The Park:

The Park - January 5, 2018 - Three hotel towers with two buildings per tower.  Little amount of work now while management considers changes in design.
The Park - January 5, 2018 - Three hotel towers with two buildings per tower. Little amount of work now while management considers changes in design.

The Park Update - Designer The Goddard Group Changes

January 10, 2018

InPark Magazine is all about theme park news from all over the world. It appears to be a knowledgeable source of information about the trends in park design, the movers and shakers in the industry and themes that are becoming popular with time.

As in any industry, change is always present. The Goddard Group is a well established park design company. It was working with Cirque du Soleil on the Park in Nuevo Vallarta. An InPark Magazine contributor sat down with Gary Goddard and Taylor Jeffs, Goddard's Director of Design for a "Fireside Chat". Following is the article:

Feb 23, 2017 Joe Kleiman #66 Theatrical Influence and Convergence, 2016, Asia, Attractions, Casino resorts, Features, IPM Interviews, Latin America & Mexico, North America, Theme Parks, Themed Resorts/Hotels, World markets 0

InPark’s Martin Palicki visits with Gary Goddard and Taylor Jeffs

Through a variety of companies and countless projects, Gary Goddard has left an indelible and innovative mark on the industry. For more on Gary’s role in the industry, see this supporting article. InPark’s Martin Palicki (MP) spoke with Goddard (GG) and Taylor Jeffs (TJ), Director of Design at Goddard Group, on recent and upcoming projects along with their take on paths for industry growth.

MP: From where did your interest in the industry originate? What motivates you?

TJ: I won the lottery to have been born and raised in Orange County, California, nearby Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. Having essentially grown up in these parks, the medium was ingrained in my DNA before I could even speak, and from the time I was three the ultimate goal was clear- I wanted to design theme parks.

GG: In terms of attractions, I continue to look to be inspired by others’ work. I am known to be very critical, but there is nothing I like more than a new ride or show that delivers. The Pirates ride at Shanghai Disneyland is spectacular. I went on the ride, then rode it again right away, and then scheduled another visit to the park to ride it a third time. It’s an excellently designed attraction. The big beats of that whole park are great and well thought out.

Back in the States, after visiting Diagon Alley at Universal Studios I sent a letter to Mark Woodbury (Vice Chairman of Universal Parks & Resorts) congratulating them on designing a land that really created a total experience and made me say “Wow, that was fantastic.” These types of experiences are what drive me and I think it’s what drives the best folks in the industry.

MP: One of the major projects you’re working on now is the Cirque du Soleil park under construction in Neuvo Vallarta, Mexico. Can you give us an update?

TJ: Construction is racing along in Mexico while we continue to develop and innovate both here at our headquarters in Los Angeles, and at Cirque’s home base in Quebec. We conducted a mock-up of one attraction this past fall near Quebec City, inviting both industry colleagues and members of the public to attend, and the result was truly electric- I felt I was looking into the future.

GG: I call it an experience park instead of a theme park because it is filled with immersive experiences. It has theme park elements, rides and shows, etc. But the way we have configured things and the way it will be consumed is very different. The waterpark is conceived as a rainforest. There will be no red, blue and yellow slides. It will appear that things are built by tribes in a way only Cirque can do. There is an entire nighttime waterpark experience but it will revolutionize the evening experience for waterparks. We are working with Cirque to create something truly original and revolutionary.

TJ: I really believe our Cirque du Soleil waterpark will dramatically shake things up when the first phase debuts (scheduled for 2019). We’ve creating an entirely new creative approach that could fundamentally change waterparks, and I really can’t wait to share that with the world.

MP: How do you keep a fresh approach when developing projects?

GG: Whenever we are traveling we make sure to take time to find out what other interesting projects and locations are nearby so we can experience them and learn from them. And it isn’t only theme parks but also cultural events, local happenings, unique dining experiences, and festivals. You have to always keep recharging the batteries. You have to stay curious and look to learn from the world around you.

TJ: Exactly. The best theme park designers are those who are curious and passionate about as many topics and mediums as possible, which then informs their work in theme parks.

We actually just announced a new venture that is based on this philosophy. We’re partnering with Neil Patrick Harris to bring a new kind of magic show called “In & Of Itself” to New York this spring. I had caught a performance of the show during its initial run in Los Angeles this past summer, and was so knocked-out that not only did we take many of our staff members and clients to see it, but we also approached the show’s creators about a New York transfer, which is now becoming a reality. This is the kind of project that I like to think Goddard Group embodies.

MP: What makes for good theme park design?

GG: If every park was about theming, then every theme park would be successful. If it was just about the rides, then you could buy the rides and have a successful park. But it’s something more than those individual components and ideas. It’s creating an experience that understands what each unique market needs and then providing something that will be fun, inspire guests, and to do it in a manner that allows them to escape the real world. It’s what I call “The Big Idea” – the right concept, at the time, in the right place, for the right audience.

MP: What is your take on the future of the industry?

GG: I am very optimistic for the industry, subject to the geopolitical landscape not going crazy. I fundamentally believe that the economies of China and America are too tied together for the government to allow any one leader to screw it up too badly. I am assuming that the rhetoric of division will go away as cooler heads prevail.

Look, I think China is just getting to the point now where they want to get IPs and originate. There is a chance now that China is a place where we can originate things and the Western designers will say “wow you have to go over there to see this ride or project – it’s pretty cool.” Creating original work is where the emerging markets, including China and Dubai, need to focus.

TJ: From the standpoint of “what’s next,” we are moving towards total immersion—fully-realized story worlds where all five senses are “in character.” That said, it will still take a while to achieve that, requiring further investment and buy-in from developers. The team here is always looking for what our industry can offer audiences that no other can, and our ability to place people in the middle of physical stories is something that no other medium can come close to replicating. • • •

Source: InPark Magazine: http://www.inparkmagazine.com/the-goddard-group-fireside-chat/
Goddard Group is very active! Following is an article from InPark Magazine that describes the group's current projects:

Goddard Group Celebrates 15 Years By Showcasing New Projects at IAAPA Attractions Expo
Oct 13, 2017 Joe Kleiman Attractions, Business, Events, News, Theme Parks

Goddard Group will celebrate its 15th Anniversary in conjunction with IAAPA 2017 in Orlando, Florida. Concurrently, Goddard Group has unveiled the latest details on the company’s roster, including six immersive projects now under construction around the globe. In addition, during the past year the company has also been involved in presenting acclaimed immersive live theater presentations in New York.

“We’ve enjoyed quite a ride these past 15 years!” says Gary Goddard, Chairman/CEO of Goddard Group. “This has been a banner year for us so far, but our sights are really set on 2018 and beyond, when our next generation of highly immersive parks and attractions will be coming online. Between the exciting new experiences we are creating in China, Indonesia, and the Middle East, along with everything else happening around the world, there’s quite a bit to be enthusiastic about.”

He adds, “It’s extremely gratifying that we’ve achieved what we set out to do 15 years ago. It’s also quite humbling for me that at this point in my career, my team and I continue to have the opportunity to create our largest and most exciting projects yet. For that, we’re all very grateful.”
  • “The Kingdom of Poseidon,” Harbin, China
Goddard Group is pleased with the opening of the massive new indoor theme park, waterpark, and aquarium entitled “The Kingdom of Poseidon,” in Harbin, China, which the company designed for its client, the Malaysia-based KW Zone Group. The new destination attraction, which includes a family hotel and a themed RD&E district, is a unique experience. According toTaylor Jeffs, Goddard Group’s Creative Director, “Our goal was to create something entirely different with ‘Kingdom of Poseidon,’ by providing new ways to involve park guests in the mysteries, adventures, myths, sagas, and legends about the seas – stories which have been with us since mankind’s earliest days of civilization. Man’s connection with the world’s oceans are communicated at the park through a series of exciting and heart-felt emotional attractions.”

  • Chimelong’s “Forest Kindgom” in Qinyun, China
Of Goddard Group’s upcoming slate, the largest project is Chimelong Group’s “Forest Kingdom” theme park, a major new destination resort and theme park that is being built in Qinyun, China. Destined to become a world class attraction, the new “Forest Kingdom” park is a follow up to Chimelong’s wildly successful “Ocean Kingdom” theme park in Zhuhai, China, which debuted in 2014, and hosted a record-breaking 8.4 million visitors in 2016. Goddard Group executives expect the new “Forest Kingdom” to be a “fantastic next step for Chimelong’s continued growth. We are honored to be working with Chairman Su and his dedicated team,” Mr. Goddard said.

  • New Chimelong Aquarium and Oceanarium
A separate project, also being developed for Chimelong Group, will be located next door to Chimelong’s “Ocean Kingdom” (artwork top of page). This separate new project – as yet unnamed – will become a second gate attraction intended to be a complimentary experience to “Ocean Kingdom.” Slated to open in late 2018, and designed to resemble a giant, futuristic, high-tech, above and under water Sea Ship and Submarine, the new attraction will be the world’s largest aquarium when it opens. The attraction will immerse guests in a high-tech sea life experience threaded by messages of education and conservation.

  • “Polar Ocean World” in Shanghai
Further north in China, Haichang’s “Shanghai Polar Ocean World” theme park, also designed by Goddard Group, recently celebrated a major milestone. The facility construction was topped off, putting the 300,000 square meter project on-track for its targeted August 2018 debut. The park is intended to bring a new kind of immersive entertainment world to visitors and to become the ideal complement to Shanghai Disneyland.

  • “Shanghai Bund Movie Studio and Theme Park” in Hengdian, China
In the Chinese city of Hengdian, another kind of entertainment attraction also designed by Goddard Group is aiming for a 2018 premiere as well. Hengdian Movie Studios, known throughout China for its massive backlot of standing sets, including vintage period Chinese villages and towns, and also including a near full-scale standing set of the Forbidden City, will now present its largest new standing set, entitled “The Shanghai Bund Movie World.” When that new standing set comes online, it will serve dual functions – both as a working film and television production facility, featuring a massive recreation of the pre-WWII Shanghai Bund, as well as a movie-themed theme park that treats guests to an authentic, behind-the-scenes look at how China’s most popular media content is created.

  • A new project for “Lotte World,” South Korea
In South Korea, Goddard Group was recently announced as the designer of Lotte’s new theme park, currently undergoing site preparation in the city of Busan. In addition, Lotte’s flagship park in Seoul, “Lotte World,” has seen a surge in attendance over the last few years, following the addition of eight new Goddard Group-designed attractions.

  • The Cirque Du Soleil “Project X”
Furthest out on the horizon is one of Goddard Group’s mostly highly-anticipated projects – the inaugural collaboration between the company and Cirque du Soleil of a Cirque-themed park set to open near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in 2020.

  • “In & Of Itself” and “The Encounter” – Live Theatre in NYC
In the world of New York City theater, Gary Goddard Entertainment Live (GGE LIVE), the company’s Live Entertainment Division led by Tony Award winning producers Gary Goddard and Forbes Candlish, has recently produced two highly successful and immersive theatrical presentations: “In And Of Itself” (Off Broadway) and “The Encounter” (On Broadway). Both shows were designated New York Times Critic Picks. “The Encounter” was called “One of the most fully immersive theater pieces ever created,” by Ben Brantley of the Times, while Alexis Soloski of the Times has said of “In & Of Itself,” “Derek DelGaudio sets himself apart from the abracadabra crowd. Beautiful! Tender! Astonishing!”

“In & Of Itself, has just announced its 4th extension in New York – the play is now set to continue through May 6, 2018. Says Forbes Candlish, GGE LIVE’s Supervising Producer, “For over 30 years we have been producing shows on and off Broadway, and during that time, we have always been interested in pushing the envelope and breaking the fourth wall. As the medium of live theater keeps moving in the direction of immersion for the audience, we plan to remain at the forefront of this movement. We believe this is the future of live entertainment.”

In addition to their on-going current work, Gary Goddard and Goddard Group’s legacy of success can be seen in the many milestone anniversaries currently taking place around the world during 2017 – anniversaries of acclaimed, high-profile projects he and his team designed and/or produced in the past. These include:
    • The third year anniversary of the “Let’s Dream! Nighttime Spectacular” at Lotte World, South Korea.
    • The ten year anniversary of the “Magic Light Parade” at Six Flags in Mexico City, Mexico.
    • The 27th anniversary year of both “Sanrio Puroland” in Tokyo and “Sanrio Harmonyland” in Kyushu, Japan.
    • The 12th anniversary year of the Georgia Aquarium.
    • Other Gary Goddard designed attractions which continue to thrive decades after their initial openings include “The Enchanted Kingdom” in Manilla; multiple “Fantasia Lagoon” water parks in Bangkok; and “Jurassic Park: The Ride,” “Terminator 2: 3/D,” and “The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man 3D/4D” ride, all of which premiered at Universal Studios’ theme parks in the years between 1996 and 1999.
Source: http://www.inparkmagazine.com/goddard-group-iaapa-2017/

On November 28, 2017, The Goddard Group announced that Tayor Jeffs has been elevated to Goddard's CEO. With this move, it appears the group is no longer on the job.

Taylor Jeffs Named President and Chief Creative Officer of The Goddard Group
Nov 28, 2017 Joe Kleiman Attractions, Business, News, People, Theme Parks

Company founder Gary Goddard has taken a leave of absence from The Goddard Group. In his absence, Taylor Jeffs has assumed the role of President and Chief Creative Officer of the company. Mr. Jeffs has served for more than 14 years as the Goddard Group’s Director of Design, working on major international theme parks, museums, retail centers, destination resorts, and live entertainment projects. He was previously at The Walt Disney Company.

During this transitional period, the Goddard Group continues to operate and do business nationally and internationally on its projects at destination resorts, casinos, theme parks and retail experiences.

Source: http://www.inparkmagazine.com/taylor-jeffs-named-president-and-chief-creative-officer-of-the-goddard-group/
We learned that another Disney consultant with experience in China will take over the design functions and likely will change the The Park's design and maybe theme. We were informed at the Aimfair Gatherings that all the architectural images of the previous design themes are no applicable and that The Park will not likely open until the 2020 time frame, if then.
More to come, so.....stay tuned....

Return to Current News ..OR... Return to Photos and Videos ..OR… Possible Scams