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Pico Play theming set to bring The Wizard of Oz to life at Warner Bros. Movie World

Pico Play theming set to bring The Wizard of Oz to life at Warner Bros. Movie World
March 25, 2024

Set to open later this year, The Wizard of Oz precinct at Warner Bros. Movie World on the Gold Coast is being created by Pico Play’s themed attractions and entertainment team.

Partnering with Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment and Village Roadshow Theme Parks to recreate The Wizard of Oz in a theme park for the first time, a group of 95 artists and engineers at Pico Play’s fabrication plant in Johor, Malaysia are meticulously crafting the lands and realms from the legendary 1939 film.

Themed around the movie’s beloved locations and characters, with sets which pay homage to key scenes, the immersive experience will transport guests from Dorothy’s house in Kansas to the famous Yellow Brick Road. Themed with scenes including the forests of the Wicked Witch of the West and the streets of Emerald City the precinct includes two new rollercoasters, unique ride themes and immersive visitor experiences.

Advising of the company’s innovative approach to the project, which includes impressive facades, sculptures, projections and audio, Pico Play Executive Director, Darren McLean stated “we want to offer guests more than just a rollercoaster ride. The experience is more than the ride itself. There’s a story, there are characters and there’s excitement, anticipation and entertainment leading up to the rides.”

Commenting on the themed environments, McLean noted “the load station for Flight of the Wicked Witch, a suspended family coaster soaring 19 metres high, mirrors the Wicked Witch of the West’s castle complete with flying monkeys, vultures and haunted trees.

“Guests will load and unload for the Kansas Twister, a family boomerang racer rollercoaster with dual tracks, amid a re-creation of Dorothy’s Kansas farm as the tornado comes through and whisks her off to the land of Oz.

“The stories and the characters are so rich and perfect to recreate for a theme park environment.”

The design replicates the original film’s innovative use of colour with Sepia tones reflected in the Kansas sequences, while the Witch’s Wasteland evokes the movie’s monochrome palette. The land of Oz then dazzles with bright colours, from Munchkin Land to the Emerald City and the Poppy Fields.

McLean adds “we are also crafting sculptures of Dorothy and Toto, Tin Man, the Lion and Scarecrow, strategically placed for guests to link arms with them for a photo opportunity, recreating the iconic image of the characters, poised to embark on their journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the magical land of Oz.

“Scenes from the movie will also be projected in queueing areas and we are recreating the original soundtrack with a local sound studio to be played in different areas.”

Inspection and Approval
Before building began in early 2023, Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment personnel travelled to Malaysia to inspect and approve specific aspects of the project’s design.

Explaining that the multi-million-dollar redevelopment has revitalised the retired Arkham Asylum area, and is one of the largest investments in its 30-year history, Village Roadshow Theme Parks Chief Operating Officer, Bikash Randhawa went on to say “there is a wonderful synergy between Village Roadshow Theme Parks and Pico Play, with both organisations sharing a passion and dedication towards delivering world-class experiences.

“The Wizard of Oz precinct is different from anything we’ve previously undertaken at Movie World. Our goal is to extend the storytelling from the film and make this one of the most beautifully designed precincts in any Australian theme park.

“We engaged with Pico Play to expand on this concept and they truly helped us to bring our vision to life.

“The precinct will have incredible theming and state-of-the-art technology complementing the physical ride elements providing a unique and world-class guest experience for visitors to Movie World.”

Innovative Materials
Pico Play’s use of Glass-Reinforced Concrete (GRC), a unique material developed by the firm in Australia, is crucial to the development of the new area’s cutting-edge storytelling techniques.

The innovative material enables the team to create sophisticated designs, forms, and textures. This approach uses panels which can be connected and engineered to fulfil Australian and international standards.

Over the next six months, 50 shipping containers will bring each item from Pico Play’s Malaysian plant to the Gold Coast, ready for installation. The arrival of the first shipments has heightened anticipation for both industry professionals and park visitors.

Before the precinct debuts in late 2024, Pico Play will install and test every component, including the sound and visuals.

Earlier this month, Pico Play announced that it is creating more than 50 new jobs in response to a new pipeline of projects. The recruitment drive will enhance the firm’s expertise and meet the international demand for its services.

Click here to contact Pico Play via their entry in the Australasian Leisure Management Supplier Directory.

Images: Pico Play concepts for The Wizard of Oz precinct at Warner Bros. Movie World (top and middle, credit: Pico Play) and Village Roadshow Theme Parks Chief Operating Officer Bikash Randhawa (below, credit: Village Roadshow Theme Parks).

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15th March 2024 - Ongoing growth sees Pico Play look to recruit more than 50 ‘funmakers’

15th February 2024 - Luxury event space designed by Pico Play to open at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

13th February 2024 - Warner Bros. Movie World reveals details of new Wizard of Oz-themed rides

4th December 2023 - Theme park innovator John Menzies named Gold Coast Business Excellence Hall of Famer

20th October 2023 - Global attractions report shows theme parks, waterparks and museums heading towards full recovery

3rd October 2023 - Warner Bros. Movie World transforms for Gold Coast’s best Halloween event

23rd August 2023 - Gold Coast Council gives approval for new 600-room hotel at Warner Bros. Movie World

5th July 2023 - Warner Bros. Movie World reveals new rollercoaster with planned 2024 opening

12th June 2023 - Pico Play reveals partnership with Hong Kong’s K11 Group

1st June 2023 - Village Roadshow Theme Parks introduces Reconciliation Action Plan

20th April 2023 - IAAPA positive about state of the global attractions industry

7th March 2023 - Village Roadshow moves forward with Movie World hotel plans

27th January 2023 - Warner Bros. Movie World’s Scooby Doo ride to shut for $4 million upgrade

19th January 2023 - Guest action contributes to ride closures at Warner Bros. Movie World

15th December 2022 - Village Roadshow Theme Parks look to successful summer season

10th November 2022 - Village Roadshow announces 2nd December opening for Sea World’s new Leviathan and Trident rides

30th July 2022 - Pico Play shares experiences of delivering ‘fun-making’ projects

20th July 2022 - New Wizard of Oz precinct concept unveiled for Warner Bros. Movie World

12th May 2022 - Pico Play expands into Vietnam

2nd March 2022 - Pico Play’s Malaysian fabrication facility in demand from clients across the globe

4th June 2021 - Warner Bros. Movie World commences festivities to mark 30th Anniversary

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