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Creative Voices

Theme Park Design: Thinkwell Group Brings Stories To Life

By Terri Stone

Designing theme parks sounds like a classic kid’s dream, akin to being an astronaut or president. For the people who work at the Thinkwell Group, it’s a dream come true.

Thinkwell is the mastermind behind such attractions as The Making of Harry Potter and The Jurassic Park Institute. The group also designs museum exhibits, cultural attractions, and stage sets. They describe what they do as “experience design.”

Experience design combines “a lot of different disciplines to create an immersive, compelling experience that people move through,” says chief creative officer Craig Hanna. “It’s storytelling, it’s filmmaking, it’s theater.”

Dave Cobb, vice president of creative development, explains Thinkwell’s approach another way. “For us, it’s about designing things where the guest is the main character,” Cobb says. “They become our protagonist. They’re also the camera. Instead of a narrator telling you a story, you’re experiencing it first hand. If you look around, you’re immersed in a story.”

Watch the video below to see some of the many stories Thinkwell has told.

Thinkwell recreated Hogwarts for the Making of Harry Potter experience.