Theme Park Design

Before I started painting for gallery shows and became an illustrator/author I worked in the themed entertainment industry at WDI (walt disney imagineering) and Universal Creative (the theme park design division of universal studios). I am very grateful and thankful to have had the experience of working at both places, as they provided some of the best times of my career and were great places to learn and grow as a designer.  I'm fortunate to still receive opportunities to continue designing for the themed entertainment industry and film as a consultant, something I very much enjoy doing.



At Universal I was the Senior Executive Art Director and Production Designer (try putting that on a business card), for the Men In Black Alien Attack attraction at Universal Orlando.  


Then I became the art director for a park Universal owned in Spain called, Universal Studios Port Aventura. I worked with a very talented team on the Spain park and we managed to have so much fun while working together. The last attraction we created before Universal sold the park, was Templo Del Fuego, an amazing special effects attraction with more fire effects than any attraction had ever done before. Templo Del Fuego won a THEA award the year it opened, as did the Men In Black attraction in Florida. (the THEA Awards are the theme park industries equivalent to the film industries Academy Awards.) 


Designing an attraction and then following it through the building stage to a fully dimensional reality is amazing. Even more amazing is when the attraction you have worked on for years opens to guest and you see for the first time people walking through and enjoying what you and your team have worked so hard to create. It’s one of the greatest feelings you can imagine



I hope you've enjoyed this post and that you'll take a moment to leave a comment.  You can see more at www.jimmypickering.com and on my Facebook page.

Thank you for visiting.

5 comments:

Melissa said...

It's interesting, because I grew up in Orlando, and spent a huge chunk of my teenage and college years playing in the Universal theme parks. I worked there myself, actually... not for Universal, but for one of the third party vendors in Islands of Adventure.

I love the Men in Black ride. It's hella fun, and I always really liked the look of it. Nice to know that the reason for that is one of my favorite illustrators being behind the scenes. Did you have anything to do with the Doofus and Doright preshow video? It makes me laugh every time.

Sorrentino said...

how did you get involve in that industry??

jimmy said...

Hi Melissa:

I'm glad to hear you like the look of the MIB attraction, as everything the guest sees in the attraction from the moment they enter the door of the facility was my visual responsibility. As I look back at it my team and I did a pretty good job within the parameters we were given. As with all projects some areas are stronger than others, which is always the case, but as a cohesive experience, everyone did a great job.

To answer your question about the preshow video yes I was part of that but there was a team who did most of the work. They deserve the credit for the high quality of the final video.

Take care,
jimmy

jimmy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jimmy said...

Hi Sorrentino:

Thanks for your comment, but before I go into how I got into the industry, I need to ask you which industry you are asking of, the publishing or themed entertaiment?

Cheers,
jimmy

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