The Orange County Regional History Center is offering visitors an opportunity to peek behind the curtain of the attraction design business, as practiced by Universal Orlando.
For over two decades visitors to the Universal Resort have been wowed with the products of the Art and Design Department. Here, presented as a long storyboard, is a detailed explanation of the planning process, using over 200 of the original drawings and including some interactive elements as well. Universal Orlando has several major events annually including Halloween Horror Nights, the Grinchmas, and Mardi Gras.
One of the major pieces on exhibit is the “Terra Queens Bike,” used in the 2005 Halloween Horror Nights celebration. Long noted as one of, if not the premier scare-a-thon for the Halloween season, HHN is annually redesigned so Universal has generously supplied the original sketches, watercolors, partially completed photos, and the final result prop as it appeared during the event. They have included some scale models of scenes from several previous HHNs.
Also appearing during the storyboard is the design steps for the “Ice Slide,” which has appeared during the Grinchmas. There are models of complete attractions, stages, and even the development of the signs for stores and shows. Some of the progress drawings for costumes are shared, and even a brief explanation of how some props are modified to be reused for different events.
There are drawings of the floats for the Macy’s Holiday Parade, and even some models. An explanation of how they create a specific book for each item, including paint and fabric swatches, and there is a samples of the designer’s notes concerning the look of each specific piece.
Across the aisle from the story board is the “Warehouse.” Actual artifacts on loan from the Art and Design warehouse are stacked floor to ceiling. Many of these items will be familiar to regular park guests and looking at the illusion of lightweight stones and other relics is sure to spark a memory of past visits to the theme parks. This representation gives visitors and appreciation for all the behind the scenes work done for their enjoyment.
The “Art and Design Director’s office” allows children of all ages to work as a member of the creative team following along with the instruction video presented by Kim Gromoll. If you are not familiar with his name, you have to remember “Jack,” of HHN fame. Jack was the brainchild of Kim.
For the visitors who rarely venture outside Seuss Landing, there are designs to trace and line art to color. For the more experienced, a brief lesson in how to sketch is given, and Kim invites visitors to draw something of their own design. The bulletin board includes actual sketches and doodles done by designers, and is presented in a three-dimensional haphazard format.
For anyone in Florida during early December, on Thursday, December 8, 2011 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, the museum will present a chance to meet twelve of the creative personalities of the Art and Design Team from Universal Orlando Resort. It includes a reception and dinner, followed by a panel discussion and concludes with a question and answer session. There is an extra charge for this event. You can call (407) 836-7010 for the details.
The following Sunday, December 11, 2011 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, an informal opportunity to meet some of the creative artists will be available. Imagine being able to ask questions about some of the specific items on display from the original designers! This event is included in the museum admission.
The exhibit offers a unique look at how the atmosphere we all enjoy is created and it is open from now through April 29, 2012.
Merry Grinchmas from Scott & Carol!