Lai Sun Group Appoints Thinkwell to Produce Lionsgate Entertainment World™ at Novotown in Hengqin, Zhuhai

Zhuhai Hengqin Laisun Creative Culture City Co. Ltd., has engaged Thinkwell Group to create the first Lionsgate Entertainment World™, a themed immersive experience center that will bring to life some of Lionsgate’s most successful film properties in China, including The Hunger Games, The Twilight Saga, The Divergent Series, Now You See Me, Gods of Egypt and Escape Plan, through exciting interactive and immersive attractions. Spreading across 22,000 square meters of premium indoor space at Novotown in Hengqin, Zhuhai, the People’s Republic of China, the center is five minutes from the closest Macau border. Novotown is set to open its doors to the public by the end of 2018.
While cutting-edge technology will be leveraged to immerse “Explorers” into the films, they will also be transported through unique dining and retail experiences themed around these global film favorites. The combination of Lionsgate style and substance will set a new standard for entertainment centers in the region.
“These Lionsgate properties are providing us the opportunity to create a uniquely rich and sophisticated young-adult-centric experience center unlike anything out in the market today. The professionalism, commitment and vision of the Lai Sun Group team has made this project an absolute joy to develop,” said Kelly Ryner, President of Thinkwell Asia. “Lionsgate’s trust in Thinkwell to creatively push the envelope while staying true to their brand is a testament to our company’s abilities to deliver a world class product.”
“We are very excited to partner with Thinkwell, to design and produce the most innovative experience for Lionsgate Entertainment World™,” said John Tse, Head of Novotown Project of the Lai Sun Group. “It is Novotown’s vision to become the regional cultural incubator and this center will serve as one of the most thrilling entertainment centers in the region for visitors to explore and live the movies.”
For the full PDF Press Release: Official Press Release Announcement_20161118

Thinkwell’s 2016 Guest Experience Trend Report: Virtual Reality Check

This year’s Thinkwell Guest Experience Trend Report has arrived! The 2016 report dives into a subject that has consumed media and technology coverage this year—Virtual Reality. Commentary on this subject has permeated the consumer landscape more than ever before, and it’s quickly becoming a technology that is more and more accessible.

What does this mean for theme park and entertainment venues? What are guests really looking for, and more important, what are their expectations with VR?

“We are researching and developing high capacity virtual reality attractions and our clients are asking us more and more for virtual reality,” said Craig Hanna, Chief Creative Officer, Thinkwell. “So we felt focusing our annual Guest Experience Trend Report on virtual reality for theme parks made a lot of sense this year.”

Discover the global insights and implications for VR in this year’s report published below.

PDF version of the report is available here: 2016 Thinkwell Guest Experience Trend Report

Theme Parks Take Inspiration From Video Games

Theme parks are constantly seeking new technologies to make experiences more immersive, more interactive — and more like video games.
“It started when kids were sitting in their basement playing with Wii and Xbox,” said Dennis Speigel, president of the International Theme Park Services consulting firm. “Parks realized they have to bring that into the parks and increase the experience a hundredfold, or people weren’t going to get out of the basement.”
Universal Orlando’s parent company recently filed a patent for a “video game ride” in which visitors could alter the attraction’s course. Ideas laid out in patents don’t always become reality, but they do provide a glimpse into what’s going on in the heads of attractions’ creative executives. Universal has had no comment on the patent.
Last year, Universal Parks & Resorts signed a deal that will allow its theme parks to build immersive attractions based on Nintendo video games. That helped fuel speculation that 475 acres in the tourism corridor, bought last year by Universal’s parent company, could be used for a video game theme park.
The Walt Disney Co. also has filed a patent that delves into the concept of visitors designing their own video games, which could then become part of a ride.
Theme parks already have combo rides and video games. For example, Universal has “Men in Black: Alien Attack,” in which guests blast creatures from outer space. Walt Disney World has two “Toy Story”-themed rides in which riders shoot at targets.
Such rides will evolve in the future, say people who work in the industry.
“I think we’re going to see more in terms of trends with interactive rides where it will work more like a video game,” said Craig Hanna, chief creative officer of Thinkwell Group, a California design company that works with theme parks.
He foresees a time when ride-based video games become more complicated as players’ scores increase. Thinkwell is working on a trackless ride that will direct riders to certain paths based on their scores. It’s for a theme park overseas, Hanna said; he was not at liberty to disclose which one.
Theme parks have worked hard to find ways to give visitors more control over their surroundings. When it opened its second Harry Potter land in 2014, Universal introduced interactive wands that trigger effects such as making water rain down from an overhead umbrella.
Walt Disney World has introduced games such as “Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom,” in which players use cards they collect to activate scenes on screens.
But video games can be particularly appealing to younger generations, said Jim Hill, an industry blogger.
“For my daughter, Pokemon Go — the day it arrived she was outside [playing],” he said. “This is a 22-year-old college student with all of her friends. Those are the characters they know and love from their childhoods.”
New developments in ride technology include games that guests can control with a simple karate chop. Next year, Legoland in Winter Haven will open a Ninjago-themed ride on which visitors will score points by shooting apart animated fireballs, lightning and ice using only hand motions.
Small children — Legoland’s key audience — can easily get the hang of it, Legoland Florida spokesman David Brady said.
“The learning curve is shallower. You don’t have a device you have to physically manipulate,” he said.
While Disney and Universal are considered leaders in the industry, some innovations have showed up outside their theme parks.
For instance, the Klondike Kavern Indoor Waterpark in Wisconsin last year debuted “slideboarding,” combining video game features with waterslides. Players riding on boards earn points by pressing colored buttons that correspond with lights in the waterslide. Using such technology in water parks is unusual, experts say.
Virtual reality has also become a bigger part of theme parks. Six Flags has begun giving virtual reality headsets to visitors riding some of its roller coasters, so they can find themselves in the middle of an alien invasion as the ride plunges, twists and turns.
All this new technology can pose new challenges. With virtual reality, for example, experts say they’ve had to grapple with issues such as cleaning equipment between uses and moving large numbers of people through attractions using the technology.
“There’s many different facets in the challenge of making this viable,” said Saham Ali, director of technology for Orlando-based themed-entertainment company Falcon’s Creative Group. “It comes down mainly to the experience. You can very quickly be detached from the experience if one very minute hiccup happens … It really has to be refined.”
Industry executives also expect more theme park tie-ins with smartphone-based games.
“I do think this marriage between the device in your pocket and what’s in the park is going to become a huge focus,” said Bob Allen, a former Walt Disney World vice president who now heads the Ideas branding and design firm.
But one thing is key, he said: Making sure the technology doesn’t eclipse the story.
“We’ve got to tell really compelling stories really well,” Allen said. “Whatever the technology part is, that needs to be its objective.”
For more information visit:
Media Contact:
Micaela Neeb
[email protected]
# # #

Thinkwell Group Promotes Three Long-Term Employees to Become Principals at the Company

Thinkwell appoints Dave Cobb, Cynthia Sharpe, and Chris Durmick to new company designations
LOS ANGELES, CA — Thinkwell Group, a global experience design and production agency specializing in the creation of theme parks, major attractions, live events, and museum exhibits around the world, has announced the appointments of Dave Cobb, Cynthia Sharpe, and Chris Durmick to Principals at Thinkwell. The new designation of Principal is reserved for employees who are industry professionals that have built a robust career within the company and the industry, and have shown exceptional leadership qualities, subject matter expertise, and superior client rapport.
“We are incredibly excited for these three long-time Thinkwell employees to become the first Principals at Thinkwell,” said Joe Zenas, CEO of Thinkwell. “Dave, Cynthia, and Chris have been amazing assets to our organization and we couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments, not just here at Thinkwell, but also within our industry.”
Dave Cobb, who was formerly the Vice President of Creative Development, has been promoted to Principal, Creative Development and will continue to guide all phases of project development with a focus on story and guest experience. Cynthia Sharpe, formerly Senior Director of Cultural Attractions and Research, has been promoted to Principal, Cultural Attractions & Research, where she will continue to play an integral part in all cultural attractions projects and educational programming for the company’s projects. Chris Durmick, formerly Senior Director, Creative Development, has been promoted to Principal, Attractions & Museums and will guide the content and guest experience for projects that range from theme park attractions to museums and exhibitions.
“Dave, Cynthia, and Chris bring a remarkable breadth of knowledge and experience to our company. They are integral members of our creative team and bring an exceptional level of creativity, experience, professionalism and leadership to the projects they lead,” said Craig Hanna, Chief Creative Officer, Thinkwell.
About Thinkwell Group
Founded in 2001, Thinkwell is a global experience design and production agency specializing in the creation and master planning of theme parks, destination resorts, major branded and intellectual property attractions, events & spectaculars, museums & exhibits, expos and live shows around the world. The award-winning company has become a leader in experiential design by bringing a unique holistic approach to every creative engagement, delivering extraordinary results to notable clients over the years, including Fortune 500 companies, movie studios, museums, theme parks and destination resorts. For more information visit:
# # #

White Paper | The (Sometimes Dumb) Wisdom of Crowds: Experience Design and Augmented Reality in a Post-Pokémon Go World

Augmented Reality. It’s a phrase that’s been bandied about for over a decade. It’s a concept that’s come to life in myriad ways. But until the launch of Pokémon Go, the promise and pitfalls of AR hadn’t been laid bare on a grand scale. Now, as Pokémon Go ignites countless Facebook wars, propels Nintendo’s market value by upwards of $7.5B USD, and sees parks and public spaces overrun with children and adults—individually and in groups—running around gathering Pokémon and snagging treats at Pokéstops, we’re seeing the potential for fun, community building, and social engagement on a grand scale. But we’re also witnessing the problems inherent in building a massive AR based upon decisions made long ago, rooted in data collected in part from users, and disconnected from the realities of a changing world.
As a quick overview, Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game1 played via a smartphone or cell-enabled tablet. Players traverse the real world, catching Pokémon, visiting Pokéstops to gather supplies, and battling at Pokégyms. Pokéstops and Pokégyms are “anchored” on the map to actual places, such as statues, fountains, signs, gardens, or specific locations in or near buildings such as churches. Niantic, the company behind Pokémon Go, spun off from Google with investment from Nintendo, the Pokémon Company, and Google, after their successful launch of an earlier AR game called Ingress—and that’s where a number of the issues lie.
Pokemon Go hands on
The Pokémon Go map is built in large part upon the Ingress map2. Ingress, while it has millions of app downloads (upwards of seven million), has a relatively small core player base (current estimates range from 350,000-750,000 active, regular users). Its rollout was also staggered, launching on the Android platform first, on December 14, 2013, and then for iOS on July 14, 2014. Without delving into the backstory, much of the action in Ingress revolves around portals—interacting with them to gain items, deploying items to claim or improve them for your chosen faction, defending them against the other faction. It’s this portal map that has seeded much of the Pokémon Go world—those portal locations have formed the basis for the Pokéstops and Pokégyms.
The portal maps were rooted, at first, on popular locations. This included not only obvious choices such as the Washington Monument, but also locations which were frequently geo-tagged in photos—in short, user generated data, where the original creator had no idea their geo-tagging would be used to site a real world game stop. In addition, Ingress players were invited to submit portal suggestions. Niantic was flooded with over 15 million suggestions, and the review and approval process was lengthy, opaque, and prone to inconsistency. One player might suggest a portal location and have it rejected, while another player would suggest the same place and get it approved months later. Over five million user suggested portals were placed.
Ingress, however, is a fundamentally and radically different game than Pokémon Go. For one, it didn’t have the power of a decades-long, beloved intellectual property behind it. It has a significantly smaller player base, even in when you compare the first bloom of launch, widespread press, and “try it out” adoption. While it supports social engagement and cooperation, the backstory of Ingress is one of intrigue and shadowy goings-on. It is aimed squarely at adults, and lacks the chance aspect of collecting items out in the real world away from portals that Pokémon Go has with its “gotta catch ‘em all” Pokémon gathering aspect.
And here’s where it all horribly collides. A quick search of geo-tagged photos reveals thousands of photos at places like the U.S. Holocaust Museum, Arlington National Cemetery, and the reflecting pools at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Sure enough, Arlington National Cemetery is littered with Ingress portals, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Medgar Evers’ tomb, the final resting place of Robert F. Kennedy, and more. And that’s translated to Pokéstops in what many consider sacred, hallowed ground.3 Similarly, the area around the National September 11 Memorial & Museum is rife with Pokéstops. But even if there weren’t stops at these places, Pokémon spawn all over the map, regardless of Pokéstops (though players can drop items at stops to lure Pokémon there). People could traipse through America’s iconic graveyard and memorial for service men and women snagging Magikarps and Psyducks. Or, as one New York author put it after visiting a variety of emotionally charged sites in the city, “That is a coffin of nameless orphans and that is a Pokéstop.”4
To put it mildly, it’s a problem with the game. Having the leadership of major memorials and venues come out and say they are trying to get their site delisted as a Pokéstop or gym does not make for great press. Homeowners who live in unusual or iconic buildings that are now private dwellings have found strangers in their yards and on their driveways at all hours of the day and night. And the process of delisting is fraught with challenges—within the game, one can “report an issue” with a stop or gym, but that is a general category of issue. At launch, there was no clear, obvious way for the director of a venue or the owner of a site to make an emergency or high priority request. Interestingly, many of the portals in Ingress at these challenging sites are relatively low level; that is, few people engage with them, perhaps out of a sense of propriety. The older, theoretically more mature audience of Ingress is likely more discerning about where and when it’s appropriate to play a game than an 11-year-old chasing a Pikachu, iPhone in hand.
All of this is not to say there aren’t positive aspects of Pokémon Go—far from it. Many libraries are reporting a surge in usage; colleges are cheerfully offering Pokémon tours, posting maps of Pokéstops and gyms on their campuses, and encouraging students to play together and responsibly. Players are self-reporting significant upswings in their physical activity levels (in order to incubate eggs that you can get at Pokéstops, you have to walk varying distances, in addition to the need to get out there and explore to find Pokémon, stops, and gyms). Kids and parents are frequently seen playing together in parks and playgrounds. Players are voluntarily leaving lures near children’s hospitals, so the kids inside who can’t walk the necessary blocks outside can still play the game. Within the Autism Spectrum parent community, there are already innumerable reports of children who typically avoid changes in routine and social engagement being willing to go to parks, engage with others, and try new things in the service of playing Pokémon Go. As a social experience, Pokémon Go is breaking barriers and getting people out and about—something many experience designers strive to achieve.
As designers of location-based entertainment and educational experiences, Thinkwell has long touted the promise — and challenges — of technologies such as AR, and the idea of using a mobile device to enhance and augment a visit to a theme park, museum, or attraction with gamification and social interaction. The experience since the launch of Pokémon Go highlights the need for owners and operators considering an AR overlay or component to take some serious precautionary and planning steps:

  • Think about your audience. As we’ve shown, part of the underlying issue with Pokémon is not just the different gameplay, but also the radically different and bigger audience. Creators need to think about who will be playing the game and how they engage with the world. One very smart thing that Niantic did relates to safety: if a Pokémon appears on your map, it can be caught from where you are (you can even switching from AR mode to on-screen play mode to make it easier). There’s no need to cross a busy street or hop a fence. Given that children and teens are playing, this was a savvy design choice.
  • Consider where engagements happen. Choose wisely, to be blunt about it — and if you are in essence outsourcing the location selection to data someone else has generated, have a review process and standards in place prior to launch and scrub your map accordingly. You cannot rely on user generated data to make responsible, thoughtful, mindful, or empathetic choices.
  • Have a clear process for handling people roped unwittingly into the game. It took over a week from launch for Niantic to unveil a way for ‘owners’ of questionable locations to quickly and permanently delist their locations; it’s unclear how the new system will prioritize delisting or how quickly requests will be addressed. Until Niantic quietly rolled out this system, the bad press and angry location owners continued to churn, and the damage is done.
  • Think through the ramifications of open world play. Pokémon can spawn almost anywhere, and this is a problem. A site such as a cemetery or memorial should be able to request that theirs is a ‘clear zone’ where no Pokémon spawn; currently they cannot. If you are developing a game that extends beyond the boundaries of your site, it behooves you to think about where gameplay is appropriate and inappropriate, and structure the game accordingly.
  • Work with location owners. While some location owners, such as small businesses benefitting from an uptick in traffic, welcome Pokémon Go players, others are still trying to figure out what to do about the fact that a fountain on their property is suddenly attracting people. Consider developing an informational kit that provides these location owners with contacts for reporting issues, ideas for how to capitalize on player presence, and an explanation of the game itself.
  • Be prepared to capitalize on unexpected positive outcomes. The positive effect of Pokémon Go on some children with ASD is an unforeseen, yet fantastic, effect of the game, that Niantic could build upon, perhaps by partnering with advocacy groups to develop targeted materials around the game. The active exercise aspect of Pokémon Go is another aspect that could be highlighted — imagine an ongoing tally of gross distance walked, or calories burned, by all current players? Groups developing new ARs should be willing to leverage unforeseen positive outcomes.

Much of the issue with Pokémon Go and AR in general boils down to the fact that it’s just new, uncharted territory. Or is it? It seems with any new technology and subsequent pop-culture craze that emerges from that technology, there is bound to be challenges, pitfalls, and hand-wringing. Before Pokémon Go, Sony Walkmans were distracting people into accidents — and now headphone-listening in public is something we’ve all adjusted to responsibly. Before Pokémon Go, videogames were “rotting our brains” and keeping kids indoors — and now it’s a burgeoning artform creating all new forms of social storytelling. There will always be folks in the herd whose bad behavior will ultimately get them thinned from said herd — but as designers, we can help craft experiences that will guide the audience in the right direction, with the right motivation — slowly creating audiences that are thoughtful, engaged, and maybe, hopefully, even more community-minded.

1 For an overview of AR, see

Cirque du Soleil, NFL Team Up For Massive Times Square Attraction

Cirque du Soleil and the NFL are planting a flag in Times Square, constructing a four-story, 40,000 square-foot interactive exhibit, “NFL Times Square,” that aims to attract 25,000 people a week.
Following the recent opening of Broadway production “Paramour,” the exhibit marks the latest ambitious move by Cirque to establish a foothold in the bustling New York City entertainment market, as well as the latest attempt to diversify the company’s offerings beyond the big-top and Vegas spectacles with which Cirque is most closely associated. For the NFL, the Times Square exhibit will serve as a permanent outpost of the interactive installations that pop up with the Super Bowl every year, and aim to stoke fan enthusiasm as well as offer a family-friendly opportunity to win over new fans.
There will be no live performance elements in “NFL Times Square,” with the experience focusing instead on a 15 to 20 minute, immersive multimedia show presented in a 350-seat theater. The complex’s four floors will also encompass high-tech exhibit and interactive spaces, as well as a retail area, a stadium-themed food and beverage cafe and a stepped seating area looking out onto Times Square.
The price point for a ticket will likely ring in somewhere in the $30 range, according to Scott Zeiger, the president of Cirque du Soleil Theatrical. The whole experience will last about an hour.
Judging from conceptual renderings (above), “NFL Times Square” will benefit from a highly visible spot in one of the world’s busiest intersections. The new building, current under construction, is located on the corner of Seventh Avenue and West 47th Street, across 47th Street from Broadway’s Palace Theater and caddy-corner from Duffy Square, the public area where the TKTS booth and its big red stairs are located.
Collaborating on the design of the space are Rockwell Group — the architecture firm whose chief David Rockwell just won a Tony Award for his set design for “She Loves Me” — and Thinkwell Group, the company that created exhibitions for “Hunger Games” and for the making of Harry Potter at London’s Leavesden Studios. Real estate firm Witkoff Group will also work closely with Cirque in the development of the space.
“NFL Times Square” begins development in November of this year, ahead of a targeted November 2017 opening.

Thinkwell Group Appoints Former Walt Disney Imagineering Executive Diane Michioka to Vice President of Production

Michioka to oversee production and project management for growing departments at Thinkwell Group
LOS ANGELES, CA — Thinkwell Group, a global experience design and production agency specializing in the creation of theme parks, major attractions, live events, and museum exhibits around the world, has announced the appointment of Diane Michioka to Vice President of Production. Michioka is responsible for overseeing Thinkwell’s project teams and production departments, as well as supporting external growth opportunities and internal operations management.
“I am incredibly honored and excited to join Thinkwell, an established leader in the experience design and production industry. It’s evident that a tremendous amount of care has been taken in developing successful and thriving creative, design, and production teams here while still nurturing the company’s unique culture,” says Michioka. “I look forward to being a part of this dynamic company and supporting Thinkwell in maintaining its position as a premium global agency.”
Michioka brings over 20 years of experience in short and long-term strategic project planning, show producing, and creative team management. Because of her intimate and thorough knowledge of the industry, Michioka will have a key role in assisting the business development team with client relations and proposal development, as well as guiding, strategizing, and improving the overall process for the project teams.
“We are so pleased that Diane has joined Thinkwell and brings with her an immeasurable amount of expertise and experience about our industry,” said François Bergeron, Chief Operating & Financial Officer of Thinkwell.
Prior to joining Thinkwell, Michioka worked at Walt Disney Imagineering as the Director of Disneyland Design Studio and as the Manager for Creative Division Planning. In these two positions, Michioka was responsible for managing design and production teams from blue sky development through post-opening, while overseeing schedules, budgets, and staffing. Michioka has also previously worked as a Senior Producer for The Hettema Group, a Show Manager for the Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge at Disney California Adventure Park, and in a variety of other creative and marketing executive roles.
About Thinkwell Group
Founded in 2001, Thinkwell is a global experience design and production agency specializing in the creation and master planning of theme parks, destination resorts, major branded and intellectual property attractions, events & spectaculars, museums & exhibits, expos and live shows around the world. The award-winning company has become a leader in experiential design by bringing a unique holistic approach to every creative engagement, delivering extraordinary results to notable clients over the years, including Fortune 500 companies, movie studios, museums, theme parks and destination resorts. For more information visit:
Media Contact:
Andrea Yoo
[email protected]
# # #

Thinkwell Group Celebrates Momentous Year With A Record 14 Project Openings

Thinkwell Group’s 14th year in business was marked by the opening of 14 projects around the world
LOS ANGELES, CA — Thinkwell Group, a global experience design and production agency specializing in the creation of theme parks, major attractions, live events, and museum exhibits around the world, is celebrating a significant company milestone – opening 14 projects in ten cities in 2015. The projects, the most opened by Thinkwell in a single year, range from a huge indoor theme park in northern China to a traveling exhibition based on a blockbuster motion picture franchise to a new museum dedicated to the art of puppetry.
The remarkable year began with the January opening of the Thinkwell-designed Aquanaut Adventure: A Discovery Zone, an interactive educational exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. This exhibit encourages kids to discover and learn through a series of immersive environments where they can explore ocean life, sea creatures, and underwater habitats in this interactive journey through the aquarium.
In March, working in close partnership with Warner Bros., Thinkwell opened the first major expansion to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter. The 20,000-square-foot addition includes a recreation of the iconic Platform Nine and Three-Quarters set and features the Hogwarts Express, the original locomotive used throughout the Harry Potter film series.
In the spring, Thinkwell opened two projects in Harbin, in northern China, further expanding their foothold in the Asian entertainment market. Eontime World, an immersive 323,000-square-foot indoor theme park features brand new rides and live shows in a fantasy environment based on a Thinkwell-created intellectual property. SongSong Town, a multi-level entertainment village inside the LeSong Plaza mall, welcomes children and families to explore a brand new type of indoor entertainment project that Thinkwell calls an “activity park.”
In June, another Warner Bros. project opened to the public, Stage 48: Script to Screen, a highly interactive attraction at Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood. This finale to the studio backlot tour features a hands-on introduction to the television and film making process, from screenwriting and set design to visual effects and post-production. Also in June, Thinkwell produced, in conjunction with Universal Studios Hollywood, an explosive and exciting media event to celebrate the opening of Universal’s newest attraction at the movie theme park, Fast & Furious – Supercharged. The media event featured stars from the blockbuster motion picture series, live entertainment, pyrotechnics, dancers, and death-defying car jumps and precision stunts for the VIP guests, international media, and press.
Just before the Fourth of July weekend, Thinkwell worked with Lionsgate to open The Hunger Games: The Exhibition in New York City’s Discovery Times Square. This 12,000-square-foot touring exhibition features the costumes, props, and artifacts from Lionsgate’s blockbuster The Hunger Games motion pictures. The exhibit includes educational content that connects the books and films to the social and political themes found within the stories along with custom interactives and media experiences created and produced by Thinkwell.
November saw the opening of another unique museum project for Thinkwell, the Worlds of Puppetry Museum at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia. This museum features the largest collection of Jim Henson puppets and artifacts in the world and also boasts an impressive collection of international puppets curated from cultures all over the globe.
At the close of the year, Thinkwell installed the first of a multi-project effort at the world famous San Diego Zoo. 2016 is the Zoo’s centennial and Thinkwell has been working with this prestigious institution for the past two years on strategy, concepts, and implementation of their centennial plan. In addition to providing strategic and creative development for the Zoo’s centennial celebration, Thinkwell also produced the San Diego Zoo Centennial film and other media that will be incorporated around the Zoo for use throughout the year.
“2015 was an incredible year for us,” said Joe Zenas, chief executive officer of Thinkwell Group. “To go from a major blockbuster museum exhibit to a huge indoor theme park in China to one of our most interactive attractions to date—all in one year—was an extraordinary feat and an incredible effort from studios and teams around the world. We are incredibly honored to have our clients partner with us to help develop and produce their successful projects.”
About Thinkwell Group
Founded in 2001, Thinkwell is a global experience design and production agency specializing in the creation and master planning of theme parks, destination resorts, major branded and intellectual property attractions, events & spectaculars, museums & exhibits, expos and live shows around the world. The award-winning company has become a leader in experiential design by bringing a unique holistic approach to every creative engagement, delivering extraordinary results to notable clients over the years, including Fortune 500 companies, movie studios, museums, theme parks and destination resorts. For more information visit:
Media Contact:
Andrea Yoo
[email protected]
# # #

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi to open Flying Aces coaster this week – 5 fun facts

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi has begun the countdown to unveil its all new record-breaking roller coaster Flying Aces later this week on February 24.
The ride is set to break two Guinness World records – for the world’s tallest loop and the steepest starting hill inclination.
The theme park is already home to the world’s fastest roller coaster, the Formula Rossa.
The plane-themed Flying Aces coaster is the first of five major rides and attractions to be launched as part of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi’s massive expansion plan.
The plan, unveiled in 2014, will see the park’s overall capacity increase by 40 per cent while also reducing waiting time for guests.
Flying Aces: Five fun facts
1. The ride begins from a point that’s 63 metres high and reaches speeds of up to 120km per hour.
2. It runs along a 1.5km track featuring a 52-metre tall loop and a 51 degree steep lift.
3. The roller coaster will offer extreme gravity defying flight acrobatics such as a non-inverted loop and down flips.
4. Flying Aces is based on the story behind Ferrari’s Cavallino logo, inspired by Italy’s ‘ace of aces’ Count Francesco Baracca. Count Baracca was a famous Italian aviator in the 1900’s and his legendary Prancing Horse emblem was inherited by Enzo Ferrari for good luck.
5. The ride was designed and manufactured by Intamin Amusement Rides – the company that also developed the Formula Rossa.