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Lemurs & Lions at Resort World Sentosa as Madagascar Attraction set to Open

Opinion

brent young founder super 78 studios theme park designRelatedThousands flock to Universal Studios for new Madagascar ride / From Downstairs Coasters to a Madagascan Crate: Super 78’s Brent YoungMadagascar: A Crate Adventure Opens at Universal Studios Singapore®

By Brent Young

I’ve been fortunate to be a part of the design team for several rides at this terrific new theme park including this ground-breaking attraction…I say ground-breaking because after all, it is the first attraction in the world to be themed around the hit DreamWorks Animation Madagascar film franchise.

The excitement here on Sentosa Island and around Universal is palpable as guests flock to see the latest addition. Thousands of visitors of all ages already have been among the first to give Madagascar a try.

madagascar lion at universal studios theme park sentosa singaporeIt is so cool to see the thousands of visitors of all ages flowing through the ride.  This is the scene we so anxiously anticipated when we were blue-skying story ideas, ride design and effect elements years in advance. And it’s awesome to see everything come together.

As with any attraction opening there’s been a range of speculation – from great to not-so-good – as well as questions from theme park fans about the core elements of the ride and the fundamental guest experience, so I thought I’d offer a few “boots-on-the-ground” insights to address some of the posts I’ve read.

As a big theme park fan myself, I appreciate the community’s eagerness to see, experience and discuss this new ride.  Feedback is a critical element to our industry’s success and I love the fact that so many fans are so passionate about the need to continue to push the creative envelope and develop the very best possible theme park experiences.  It keeps designers like me on our toes and eager to live up to your expectations.

Many of the less-than-favorable opinions I’ve come across have been based on one rather rough video of one guest’s ride-through. 

Let me offer some insight about this new Madagascar attraction.  And while certainly I have a built-in bias based on my affiliation with this project, I can assure you I remain a hard-core theme park fan as well…and promise to offer you a fair perspective.

The whacky world of Madagascar is a family attraction that is bursting at the seams with show effects, visual effects, smell effects, water features air cannons, smoke, fire, bubbles and general mayhem.madagascar hippo at universal studios theme park sentosa singapore

Family focused and very kid-centric

One speculator has suggested the ride is too “tame.”  The DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar film franchise ranks among the most popular kid-friendly animated movies of all time, so true to the film’s brand essence this ride has been designed to be heavily family focused and very kid-centric.  This focus makes added sense given that some of the original guest feedback Universal Studios Singapore received suggested there was not enough for kids to do at the park.

And I can tell you, MAD is a huge hit with the kids.  On my monorail ride to the island yesterday and it was jammed packed with groups of kids talking about Madagascar, eager to experience the ride. 

I think one of the other unfortunate challenges we face is that it will be difficult for the vast majority of theme parks fans to experience this Madagascar ride first hand given its location (although let me say that if you EVER get a chance to visit Singapore you should jump at it because it’s a fabulous destination…more on that in a future post).  My hope is that at some point in the future the attraction debuts in the U.S. so all the MAD fans can enjoy it.

That’s all for now from this side of the world.  Thanks for reading and if you get the opportunity to ride Madagascar: A Crate Adventure for yourself, drop me a line and let me know what you think!

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