Every childhood memory is incomplete without a visit to the nearest amusement park. A day spent with friends and family, enjoying thrilling rides, eating some signature treats and exploring a vast scape of everything in between. They bring out a unique sense of community, catering to every age group, in a relatively small city like space. Amusement parks today come with various themes, each uniquely designed by firms all over the world. Some are standalone theme parks, while some are chain-owned. 

Here are ten architecture firms/chains which bring these dream destinations to life: 

1. WALT DISNEY IMAGINEERING

Imagineering is a part of Walt Disney which takes part in designing theme parks, popularly known as ‘Disneyland’. The theme revolves around beloved cartoons and characters like Mickey Mouse and Disney princesses who could come to life and interact with visitors. There are six Disneyland locations across the world with two waterparks. The locations are Paris, Hollywood, Orlando, Tokyo, California and Hong Kong. The vision of theme-based family parks was by the creator – Walt Disney himself, despite many financial hurdles from investors. A masterclass in experience design and urban planning, every corner was engineered creatively down to the last detail.

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2. UNIVERSAL CREATIVE

It is the development and planning division of Universal Parks and Resorts based in Orlando, Florida. Some of their projects include Simpsons ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Marvel Superhero Island and Jurassic Park island. These are known popularly as Islands of Adventure. Their projects revolve around concepts and characters of most animated films of Hollywood. Some of the projects were in collaboration with HuittZollars and other secondary architecture firms.

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3. HUITT ZOLLARS

Previously known as Morris Architects, this multidisciplinary firm is the mastermind behind the famous Legoland, Winterhaven, Florida. The expansion of BetoCarrero, which is the largest amusement park in Latin America, has been taken up by this firm. They have also partnered with Universal Studios on several occasions for the set design of blockbusters like Men in Black. They are based in Dallas Texas and have studios all over the US.

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4. FORREC

 A huge name in the fast-growing industry of entertainment and experience design in China, Forrec has designed several theme parks revolving around Chinese culture. Some of their works include Wanda Nanchang Outdoor Theme Park, Dollywood Wildwood Grove and Nickelodeon Universe. An interesting fact is that this firm is based in Toronto Canada and most of its projects are in China. Some of their projects are inspired by vernacular Chinese architecture and themes.

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5. SMYTHEMAN ARCHITECTURAL

A small firm based in Tean, UK, specializes in Architectural Technology. They designed the rides of the United Kingdom’s most favorite amusement park, Alton Towers run by Merlin Entertainment. They are well-known for creating roller-coasters such as the Wickerman and the Smiler. They have also designed some theme parks like the Legoland Windsor resort, United Kingdom.

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6. BENOY ARCHITECTS

A multi-design firm with studios all over the world has designed the Ferrari World in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Sustainable and environmentally friendly designs are their forte. Their portfolio predominantly consists of mega commercial designs. They have studios in the middle east, India, China and the UK. It was founded in 1947 in the UK. An amalgamation of years of experience, design integrity and creative flair, they strive to achieve energy-efficient and commercially sound architectural solutions.

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7. LEGACY | GGE 

A leader in immersive entertainment design and conceptualizing attractions, this firm offers a wide range of services from master planning to project management. It is based in North Hollywood, California. Some notable projects include Shanghai Ocean Park, Lotte World in Seoul and Coney Island amusement parks in New York City. Other interesting typologies in their portfolio include aquariums, casinos and live parks. GGE stands for Gary Goddard Entertainment who is a design veteran and also the founder.

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8. BAUSAA BAUSTUDIO

A 35-year old studio based in Italy, Baussa has designed theme and water parks and indoor amusements. They have various projects all over the Mediterranean and Europe. Some of their noteworthy work includes Magic World in Naples, Biograd Fun Park in Croatia and Gorki Park in Ukraine.

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9. LEISURE EXPERT 

A pioneer in the leisure industry, their main goal is to create unique experiences indoors or outdoors and of any scale. Based in Amsterdam, they have ideated and curated festivals, zoos, theme parks, concerts and more. Some examples include Djurs Sommerland, Bobbejaanland, Wilderness in Holland and an adventure zoo called Wildlands.

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10. INTERNATIONAL RESORT MANAGEMENT SERVICES

Based in Singapore, IRMS designs theme parks, water parks, cruise ships, integrated resorts and museums. With creative and fairytale-inspired projects, they have projects all over Southeast Asia. They have very unique eye-popping color concepts. Their projects revolve around the toddlers and adolescents’ age group. Some of their well-known projects include JejuShinhwa World on Jeju Island, South Korea, Puss in Boots family roller coaster in Universal Studios Singapore and Skytropolis Indoor theme park in Pahang Valley, Malaysia.

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Author

Asmita Kothari is currently pursuing B.Arch at the School of Architecture, VIT University. She is an avid reader and a movie buff, who loves watching architectural and travel documentaries and shows. She believes that ambitious and curious souls make the world a better place.

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