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Merlin Magic Making

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Bringing the nation's favourite bedtime story to life

Michelle Hicks was the Project Manager behind The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure. Having spent much of the last year bringing the ‘deep dark wood’ of The Gruffalo to life at Chessington World of Adventures Resort, we spent some time asking Michelle what exactly her job entailed…

“This was a project that not only involved juggling the works of engineers, architects, contractors and creatives, but also came with the pressure of recreating author Julia Donaldson’s much loved story in a river ride adventure – a mammoth task.  

“We employed brand new technology, combining traditional 3D models with projection mapping, scent pods, and theatrical lighting,” said Michelle, of which her favourite aspects of these are the haze and smoke effects. “Seeing these come together is the best part for me because they are the most complicated to work in conjunction with all the other aspects of the ride, but they bring the atmosphere of the wood to life and make it feel magical. Though of course seeing the guest reaction is what really brings it to life…

“Getting to ride The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure and seeing other people enjoy it, knowing what you’ve done delivers what you wanted it to and everyone had a great time doing it, is so rewarding. Working somewhere like a Theme Park you can really see all the hard work you put into a project pay off.”

June 2017

Merlin Entertainment