Thursday, May 10, 2018

ITEC's Patrick Kling with 8 Tips & Methods that any business can apply from the Theme Park Industry


By Patrick Kling, Project Coordinator


                               More on Patrick Kling can be found here.

Theme Parks are serious business.

In fact, in 2017 the Walt Disney Company’s Parks and Resort division took in 18.4 Billion Dollars in Revenue. This isn’t a fluke. This is a meticulously ran division and an important part of the strategic vision for the Walt Disney Company.

While you may not be in the business of building Hogwarts castles or tea cups, there are lessons from theme park operations and design that you can apply to your business.

So lower your lap bar, remain seated at all times and put on your 3D glasses… let’s go!

1. Encourage your employees to use your business, product or service

At any given moment there are countless theme park employees and designers walking (or 'playing' as we affectionately call it) around Disney and Universal parks. Companies encourage this by granting their employees generous admission access. This isn’t just a perk, it's a smart business practice. Employees are the toughest critics and often know when something is wrong and can impact change in your organization. They also make great brand ambassadors for your business.

Consider encouraging your employees to use your business’s services or product by increasing discounts, and don’t be afraid to facilitate feedback from them. They live and breath your brand every day and are likely to care the most.


2. "Yes, If” versus “No, Because"

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Bob Gurr, a famed theme park designer whose first project was designing the Autopia vehicles at Disneyland. He went on to design then Monorail’s, Haunted Mansion ‘Doom Buggies’ and even the King Kong animatronics for Universal parks. He was speaking to several of my fellow theme park industry design folk and shared fascinating stories.

They mostly revolved around his former boss, Walt Disney.

While Walt Disney and other creatives would dream up the impossible, forward thinking attractions, it was up to Bob Gurr to figure out how to actually build them!

Walt Disney hated it when anyone would tell him “No”

That’s why Bob Gurr adopted the mantra is “Yes, if”

Even if something seems impossible, there may be a way to make it happen. Let’s take a practical example:

“We need to finish finalizing the year end budget by Friday”

Less productive response - "No, because I am already overworked, and don’t have time to do it.”

More Productive response - "Yes, if I can shift some of my workload, or get more help.”

This mantra and thinking can help get proper resources needed to accomplish a task, or let leaders make the decisions themselves on what to prioritize. Try it at your business and watch your communication and productivity improve!

3. Queue management 

Theme parks are infamous for their endless lines snaking through switchbacks and seemingly endless hallways. In recent years, industry leaders like Disney and Universal have rolled out innovative queue management systems like Fast Pass, or waiting areas like at "Jimmy Fallon’s Race Through New York" attraction. The Jimmy Fallon attraction is quite unique as guests can lounge and be entertained by the Tonight Show’s zany, contemporary a capella group, The Ragtime Gals, while they wait for their ride to begin.




Jimmy Fallon soaks in the smooth barber shop tunes of the Ragtag Gals during a preview of his attraction. The Ragtag Gals perform daily in front of audiences who are waiting to board the ride. 
©Universal Orlando





At your business it may be common to have people waiting. Waiting to be seated, waiting to be seen, waiting on hold, waiting to place their order, or waiting for answers. Here are some principles to learn from:
  • Give your customers an accurate wait time
  • Keep customers informed of delays
  • Entertain or occupy your customers while they wait
  • Be careful of bottlenecks in your wait, ensure multiple people can attend one line
Applying these principles will lead to higher efficiencies and less perceived wait from customers.

4. Nurture and give perks to your biggest fans

Word-of-mouth continues to be one of the best forms of advertising. When you have a repeat customer, it is likely they are in your targeted demographic and know others that would be interested in your business as well.

Nurture them!

Theme parks have upped their fan appreciation over the past several years. Since the inception of seasonal and annual passes decades ago, theme parks have cultivated a dedicated and huge fan base. Disney and Universal have seized this opportunity and hold various events throughout the year that attracts and caters to their biggest fans.





Since 2014 Universal Orlando has held A Celebration of Harry Potter™, with exclusive celebrity meet and greets, panel discussions and special merchandise.
©Universal Orlando




What are you doing to retain your most passionate customers?

Are they given priority over others? Are they given discounts or perks? What can you do to expedite their experience? Do you interact with them on social media or other platforms

Happy customers tell others about their experience and can become a significant marketing vehicle for your company.

5. Empower your employees to help customers

At the major theme parks, front line employees are empowered to resolve issues on the spot.

Did little Billy just drop an Ice Cream cone? A nearby employee can help and get that replaced, most likely with no questions asked. Is a customer having a bad day… train your employees to ask them what they need to right the situation. Most of the time, people simply want to be heard. 





Nothing will ruin your vacation faster than a dropped Dole Whip splattered throughout Adventureland. At the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida there is no need to fret as a nearby Cast Member will help resolve the issue on the spot.

Photo Courtesy: Kristen Walbieser





Businesses are complicated, and empowering your employees to resolve issues can be good for them, and let you spend less time handling routine issues and more time on the bigger picture.

6. Design your business in terms of the customer or guest experience

Theme parks have meticulously laid out what the guest experience is like in every square inch of their parks. From the parking lot to the amount of water fountains and benches, it is all deliberately orchestrated. 

How does a customer engage with your business?




In 2013 the Walt Disney World Resort rolled out the Magic Band changing how guests interact with everything from Theme Park entry points, to hotel room doors to on-ride photography.
©Disney






Conduct an analysis of each touch point between the business and customer. Identify how you can make it better for them. Is there a way to expedite the customer experience by having them give you information ahead of time? Could they be greeted personally? Could they speak to the same representative each time?

Think about how to make it more personable. If done properly, you will see the difference!

7. Measure and analyze everything

Theme parks measure wait times, hourly capacity, and of course, per cap spending.

It's a no-brainer to count the basics at any business such as revenue, expenses and profit, but think about expanding to more out-of-the-box measurements. How long does it take for a customer to talk to a person while waiting on the phone? How long does it take for someone to greet a customer when they are in your store? How could a customer pay quicker?

If you are consistently measuring, you can analyze how to make your business, and the customer experience, more efficient and hold employees accountable.

8. Keep it up! 

“Keep it up - Never underestimate the importance of cleanliness and routine maintenance, people expect to get a good show every time, people will comment more on broken and dirty stuff.” - Marty Sklar, Imagineer and Disney Legend

If you're business has been open for a year or longer, things may already be deteriorating. As Marty Sklar said, ‘Keep it up!’ If you are a store or restaurant, ensure you set aside capital to keep your business updated, current and working. Nobody wants to walk into a dilapidated business with chipped paint, and broken furniture (unless you’re an antique shop).

Things break, but it is possible to keep ahead of it.






For over 60 years the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland in Anaheim, California has been maintained, updated and kept relevant for today’s audiences.
Photo Courtesy: Kristen Walbieser





Every few years, attractions at Disney and Universal will be closed temporarily for days or weeks, to fully “refurbish” the ride. This is in addition to the regular nightly maintenance each attraction goes through.

Keep your business looking fresh, and you’ll have plenty of customers coming back!

The theme park industry is very unique as it blends countless trades, technologies and is a living and breathing entity. Next time you frequent one, take notice of the surroundings and how meticulous it is laid out.

We have merely scratched the surface in terms of lessons learned from theme parks. There is also a lot to learn from one another - what industry are you in? Let us know what lessons theme parks might be able to learn from your business in the comment box below!


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

ITEC's Jerry Brown on Modeling for 3D Printing Best Practices


By Jerry Brown, Director of Media

More on Jerry Brown can be found here.










At ITEC Entertainment we often have the need to produce physical models of props, buildings, ride cars and more to tangibly visualize 3D models or prototype an item. 

Unlike 3D modeling for film or video, your models don't just have to look good, they need to be built a certain way so they can be physically 'replicated' in the real world with real world physics. Here are my 10 tips and best practice recommendations for when modeling items for 3D printing.
 

Tip #1: Models must be watertight with no holes. If the object you are creating is designed to have a hole (like a piggy bank), it must have an outside and an inside and have a defined thickness. The entire area must be closed watertight and void of missing polygons and/or unconnected polygons.

Tip #2: The object must be what is referred to as manifold – meaning that one edge of the object cannot share more than two faces. This sometimes occurs during modeling when extruding edges vs faces, OR when extruding faces inwards but not up or down. This causes a shared edge among several polygons. 3D printers don’t know how to interpret what is to be done with those. 


Tip #3: Normals must be oriented in the correct (outward) position. In the piggy bank example – the outside edge normal must face OUT, and the inside surface normal must face IN.

Tip #4: Don’t make detail too thin. Everything must have a thickness that is more than 2 to 4 millimeters. Some printers will not print very fine detail, especially if the detail is unsupported or sticking up by itself. For best results, avoid antennae, hair, strings, or wires, and other unsupported detail in your models. 

Tip #5: It is good practice not to overlap or intersect geometry. Instead, try to connect (Boolean) them. For example, if a gun barrel is sticking out of a tank top turret, try to connect the gun to the tank top instead of just placing it through. 3D Printers sometimes get confused on what object is printing (the gun or the turret), and will sometimes build up plastic in that one area. Keep this practice to a minimum and you will have better 3D print results. 


Tip #6: Be aware of overhangs. Most 3D printers print like an ink jet printer (one layer at a time on top of the previous layer). Overhangs will require the printer to make a ‘support’ which is built into most slicing software which is helpful to take into consideration when modeling. Most 3D printers can print a 45 degree angle without support and can also print spheres without the need for additional support structure. 


Tip #7: Consider modeling something in two or more pieces that can be glued or connected together after printing. This will help you avoid having to use supports. For example, a ship's hull can be printed in 2 pieces and then glued together. Or in the example below, this chess piece would have needed supports to print the top. By separating the piece at printing stage, and gluing the pieces together later, you will avoid the need for supports. 

Tip #8: 3D printers only print the data that is displayed as polygons. They do not print bump, normal, or displacement maps. If you create something using a third-party 3D sculpting and painting tool like Mudbox or ZBrush, you will need to convert to polygons first. Some modeling software like Maya has a mode called Smooth Mesh Preview, which will show how it will "render" but it will print without the smooth mesh preview and use the polygons.

Tip #9: Try to keep your polygon count to a reasonable level. The more polygons, the heavier the print increasing the chances of a software crash. 

Tip #10: Consider size restrictions. Most consumer desktop 3D printers can print an object at approx 6x6x6 inches, some a little larger, some a little smaller. Keep this in mind when creating a model. If you create a 10 inch action figure, you will find that very few desktop printers will print that size at the moment. If you need to print a larger item, consider splitting it up into several pieces and assembling after. NOTE - this is also a good idea for prints that take a very long time (over 10 hours) to print. Better to cut these up into smaller, two hour prints. There is nothing more frustrating than a fifteen hour print crashing in the fourteenth hour because of power failure, etc, and having to start all over!






Tuesday, February 27, 2018

ITEC ANNOUNCES CONSTRUCTION OF PARADISE PARK IN HARBIN, CHINA



ITEC Entertainment Corporation, an industry leader of worldwide entertainment solutions, announces that construction has begun on a major mixed-use and entertainment complex in Harbin, China. ITEC Entertainment is providing master planning and concept design services for Harbin Paradise Park and what will become the first Ripley’s Believe It or Not! attraction located in China. ITEC Entertainment’s services will include attraction identity and story treatments to be delivered and experienced throughout the attractions’ rides, exhibits, displays, branding and activities that extend into all interior and exterior environments.


Harbin Paradise Park will team the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! attraction with two other major themed attraction areas in the development to form a major local and visitor entertainment destination in Harbin.  Rainforest Bay Aqua Park - a multi-story indoor water park with pools and caverns, cabanas and multiple slides, zip lines and elevated activity gazebos – will cater to entire families of wet adventure seekers.  Aiming to draw shoppers after their Ripley’s and water park experience will be a commercial sector, with nearly a mile of storefronts inspired by world continents.

“ITEC Entertainment is grateful for the longstanding relationship we have had with the legendary Ripley Entertainment brand,” said ITEC President, Bill Coan. “That trust combined with the strength of our joint venture partnership with Shanghai Xian Dai/Arcplus Group will ensure a thrilling and rewarding guest experience.”

Rainforest Bay Aqua Park and the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! attraction areas are slated for a 2019 opening.

Friday, September 29, 2017

ITEC ENTERTAINMENT SCALES FOR GROWTH WITH NEW CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 18, 2017)

ITEC Entertainment Corporation, an industry leader of worldwide entertainment solutions,
announces that Candice Telfer has joined the company as Chief Financial Officer, responsible for the financial health of the organization and overseeing functions that improve business performance. In this role, she will lead the areas of budget management, cost-benefit analysis, business forecasting, accounts payable and receivables, human resources, asset management and resource planning.

Strong cash management and sound internal controls will help secure the financial future of ITEC Entertainment as the company analyzes new models and processes to achieve added growth.

“Adding Candice’s expertise to our leadership team further hones our readiness to capture new opportunities as we scale for growth,” said Bill Coan, President of ITEC Entertainment. “Her knowledge and perspectives will help improve business unit performance and foster a financial approach throughout the organization.”

Candice brings more than a decade of financial and human resource expertise to ITEC Entertainment, having served in leadership roles at tech firms on high growth trajectories. She previously served as Vice President of Finance for PowerDMS, an Inc. 5000 fastest growing privately held U.S. company that experienced 116 percent growth in revenue over the past several years. Prior to her role at PowerDMS, Candice was Controller for Empower Software Solutions, a provider of human capital management solutions that was later acquired by Kronos – a global leader of workforce management cloud solutions.   

Candice has a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Colorado Boulder. Candice Telfer’s LinkedIn profile is available at https://www.linkedin.com/in/candice-telfer-56535925/

Thursday, September 7, 2017

ITEC ENTERTAINMENT POSITIONS TO GROW MARKETSHARE AND BRAND WITH NEW CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER

ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 5, 2017) – ITEC Entertainment Corporation, an industry leader of worldwide entertainment solutions, announces that Lisa Junkerman has joined the company as Chief Marketing Officer & Director of Corporate Development. Lisa serves a critical role during a time of accelerated growth at ITEC Entertainment. She will lead worldwide corporate development, marketing, PR, branding, website development, social media and advertising and will work with ITEC Entertainment’s president and executive team to set and implement strategies that grow marketshare and brand.

“This is an unprecedented time where worldwide growth opportunity exists for ITEC Entertainment,” said Bill Coan, President of ITEC Entertainment. “Adding Lisa to our leadership team underscores our commitment to further invest in our global brand. Her skills and expertise in marketing and business savvy will help us build equity and new go-to-market approaches.”

Lisa has worked for Fortune 250 companies, including Motorola, Inc. and Progress Energy (now Duke Energy) and in the higher education industry where she was Assistant Vice President for Strategic Marketing for Rollins College. In those roles she has led, managed and implemented across the disciplines of: marketing; business development; branding; social media; public relations; digital marketing; creative strategy; marketing research; public involvement; community relations; integrated communications; and more. As principal of Chief Marketing Associates, Inc. Lisa has also provided CMO services to global, national and local clients.

Lisa has an MBA degree from the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College and a BA in Business Administration with a marketing major from the University of South Florida. She has also been an adjunct marketing instructor at Crummer Graduate School. Lisa currently serves as a Trustee of the Board of Directors for Art & History Museums – Maitland and is a member of the Investor Relations Committee for Orlando Economic Partnership. LinkedIn profile available athttps://www.linkedin.com/in/lisajunkerman/

About ITEC Entertainment Corporation
ITEC Entertainment Corporation is a global industry leader of award-winning, entertainment solutions that ignite the dreams of hundreds of millions of people all over the world. ITEC’s culture of performance and innovation pushes the frontiers of themed entertainment design, production and technology to new heights. Founded in 1985, ITEC has delivered over 300 of the most successful and comprehensive guest experiences spanning: theme parks, rides and shows; cultural attractions; resorts and mixed-use; themed dining; entertainment centers; and themed retail. ITEC is headquartered in Orlando, Florida with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.ITEC.com.

ITEC ENTERTAINMENT LAUNCHES 35 ATTRACTIONS AND SHOWS FOR EVERGRANDE GROUP

ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 1, 2017)  - ITEC Entertainment Corporation, an industry leader of worldwide entertainment solutions, announces that it has embarked upon the launch of 35 new attractions and shows for Evergrande Group planned to be built in Jurong, China. 
Evergrande Group selected ITEC Entertainment to provide creative designs for the new parks, having had a history of working together for over two years. ITEC Entertainment’s team of designers and engineers will begin working immediately to meet the accelerated timeline slated to begin rollout in 2019.
“Evergrande is doing something unprecedented in the theme park industry,” said Bradley Caruk, Creative Director at ITEC Entertainment. “We are honored that the company recognized and selected ITEC Entertainment to design the park’s 35 attractions and shows.” 


Evergrande Group commenced upon the launch of Evergrande Jurong Fairytale World, which included presentations to Jurong government officials by ITEC Entertainment.

ITEC Entertainment’s Bradley Caruk and David Roadcup provide a project update to Jurong government officials and Evergrande Executive Vice President, Shawn Siu.
ITEC Entertainment and Evergrande Group meet with officials from the City of Zhenjiang to detail the project status

Evergrande Group one of the largest property developers in China, announced that this will be the first in a chain of children-oriented, all-indoor, all-season theme parks to be built across the country.

About ITEC Entertainment Corporation
ITEC Entertainment Corporation is a global industry leader of award-winning, entertainment solutions that ignite the dreams of hundreds of millions of people all over the world. ITEC’s culture of performance and innovation pushes the frontiers of themed entertainment design, production and technology to new heights. Founded in 1985, ITEC has delivered over 300 of the most successful and comprehensive guest experiences spanning: theme parks, rides and shows; cultural attractions; resorts and mixed-use; themed dining; entertainment centers; and themed retail. ITEC is headquartered in Orlando, Florida with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.ITEC.com.

ITEC ENTERTAINMENT APPOINTS JERRY BROWN DIRECTOR OF MEDIA

ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug 8, 2017) –ITEC Entertainment Corporation, an industry leader of worldwide entertainment solutions, announces that Jerry Brown has been promoted to the position of Director of Media. In this role, Jerry will lead ITEC Entertainment’s media production team of animators, special effects artists and motion graphics artists in creating cutting-edge media content for themed attractions, rides and special venue projects.

“Promoting Jerry to this new role allows us to capitalize on the growing demand for breakthrough guest experiences,” said Bill Coan, President of ITEC Entertainment. “Creating and delivering industry-leading immersive content and environments has always been core to what we do. Jerry’s expertise will enable us to build upon that heritage.”

As a 20-year industry veteran, Jerry has directed and produced media for numerous high-profile theme park attractions and immersive virtual reality experiences. His work includes the creation of media for award winning attractions around the world including projects for Universal Studios Florida, Sea World Orlando, Disney’s Epcot and destinations in Berlin, China and Dubai.


A pioneer in media, Jerry helped develop a technique for stereoscopic projection that was based on the guest’s point of view. He left the feature film business in 1997 to join the team producing visuals for the original Adventures of Spiderman attraction at Universal Studios Florida as lighting supervisor and compositor. Jerry’s other breakthroughs include creating visuals for a 2-minute, 360-degree animation for the first-ever virtual reality drop tower experience sponsored by NASA along with founding and publishing one of the largest U.S. circulated creative industry magazines for creative professionals.

About ITEC Entertainment Corporation
ITEC Entertainment Corporation is a global industry leader of award-winning, entertainment solutions that ignite the dreams of hundreds of millions of people all over the world. ITEC’s culture of performance and innovation pushes the frontiers of themed entertainment design, production and technology to new heights. Founded in 1985, ITEC has delivered over 300 of the most successful and comprehensive guest experiences spanning: theme parks, rides and shows; cultural attractions; resorts and mixed-use; themed dining; entertainment centers; and themed retail. ITEC is headquartered in Orlando, Florida with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.ITEC.com.