MEET OUR THEA AWARD RECIPIENT FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: THEME PARK
Universal Studios Beijing Beijing, China Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement-Theme Park Overview
Despite the pandemic and perhaps the world’s most restrictive lock down, after 20 years of preparation and planning, the highly anticipated Universal Studios Beijing Theme Park Resort opened in October 2021 as a watershed moment in the Chinese theme park industry. Its ambition, scale and uniform level of excellence sets a new bar for international standard for theme park destination development in terms of guest experience and represents the highest investment to date, reported at more than USD6.5 billion. Universal Beijing Resort was created under the guideline of “global vision, international standards, distinctive Chinese features, and futureoriented goals”. The core Universal Studios Beijing resort covers 400 hectares and is part of a larger cultural tourism destination (1,200 hectares) located in east Beijing’s Tongzhou Cultural Tourism Zone. Universal Beijing Resort features the Universal Studios Beijing theme park, the Universal CityWalk Beijing retail, dining and entertainment complex and two hotels. The Universal Studios Grand Hotel is the first-ever Universal-themed resort hotel, and the first NUO-branded resort hotel from Beijing Tourism Group. The park includes 7 highly themed, immersive lands with over 37 cutting-edge attractions, rides, and landmarks, 24 shows and performances, 60 food & beverage venues, 30 retail stores, plus specially created experiences designed to honor and reflect China's rich cultural heritage. Universal Studios Beijing is also the world’s first theme park resort destination to earn the LEED Gold certification for the LEED for Cities and Communities rating system.
What sets this attraction apart?
The Beijing destination blends Eastern and Western cultures both literally and metaphorically in the partnerships, design, attractions, and environmental elements of the park. There are some surface similarities but this is not a cookie cutter version of Universal’s previous theme parks. This is a deep re-thinking and culturally appropriate reinvention of the Universal brand, achieving relevance for a Chinese audience. The beautifully designed mega theme park includes 7 highly themed lands, several all-new attractions and immersive lands unique to China along with selected evergreen fan-favorites Universal rides, shows, attractions and popular characters from around the world (such as Harry Potter, Hollywood, Water World) – plus specially created experiences designed to reflect China's cultural heritage. Several key lands and attractions that stand out: - Transformers Metrobase: The first Transformers-themed land in the world, which features an expanded and completely fictionalized story with China as the backdrop; - Jurassic World Isla Nublar: The essence of this legendary film franchise comes to life in this jaw-dropping adventure land including the Jurassic World Adventure ride; - Minion Land: The largest Minion-themed experience in the world captivates guests as they meet characters and explore iconic locations from the blockbuster films; Also of note is the Kung Fu Panda Land of Awesomeness which is Universal’s first Kung Fu Panda-themed land, entirely indoors, and also the land with the most traditional Chinese cultural elements. The highly unique and impressive Untrainable live show based on How to Train Your Dragon uses a superb combination of largescale puppetry, projections, animation, and live-action stunts to make it a fan favorite. The park-wide entertainment program is unique and differentiated, with an innovative approach to including top Chinese IPs such as League of Legends into the parade and Honor of Kings Heroes LIVE. The live entertainment is performed almost entirely by the cast in Chinese, and features prominently in the programming due to Chinese audience preference for live shows. In bespoke merchandise, the Minions have a highly successful line inspired by the 12 Chinese zodiacs. The Transformers More than Meets the Eye featuring Megatron has been a hit, with live interaction between the performer and Chinese guests, with a stand-up comedian approach that resonates well and has gone viral on Chinese social media. Overall, Universal Studios Beijing has made incredible effort to localize and cater to the Chinese audience from the theme park to CityWalk restaurants/F&B offerings including retail brands with more local appeal than international brands and successful e-commerce presence targeting the Chinese Gen-Z market. Universal Studios Beijing has also taken integration of technology to a new level with wide use of biometrics and facial recognition (AI) for entry (speed gates) and ticketing/payments providing a seamless experience (throughout the resort with Tencent as strategic technology partner making it a pioneer in the industry supported by 5G technology
How long did the project take to complete?
Almost 20 years in total
Behind the Scenes
There were so many memorable moments for our team, our vendors and our IP partners throughout the build of Universal Beijing Resort. This includes many of our Team Members unexpectedly having to spend over two years in China, away from their families, during Covid travel restrictions!