04 Dec 2023 World leisure: news, training & property
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Attractions Management
2021 issue 2

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Leisure Management - Candy Holland & Theo Papadopoulos


Candy Holland & Theo Papadopoulos

In a child’s mind it’s totally normal for a mysterious bird to be half on fire, half frozen and shoot fire and ice balls all at once

Theo Papadopoulos and Candy Holland worked on Lego Mythica PHOTO: Inhouse Images
Mythica includes the UK’s first flying theatre ride, Flight of the Sky Lion PHOTO: LEGOLAND Windsor

Merlin Entertainments’ Legoland Windsor theme park in the UK has reopened with a new multi-million-pound attraction, the Lego Mythica: World of Mythical Creatures zone.

The new zone is home to the UK’s first ever flying theatre ride – called Flight of The Sky Lion – which stands at more than 25 metres tall. The 4D experience includes wind, mist and aroma effects, which have been synchronised with the animated film to fully immerse families in the Lego Mythica world.

Flight of The Sky Lion is accompanied by an array of other attractions and rides, such as the Fire and Ice Freefall, a drop ride and the Hydra’s Challenge water ride.

Other attractions include Creature Creation, where guests can build their very own creatures; an adventure play area called Lava Dragon Play; a character meet and greet experience called Creature Encounter and The Hungry Troll restaurant.

Creative lead Theo Papadopoulos and senior creative director for Legoland Parks Candy Holland worked closely with children to design the new Mythica zone. Here they tell us about the journey from concept to completion.

What’s special/unique/exciting about LEGO Mythica?
LEGO Mythica is a parallel dimension to our own. And whenever someone builds a fantasy creature using LEGO bricks in our world, it incredibly comes to life as a real creature in Mythica. Given that the types of creatures that live in Mythica are created mainly by kids, it’s home to some incredible and very unusual creatures. There are dragons, sea monsters, and unicorns, but also flying lions, flying dogs and even flying elephants! How do elephants fly? Using their butterfly wing ears of course!

Highlights include giant sized LEGO mythical creatures, super cute baby Alicorn ‘Bitsandbobs’ and Fire and Ice Bird on the family drop towers attraction. The most epic attraction is Flight of the Sky Lion – the UK’s first flying theatre ride – where guests can take flight on an incredible adventure and go even deeper into this parallel world with the Sky Lion Maximus.

How did you come up with the concept and theme of this land?
After extensive research exploring various themed routes, we realised that the theme of mythical creatures was a much-loved evergreen theme for our target demographic. Importantly it’s popular for both boys and girls which enables families to all enjoy the experience together.

You worked with children when designing LEGO Mythica. What input did they have?
The coolest thing about designing LEGO Mythica with children is that we realised very early on that the kids were the experts! As the theme is all about incredible creatures that kids can create using their imaginations and LEGO bricks, it allowed the children to lead the creative process and guide us (adults) on what type of creature creations they perceived as cool, engaging, scary, friendly etc. They also had a desire to create creatures with special abilities and certain personalities. For instance, the creation of the fire and ice bird was born from the mash-up of totally opposing powers and in a child’s mind it was totally normal for a mysterious bird to be half on fire, half frozen and have the ability to shoot fire and ice balls all at once.

How has the pandemic affected your work?
Hugely – this project was especially rewarding after spending the best part of the last year in lockdown mode. Working from home in a form of physical isolation isn’t the most natural atmosphere for creative collaboration and development. We had to find other ways to communicate and work through the thousands of design details needed to develop the project together with all our partners.

We also had to find other ways of implementing and delivering the experience once on site.

For example, before the pandemic our overseas film production team, who created the sound mix for the flying theatre, would have come and installed it themselves, mixing all the levels on site. But instead we found UK-based local specialists to collaborate with and implement the mix.

Originally published in Attractions Management 2021 issue 2

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