Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

Merlin develops new Midway format with DreamWorks

Merlin Entertainments is to bolster its presence in the British capital by adding a Shrek themed experience to its County Hall operation in London – the first of six planned outlets worldwide.

Debuting in 2015, Shrek’s Far Far Away Adventure is set to become the latest ‘Midway’ short stay attraction concept from the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator. The 2,000 square-metre walk-through experience, created in partnership with DreamWorks Animation, will be the first indoor Shrek themed facility of its kind. It also marks the first time that Merlin has worked with a Hollywood studio to create a branded entertainment experience based around an internationally known film franchise. After debuting the London attraction next summer, it plans to roll the format out to at least five further territories over the next nine years.

Featuring Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, Puss in Boots and other characters from the hit animated Shrek movies, Shrek’s Far Far Away Adventure will feature an all-new story written specially for the attraction. Guests will able to meet Shrek and his swamp friends, along with characters from other DreamWorks films including Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon. A rotating exhibit area supporting DreamWorks cinema and DVD releases will also be featured together with a branded retail outlet.

The outlet at County Hall will be featured as part of the Merlin’s South Bank cluster of attractions, which also includes the London Sea Life aquarium, London Dungeon, EDF Energy London Eye and 4D Experience. Elsewhere in the city, the company also operates the original Madame Tussauds celebrity waxwork attraction. Its Legoland Windsor, Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures resort theme parks are also within close reach of the capital.

Merlin has previously co-operated with DreamWorks on various Madagascar live shows at its parks in the UK, Germany and Italy. Larger, outdoor Shrek themed areas, together with other DreamWorks attractions, can already be found at Universal Studios Singapore and Dreamworld in Australia.

“Shrek is the biggest animated franchise of all time, and we are delighted that we are going to add Shrek’s Far Far Away Adventure to our portfolio of iconic international entertainment brands,” notes Merlin Entertainments chief executive Nick Varney. “Developing an attraction based on Shrek and his friends is hugely exciting for Merlin and the start of what we hope will be a wider collaboration with DreamWorks Animation.”

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