Following the conceptual presentation yesterday of the Paramount Murcia Theme Park, we spoke to the designers who have been developing the project about the ideas presented and the thinking behind the themes chosen around which this attraction will be built.
The master plan we were shown yesterday has been developed based on the back catalogue of Paramount films and also the experience the multinational has gained running previous theme park attractions.
Although the Executives again emphasised that they will not be contributing capital to this project, but bringing their expertise to bear, and ensuring that the design concept would appeal to the widest possible audience.
This park will be financed by private capital, so has to be viable and in order to attract the largest number of visitors possible will need to appeal to all ages and nationalities, as luring sufficient numbers of visitors requires an internationally appealing product.
According to Michael Bartok, Vice President of Paramount Licensing, the Paramount Brand is one of the worlds top 10 iconic brands, easily identifiable and with a back catalogue of quality productions from which to draw the themes for the park. The name of Paramount will ensure a world-wide audience, and a concerted international promotional campaign guaranteeing that the public are aware that the park exists and is open for business.
Murcia, he told us, has been chosen principally for its weather, with 300 days of sun a year offering the most viable opportunity for an extended opening period, adverse weather costing millions in lost revenue, as discovered by the Euro Disney operators who have fought a long-term battle with Parisien winters and the preconception that Paris in January is not the warmest place to enjoy an open-air theme park.
Fortunately the planners have sensibly chosen a location avoiding the colder murcian weather which has surprised so many expats who purchased country fincas in the more mountainous ranges soaring behind Alhama and up into the Sierra Espuña, draped with bursting grape vines and roses in the summers, only to find them clad in snow during the weather months. Down below the snow line on the flat plains which stretch across to the coast, it´s a different climate altogether, without the cold generated by the rise in height.
Another factor was infrastructure, proximity of the new International airport, the existing Murcia Airport at San Javier, the motorway network and the connections which will be created when the AVE high speed train link reaches the Region, all major factors.
So how will this park be structured?
As reported yesterday, there are 2 zones, a Lifestyle Zone with conference facilities, auditorium, shopping village and accommodation, the business end to put it bluntly, and the park area.
The conceptual design presented yesterday is still fairly loose, as the designer explained that there is still a great deal of research and technical planning to be done before the definitive design can finally be concluded.
He explained that the themes selected have been taken from the back catalogue of Paramount Pictures and have been chosen based on several factors;
The first of these is the popularity of the films and their distribution. All the themes and movies selected have proven to be winners in not only Spain, but the European market and are instantly recognisable themes. The designer was keen to emphasise that more research will be done into spanish tastes and expectations to ensure that the domestic market is adequately provided for as well as the wider European appeal.
The second is their potential to adapt to a theme park application and include elements which can realistically be introduced into a theme park environment.
And the third is choosing themes in which the visitor can participate and become part of the adventure experience themselves. The whole idea behind these new generation products is immersion, and visitors to this park will became part of the adventure themselves, playing, interacting, living out their own fantasies in live time, assisted by the latest in 4 dimensional technology.
Area 1 is being loosely called Adventure City, and will comprise 3 main core attractions.
An enormous reproduction of The Titanic and its accompanying iceberg will be the suspended as the centrepiece of this area, above the luxurious salon boasted by the ship before she sunk.
In the same zone, the films Mission Impossible and The Italian Job will also be featured, with visitors participating in a hair raising and thrilling car chase, replete with special effects and video technology. The designer said that when they decided to feature this ride their first inclination was to incorporate elements from the original production, and this could still be the case as the design for the project is developed. The Mission impossible will include a spectacular russian mountain, immersing participants into a thrilling 4d world of international espionage.
The Lost Valley will take riders on a hair raising Congo river ride through dangerous terrain and tropical terror, a zone of adventure and discovery. From here visitors will uncover the legendary castle of Beowulf, with obligatory dragon and accompanying danger, and as if that isn´t enough adventure, there´ll be a multitude of interactive elements awaiting the adventurers inside the Tomb Raider crypt.
For those with less of a lust for danger and thrills, the Woodland Fantasy will delight and thrill the senses, magical workshops, sleepy hollow taberna, a magical forest, magical trees, a zone of fantasy and discovery for the younger family members and those with imagination.
Finally, visitors will access the world of the future, Plaza Futuro.
This zone submerges visitors into the fantasies of Star Trek, which promises total immersion, action and adventures awaiting in the form of the most advanced integration technology and special effects.
Visitors can participate in a spectacular 4d battle environment in the War of the Worlds, fighting off alien invaders using the most advanced movement simulators which exist.
In the same zone, Paranormal activity awaits those who dare to enter, and we´ve been promised ghosts which will swoop and dive on visitors using frighteningly realistic 3d imagery and audio effects.
We were warned, this technology is so advanced that only the brave should dare enter........
The designer explained that whilst the conceptual part of his job required a stage and set design background, the major work in designing a project of this nature was working on the logistics of incorporating safety and technological elements into the plan, so whilst the initial concept gave an overall theme, the work was only just beginning to transform the ideas into a practical and functional final presentation, which was still months down the line.
He said his role was to inspire and entertain, immerse his visitors into an all consuming adventure and encourage them to play, explore and participate in the world´s first immersion themepark.
He acknowledged that today he couldn´t unveil the definitive final elements, but all he could promise was that a visit to the park would be an all consuming total immersion experience which would be unique to the Paramount Murcia theme park and which we´d never forget.
So now it´s over to the Proyectos Emblemáticos Murcianos team to bring in the money which will turn conceptual design into a set of project construction plans and create the 10,000 jobs so badly needed by this Region and its businesses.
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