In 2021, Falcon’s newest studio expansion: Falcon's X-Lab saw its first full year open to the public, and what an incredible year it was. The X-Lab, or our Experience Laboratory, welcomed clients, collaborators, and students to experience our immersive work firsthand in a fun and collaborative environment. This past year, we were delighted to host guests including Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who tried out our SpectraVerse system! We also had the amazing opportunity to offer tours to students from SCAD, UCF, and the DAVE School and provide them with a hands-on introduction to themed entertainment.
Falcon’s Beyond was formalized in May 2021 when leading attraction design & master-planning firm Falcon’s Creative Group united with themed-entertainment company Katmandu Group. The relentless pursuit of quality that Katmandu Group and Falcon’s Creative Group share has forged a special synergy between the two organizations. This powerful combination created the only fully integrated source for simultaneous entertainment IP activations—from streaming media development to theme park site acquisition; master planning to brick-and-mortar projects; immersive ride & attraction design to merchandise creation—right through world-class park & resort operation. Stay tuned for more exciting projects that will come out of this!
2021 was a very exciting year for all the new products we announced! In March 2021, we unveiled the ON!X™ Theater, another addition to our expanding list of patent and patent pending product offerings. This innovative attraction system combines action-based gameplay with responsive real-time feedback and dynamic special effects to reimagine the traditional 4D interactive theater experience. We also had the pleasure of introducing ÄEONXP™, a user-interfacing application that represents a first-of-its-kind in the themed entertainment industry.
Falcon’s and Mindshow, Inc., a Los Angeles-based CG animation production company, teamed up three times in 2021 to create children’s animated content for YouTube and Netflix.
We first collaborated on Mattel’s Enchantimals™: Sunny Savanna Sparkle Spectacular, followed by Enchantimals™: Meet the Royals. Part of the popular Enchantimals™ series, the Enchantimals are a group of lovable part-animal, part-human girls who share a special bond with their adorable animal friends called Besties. They live in an enchanting setting and work together to solve problems. These animated episodes can be streamed on YouTube.
The innovative companies teamed up again to produce A StoryBots Space Adventure, which premiered internationally on September 14, 2021. The Netflix Original Special was created as an educational tie-in to SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission, which launched the following day. The show blends traditional 2D animation with 3D animated content and live-action footage of the four Inspiriation4 crew members—Commander Jared Isaacman, Dr. Sian Proctor, Chris Sembroski, and Hayley Arceneaux.
In 2021, Falcon’s Beyond Global announced it would contract Falcon’s Creative Group for master planning, design, and digital media services to bring their partner intellectual properties to life. This collaboration will include the $350 million entertainment destination in Punta Cana, Katmandu™ theme park, set to open later this year. This will be the first theme park brought to life entirely through Falcon’s Creative Group’s services.
Cecil D. Magpuri became an adjunct instructor for the University of Central Florida in 2021! He teamed up with Peter Weishar, Program Director for UCF’s Themed Experience MS and MFA track, to bring a one-of-a-kind education to students in the Digital Environment Interaction and Design class. These master’s students were invited to Falcon’s X-Lab several times throughout the semester, where they learned to develop content in Unreal Engine 4. The group made great strides during their coursework, honing their skills in many areas.
In November 2021, we enjoyed a successful show at the IAAPA Expo, where we were thrilled to exhibit alongside fellow industry members after a year apart. Once more, we reconnected with friends and fostered new relationships in person. It was amazing to see the themed entertainment industry back together again. The energy on the floor was crackling! Being a part of various booths across the floor—Alcorn McBride, Oceaneering, and the Attractions Technology Coalition booth—was a big highlight for us. We also took the opportunity to interview special guests for our Experience Imagination® podcast episode, “Falcon’s IAAPA Special.” This was an incredible opportunity to discuss the event with industry professionals of different backgrounds and hear why they come out to IAAPA!
In 2021, National Geographic Museum’s Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Dr. Jane Goodall continued to receive recognition for the groundbreaking exhibition. It won the IAAPA Brass Ring Award for Best New Product, Exhibitions as well as the TEA Outstanding Achievement Award. The exhibit had also previously been recognized as an overall award winner by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) as part of the AAM’s 32nd Annual Excellence in Exhibition Competition.
It was wonderful to receive this kind recognition, especially on a project so close to our hearts due to its mission to educate and positively impact our world. This exhibition also brought the debut of our Falcon’s Vision product, an augmented reality headset custom-designed for location-based entertainment. This product empowers users to interact and engage with virtual objects integrated into the real world. We anticipate its use in future experiences!
We are always honored to contribute to socially and environmentally conscious projects. In 2021, we had the pleasure of working with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. On this project we designed and produced “Gorilla Chat,” a fun, unique, and educational interactive that teaches humans how to speak like a mountain gorilla.
We were also beyond thrilled to see Gorilla Chat featured in a segment on 60 Minutes, that highlighted all the outstanding work the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and its President and CEO/Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Tara Stoinski, are doing in Rwanda. We enjoyed every moment of our collaboration with Tara and her amazingly dedicated team.
Additionally, we had the pleasure of welcoming Tara to a recent episode of Experience Imagination®, where she explained the goal of the new exhibition. “What we really wanted to do was show the connections between people and gorillas,” she said. “That was one of the big things we focused on for Gorilla Chat, picking vocalizations that gorillas do that have very similar meanings to vocalizations that we do, so people can see the similarities between us and gorillas.”
At Falcon’s Creative Group, we value opportunities to give back to the community, especially for organizations so close to home. We had the chance to donate a very special Falcon’s Christmas tree to Give Kids The World in support of their Night of a Million Lights event. Our team took pleasure in decorating the tree and getting a tour of the GKTW Village to learn more about all the incredible work they do.