“This year’s Cornell Theme Park competition was again, incredible. Having judged the competition now for two years, it was exciting to see the difference just a year makes in terms of the depth, quality and overall ideation of themed entertainment concepts. With another year of record submissions and an increasingly global representation, the competition was steep, qualified and representative of the young blood our industry has to look forward to in the years to come,” said Mark Stepanian, President and Chief Experience Officer, CAVU. Mark is a Cornell alumnus and was part of this year’s panel of judges and got to see the level of creativity firsthand.
The winner of the 2021 Cornell Theme Park Design Competition was of Team 30 (Patrick Cusimano, Thomas Wiwchar and Emily Torres) from Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario. The winners presented the concept the “Uncanyon,” a hidden land of mystery and wonder. “Here is the home of urban legends like Bigfoot, Nessie, the Jackalope and aliens who have come here for cheaper tuition,” Team 30 stated in their intro. The concept was built around guest curiosity, giving guests time to explore and roam freely without having to wait in queues.
CAVU’s area of sponsorship was the Innovation Challenge, centered around a new, cutting-edge interactive technology that enhanced the experience, integrated into the overall concept & attractions, and most importantly, fit seamlessly with the creative narrative. The first follow up winner overall and the winners of the Innovation Challenge sponsored by CAVU was Team 18 (Kendall Duggar, Katie Kohutek, Olivia Pierce and Scia Verma) from the University of Texas at Austin.
Team 18 went above and beyond creatively when it came to the Innovation Challenge. By focusing, not only on the story by on queuing, ADA accessibility and immersive elements in their innovative element for their concept “Illustratia.” “Illustratia” transports guests into the pages of a sketchbook, bringing to life art, interactivity and a longstanding feud that invites guest to choose a side and join the battle.
“While several groups succeeded in meeting this innovation goal, it was thrilling to see such deep understanding of these advanced technologies with Team 18. The incorporation of RFID bands to assist operators with guest flow while simultaneously pushing guests deeper into the story through personalized interactivity is what set Team 18 apart,” continued Stepanian.
CAVU was excited to be sponsoring alongside JRA, WhiteWater, Zamperla and Raven Sun Creative. All results for the competition have been posted on the Cornell Theme Park Entertainment Group Facebook page.