has announced a partnership with global publisher, Leisure Media.
11 Dec 2018
Sector leaders call for 'preventative health push' to get people more active
Physical activity sector leaders, parliamentarians and leading figures in health and business have called for the strengthening of preventative health measures in the UK.
05 Dec 2018
Inaugural FIBO USA kicks off in Florida, challenging IHRSA Convention
The first ever FIBO USA kicks off in Orlando, Florida today (5 December 2018), directly challenging the established IHRSA International Convention and Trade Show.
04 Dec 2018
Inaugural Sporting Champions awards handed out as part of athlete talent scheme
The inaugural Sporting Champions awards have been held to highlight the successes of a talent development programme that aims to help athletes at all stages of their careers.
03 Dec 2018
Mandarin Oriental encourages guests to disconnect with 'Silent Night' event
Mandarin Oriental has announced that it will host its annual 'Silent Night' event on 12 December.
29 Nov 2018
Glion Institute to host conference on technology and wellness
The Glion Institute of Higher Education in Switzerland will host a three-day conference on Innovation and Technology, and what it means for the spa and wellness industry.
29 Nov 2018
Marcus Buckingham to deliver keynote speech at ISPA Conference
The International SPA Association (ISPA) has announced that Marcus Buckingham will be the day two General Session keynote at the 2019 ISPA Conference & Expo, on 12 September in Las Vegas. Buckingham is a leading authority and best-selling author on employee productivity and best practices of leadership and management.
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Diary dates
15 Jan 2019
Prospects 2019
Expedia HQ
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15-17 Jan 2019
EAG International
ExCel London Exhibition Centre
London
15-17 Jan 2019
Visitor Attraction Expo
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22-24 Jan 2019
BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME)
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Facilities Management Forum
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Stansted
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The Pool & Spa Show
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Spatex 2019
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International Manufacturers & Distributors Forum
ExCeL
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24-25 Feb 2019
Active Wellness
ExCeL London
London
United Kingdom
24-25 Feb 2019
World Spa & Wellness Convention London
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London
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Professional Beauty London
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London
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04-06 Mar 2019
International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF)
Hotel InterContinental
Berlin
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07-09 Mar 2019
(IWF Shanghai 2019) Int'l Health, Wellness, Fitness Expo
Shanghai New International Expo Center
Shanghai
China
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