Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ferrari World & Yas Waterworld welcome TEA behind the scenes April 10: David Willrich reports

Yas Waterworld
David Willrich of the Europe & Middle East Division (EME) of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) reports on the success of a behind-the-scenes tour on 10th April 2014 at two major parks in the UAE, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld. The excursion was one in an ongoing professional development series titled "SATE Academy Days" that are an offshoot of TEA's annual design conference, SATE (Storytelling+Architecture+Technology=Experience). 

Ferrari World
Theme park development in the UAE had slowed dramatically following an explosive growth spurt several years ago, and many projects on the books were postponed or canceled. Ferrari World remained on track and opened in 2009; Yas Waterworld's opening in January 2013 was one signal that development in the area had resumed.

David Willrich, DJ Willrich Ltd.
TEA's EME Division staged its second SATE Academy Day, at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld on Thursday April 10th. The event was a great success and the audience reflected the cosmopolitan nature of the UAE with a multi-national audience all having one thing in common; the world of themed entertainment.

The theme of the day was "Experience," and all presentations focused on creating or maintaining the quality of Experience. Craig McIntyre got the session moving with an introduction to Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld, followed by Kevin Johnson of WS Atkins who gave an informative insight into creating Yas Waterworld and the story on which it is built.

Kile Ozier took us outside Ferrari World and considered the creative process as a whole and the factors that all got together to create an exciting guest experience. Following a short break, economic analyst David Camp of D&J International Consulting gave some insight into current market trends.

Martin Valentine gave a very informative study on an experience of a different type, lighting. He looked at how lighting in general is being properly addressed in Abu Dhabi with a desire to improve the general quality and reduce light pollution to improve not just individual buildings but the general experience of driving around the capital of the UAE.

Glenn Davidson brought us back to Yas Island by discussing the need to create a story before creating a guest experience, in this case Yas Waterworld. He went onto discuss the path being followed for creating the storyline for a new guest experience in a new and unnamed Theme Park. George Walker, art director for Ferrari World, completed the formal presentations by looking at the value of the Ferrari brand in relation to the park and the continuing development of the visitor experience.

Following lunch, attendees were able to take a quick tour of Ferrari World followed by a formal tour of Yas Waterworld, before retiring back to Dubai for a mixer and dinner.

A big THANK YOU to Farah Leisure for hosting the event, and to EME Board member David Gray of Oasis Enterprises LLC for all his hard work in bringing together the speakers.

An additional report of the day will appear in the next issue (July) of the E&ME Newsletter. -- D.W.