movies and theatrical performances have become drastically more realistic compared to a couple of years ago. We feel that the immersiveness of a themepark experience is unrivalled by these other forms of entertainment. However, making sure the experience fits this new reference framework is a great challenge. The good thing is we like this challenge a lot; it keeps us motivated and we are ready to support our clients with creating immersive experiences for their venues.

Themed entrance to DrageKongen coaster, Djurs Sommerland

like Excalibur at Movie Park Germany and the new expansion of Jungle Rally [a family coaster by Zierer] and Safaribussen [a Zamperla Crazy Bus] in Djurs. We are working a lot in the festival industry as well and are proud to be able to say that we are working on the stage design for the sixth year for Electric Daisy Carnival, the largest dance festival in North America. Also, for the first time ever, one of our projects will be setting sail this fall, which is also a very exciting process to be a part of.

Can you tell us about one of your personal favourite projects from Leisure Expert Group’s back catalogue, and why it stands out for you? It is almost impossible to choose a favourite of the many memorable projects we worked on. I am thinking of the period in which I started out in this industry, over 15 years ago, which was when we started working on Halloween. When we are designing haunted houses in spring, it always creates a spark of creativity with myself and the team, and to see these come alive in October is just so much fun!

How does your work in theme parks and amusement parks contribute to your other work in themed entertainment, for example festivals, events, haunted houses? Where is the crossover? The fundamentals are the same, guests that visit these

The design process: from sketch to reality

venues want to escape everyday reality - that is the thing that ties it all in. The way that they do this is different, different target audiences and environments each require their own unique approach.

How much of a project do you complete off-site vs on-site? How many team members will work on an individual project? We work with our in house design team through all the phases of design, from concept to detail design. Then we will work with the various suppliers on behalf of the client with art direction and technical direction for the project to be realized according to the design intent. The number of team members varies per projects and also changes during the various phases of the project.

In your opinion, what are the current trends in visitor entertainment and how are they changing theme park culture? I think the key word that will remain is immersive. I feel a great example is the Pirates of the Caribbean in Disney Shanghai, where the combination of the ride system, the scenic and the multimedia production are flawlessly integrated. You see more and more crossovers in parks: scenic and ride systems are getting more and more integrated into immersive experiences. I think this is mainly due to guests’ ever- changing reference framework. Special effects in

The majority of your projects are in Europe – do you have plans to expand to the rest of the world? Indeed the majority of our projects are in Europe, but currently we are also working on projects in the USA, China and South America. We are a boutique design company and want to make sure to stay close with our DNA so therefore fast and big expansion is not the aim. We want to make sure to always deliver the highest quality because we firmly believe that this will last for many more years, as opposed to pursuing fast growth.

A year after changing your name from Jora Entertainment to Leisure Expert Group, do you feel your new name better fits your brand identity? Most definitely, we feel that we now have a clear face in the industry and can clearly explain what we do. We always work with a team that has the required expertise for the project. Whether this is the architectural expert, the writer or the design expert, we always perform our services from an expertise driven standpoint.

If guests have special needs, or a disability, do you have a way to facilitate their involvement? Coincidentally we just were talking about this in the team, since we are now working on a visual experience which we are having a hard time making appealing for the visually impaired. We have sought expertise by inviting people who have this disability and are currenty creating prototypes to create a good experience for them as well.

Safaribussen, Djurs Sommerland



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