Theme park insight to be shared at third annual Entertainment Designer Forum featuring Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens

in Disney, Entertainment, Walt Disney World

The highly-successful, informative, and enjoyable Entertainment Designer Forum is returning later this month for its third year, offering a chance for fans to talk with leading theme park experience designers from Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and Busch Gardens.

This year’s event will take place on Feb. 24, 2012 in a new location, at the Orange County Regional History Center in downtown Orlando, currently home to “The Serious Art of Make-Believe” exhibit featuring artwork from a variety of Universal Orlando entertainment offerings.

But the event itself showcases talent from more than just Universal Orlando. This year’s group of panelists also includes designers from Walt Disney Imagineering, Nickelodeon Recreation, and Busch Gardens. The event is split into two sessions, each separately ticketed, with 100% of proceeds donated to the American Cancer Society in honor of the late Stephanie Girard, Universal Orlando designer.

Here’s full line-up of panelists for each session:

6:30 p.m. Session

  • Scott Swenson – Director of Creative Services, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
  • Mike West – Executive Producer, Universal Creative (and former Walt Disney Imagineer)
  • David Hughes – Senior Designer, Universal Art & Design, Entertainment
  • Lora Wallace – Show Director, Universal Entertainment Production
  • Ron Hines – Sr. Studio Director, Nickelodeon Recreation
  • TJ Mannarino – Director, Universal Art & Design, Entertainment
  • 9:00 p.m. Session

  • Mike Wallace – Designer, Universal Creative
  • Curtis Hopkins – Designer, Universal Art & Design, Entertainment
  • Guy Petty – Principal Art Director, Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment
  • Vicki Bowlin – Art Manager, Universal Art & Design, Entertainment
  • Kenny Babel – President, White Bird Entertainment
  • Kim Gromoll – Designer, Universal Art & Design, Entertainment
  • Moderating both sessions will be Mike Aiello, Show Director, Universal Entertainment Production.

    In addition to hearing about the process of designing theme park attractions, shows, and other experiences, attendees will have a chance to ask questions and mingle with the panelists, the ultimate opportunity to get to know those who create what goes into Orlando’s theme parks in a personal, relaxed environment.

    While photography is permitted during the sessions, recording of any kind is not, as the event is put on separately from each of the theme park companies. But a similar event was recently also held at the History Center, featuring a panel of many of the same Universal designers, plus a few more, detailing how their ideas grow from concept to completion. To get an idea of the type of insight and conversation that will be shared during the Entertainment Designer Forum, you can watch the full video of that presentation below:

    You can also read our recap of the first Entertainment Designer Forum, offering tips on how you can become a theme park designer.

    Between sessions, Universal manager and “prosthetics wizard” Michael Burnett will offer a makeup demonstration straight out of Halloween Horror Nights. Last year, Burnett transformed his daughter into a Who from Grinchmas:

    A silent auction of theme park memorabilia will also take place between sessions, featuring a variety of rare and normally unavailable-for-purchase items from Halloween Horror Nights, other events and attractions, and a few unforgettable and unique experiences. Here’s a preview of a few of the Horror Nights items that will be up for auction at this year’s event:

    Tickets are $25.00 per session and can be purchased by calling 407-836-7010. More information about the Entertainment Designer Forum can be found on their Facebook page.

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