October 2021 marks the ten-year anniversary milestone of the first collaboration between Hollywood, CA-based Legacy Entertainment, and Seoul-based Lotte World, South “Korea’s # 1 theme park”. During the course of the past decade, Legacy and Lotte World have realised eight projects located at the site of the park together, driving park attendance from 5.8 million visitors in 2011 to a high of 7.6 million as of early 2020/pre-COVID.
Executives of both companies say that their unique creative partnership will be taken to the next level later this year upon the opening of Lotte World Adventure Busan – an all-new, 25-acre outdoor theme park located in the country’s second-most-populous city.
Yaeli Chung, Legacy Entertainment’s managing director of South Korea, reflects on the relationship: “Now in its 32nd year of operation, Lotte World is an icon of Korea. We are deeply honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to work closely with the Lotte World team to create attractions and experiences which have positively impacted the lives of millions of people every year.”
The portfolio of completed Legacy/Lotte World projects, which ranges from immersive themed lands to a groundbreaking nighttime spectacular, have helped to modernise the park, which first opened in 1989. Originally sporting an ‘International Theme’ popular of the era, with zones themed to England, France, and Spain, among others, Legacy, in its design, specifically aimed to create themed districts and experiences that are timeless, not relating to any specific timeframe or period.
The first such attraction, named ‘Jumping Fish’, debuted in 2012. Utilising Zamperla’s popular Flying Tigers ride system, Legacy helped elevate the experience by setting the attraction in a richly-detailed sea cave environment, complete with original characters and lighting effects. Following a successful launch, a new interactive media theater dubbed ‘Do You Speak Beluga?’ was quickly added adjacent to ‘Jumping Fish’, rounding out this new aquatic themed zone.
Nearby, the Legacy team transformed two S&S Frog Hoppers into an all-new experience themed to the popular Korean fairy tale of Brother Moon and Sister Sun. This immersive children’s attraction, named ‘Tall Tales’, was the first such attraction in the country based on traditional folklore.
Legacy and Lotte then set their sights on Lotte World’s basement level, aiming to expand the park’s capacity in the wake of growing attendance. Here, they first re-imagined the park’s ticketing zone into the ‘Lotte World Welcome Center’- an upscale arrival lobby more akin to a luxury hotel than a theme park. Inspired by the Korean folk tale of the Ogre’s Magic Club, the new ‘Underland’ themed district premiered in 2013, widely expanding the park’s food and beverage offerings while also serving as home to a Triotech XD Theater. Further expansions on this level included the ‘Fairy Trails’ land which is anchored by an elaborately-themed ABC Rides Mini Flume, and ‘Wild Tours’ immersive district home to Sega’s popular Wild Series simulators.
The largest and most-ambitious project to date at the flagship Seoul park was the 2014 debut of the ‘Let’s Dream!’ nighttime spectacular. Combining a light parade with a multimedia production, the nightly event featured many groundbreaking elements, including the largest fleet of drones ever utilized in a theme park, as well as the first use of hologram effects in a parade. Upon its debut, the production was hailed by theme park fan sites as the greatest light parade ever created, and directly led to a 2.8% boost in park attendance and a 35% increase in visitor length of stay.
The enduring partnership between Legacy and Lotte World will soon enter a new phase as the pinnacle of this collaboration, a full new Lotte World theme park in the southern city of Busan, is in the final stages of construction. Centered around the theme of a ‘magic forest’, the outdoor park will feature five themed zones filled with elaborately themed architecture, expansive garden displays, and anchored by world-class rides from Mack Rides, Zamperla, ABC Rides, and others.
“The collaborative achievements of the last decade at Lotte World have exceeded anything we could have possibly imagined back in 2011,” adds Ms. Chung. “I for one cannot wait to see what to see what the next decade holds.”