After completing my assignment at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Seuss Landing, I began consulting – mostly for Universal Creative. I worked on some unrealized projects, but I also worked on a project called Templo del Fuego for Universal Studios Port Aventura in Spain.
Finally, I was out of Fantasyland. Don’t get me wrong I truly enjoyed all of my work on the various projects in my career, but so many of them seemed to be Fantasyland in nature. Snoopy Studios, and Dr. Seuss are just more of the same kind of delightful whimsy that Fantasyland embodies. I can easily recreate these styles in such a way that it looks much like the work of Charles Shultz, Theodor Geisel, or many of the best Disney animators. But I can do more too.
Templo del Fuego gave me a chance to do that in a show that could be characterized as Backdraft in an Aztec tomb. The show would include all of the pyrotechnics of Backdraft in a mysterious archeological setting. Live actors would work within the environment to bring the show to life.
The tomb itself would be like none other. We used research from Aztec and Mayan architecture, but we also were looking for an otherworldly alien look to add in. The project was a huge challenge due to many restrictions. Still the team, under my leadership, managed to design both the interior show and façade in a very short span of time.
The lead art director and a production designer went on location to direct the final show.
This is the entrance to a small tomb. Beyond this point was the queue area, holding area, preshow, and main show in a huge themed show building. The whimsy is clearly missing this time.