“It is something that’s difficult to describe. I don’t think that it is something that has a direct comparison in the marketplace,” said David Schaefer, vice president of Orlando-based Falcon’s.
“It’s using technology to take guests to places that they can’t visit when they’re sitting in Times Square. It’s really about taking them on a journey and, in this case, under the ocean,” he said.
Falcon’s team was hired on by New York-based SPE Partners, an entertainment developer under a licensing agreement with National Geographic Partners, to collaborate on the concept’s design and the preproduction of its components. That includes high-resolution media, immersive audio and interactive elements, Schaefer said.
“We’ve continued to stay involved throughout the whole implementation process by being a kind of creative sounding board for SPE but also helping to manage the vendors that are actually supplying components and fabricating and bringing this thing to life,” Schaefer said.
It’s the first time Falcon’s has worked with SPE, National Geographic or in New York City, Schaefer said.
“With their award-winning creative work and unparalleled track record in themed entertainment experiences for Universal Studios, Marvel and many others, Falcon’s Creative Group was a natural partner for us,” said Lisa Truitt, chief creative officer of SPE Partners,
The new 60,000-square-foot venue will utilize video mapping, photo-real animation, mega projection screens and interactive audience tracking that will let customers interact with digital sea lions, rays, dolphins, Humboldt squids and great white sharks. The 90-minute, walk-through attraction will conclude inside a 40-foot dome. Its address on 44th Street address in Manhattan means will will have Sardi’s, MTV, the Shubert Theatre and other Broadway venues as neighbors.
Inside, there will be a mix of activities and technologies, Schaefer said. The developers are “really trying to keep guests on their toes for how they will be engaged and experience these wonders of the ocean,” Schaefer said.
David Gruber, a marine biologist who was chief science adviser for Ocean Odyssey, said the finished result will be unprecedented and accurate.
“The experience harvests the current human understanding of our oceans and its multitude of sea life and packs the information together into an extraordinary virtual experience,” Gruber said.
Tickets are now on sale. Admission will be $39.50 ($32.50 for children 12 years old and younger). For more information, go to NatGeoEncounter.com.