Posted by & filed under Articles.

10634095_10152761360794333_5257936513429395841_oToday is a milestone day in the history of theme parks, as at this very moment our Founder & Chairman, Gary Goddard, is in Riviera Maya, Mexico announcing our most incredible project to date- the world’s first CIRQUE DU SOLEIL THEME PARK RESORT.

This unprecedented collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, the Goddard Group, and Grupo Vidanta will be unlike anything else the world has seen before.

To get all the latest news, LIKE the official Goddard Group Facebook page!


Posted by & filed under Articles.

Never-before-seen McQuarrie Rendering as created for a planned Universal Studios Attraction.  Why has no one ever heard of this before?  Why has no one seen this artwork before?  Read on for answers.

Ralph McQuarrie’s Concept Rendering for the 007 JAMES BOND ACTION SPECTACULAR planned for Universal Studios Florida.


From the GGE Files:

While going through some older files at GGE we came across something very unique – an original rendering by Ralph McQuarrie for a James Bond project.  We researched it and found that in late 1986 Gary Goddard was engaged by Universal Studios to create four major new attraction concepts for the planned UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA project which was being developed at MCA. Among the four projects one was to be a Live Action Stunt Show based upon the JAMES BOND motion picture franchise.  Goddard envisioned a show that would be a spectacular stunt show, while also being a tribute and homage to the Bond films. Once he had the basic idea roughed out he called Ralph (whom he had brought on previously to work with him on the MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE motion picture) to create a conceptual rendering for the project.  Here’s Gary Goddard speaking on the collaboration:

 “I had worked with Ralph in 1986 I believe —  for three weeks when he had a break from COCOON —  on the MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE motion picture.  When Universal called us to take on several projects, one of them being this James Bond Action show, I immediately thought it would be great if Ralph could come on board with us.  I called Ralph and explained what we were doing, and when he heard it was James Bond he said “sounds like fun” –  though he noted he hadn’t really done a live stage show before.  I told him not to worry –  that I would talk him through it – and that at this point we wanted a grand conceptual rendering for the show we were creating and that details would come later.  I met with him and took him through the major beats of the show and set up the finale scene which is where I wanted him to focus.  In the illustration several things have happened by this time – all setting up the grand finale:  The Giant Circular Roof has opened, the massive hangar doors have parted – revealing the nuclear warhead missiles – one of which is moving onto the gantry for launching, and the massive submarine has surfaced. In addition, Bond’s most memorable villains are gathered (via the multiple screens) to watch both his demise and the launch of the nuclear warhead that will put the two super-powers at their mercy.  I wanted Ralph to capture the live audience, seated before a massive set that would bring to mind the greatest Bond films.  He managed to do it – in one rendering –  he managed to convey the size, scale, feeling and overall spectacular nature of the show that we were proposing. He also got in the huge circular opening above, the massive indoor lagoon and submarine, the missiles and gantry, and the screens with the classic villains.  And he got the live audience in too.   The great thing is that when anyone sees the rendering they immediately know that it’s something to do with James Bond.  The rendering communicates JAMES BOND. He was able to capture that “Bond” feeling and the sense of the Bond movie mis-en-scene in one rendering.  Ralph was amazing in his ability to stage, design, and light a scene in a way that would bring it to life for the viewer. I think this particular piece is among his best works – it’s really inspired.”

 From the Concept Presentation Treatment (February 2, 1987)

The production is envisioned as a spectacular tribute to the classic series of James Bond motion pictures as produced by Albert R. Broccoli starting in 1962. The production will be a fast-paced action show featuring a wide array of large scale stunts, pyrotechnics and unique special effects.  Live performers will present the best elements associated with the James Bond films in a fifteen-minute show filled with technological wonders, grand-scale explosions, high-tech transformations, and of course, humor; all the trademarks of the James Bond films. The attraction will include such essential Bond elements as: an exciting chase, Bond seducing the “bad girl” to such a degree that she turns around and helps him later, a collection of super-strong villains and their even stronger henchmen, a countdown which must be stopped (in order to save the world), and a finale sequence with surprise “sting” at the end – just when you think Bond is safe from danger, the final trap is unleashed.  The 007 JAMES BOND ACTION SPECTACULAR will give audiences a large scale, fast-paced adventure alongside James Bond in an epic production that promises to be a “main event” at the new Universal Studio Tour in Florida.

All New Let’s Dream! Nighttime Spectacular Premiers at Lotte World

Posted by & filed under Articles.


On July 1st we unveiled our all-new LET’S DREAM! nighttime spectacular at South Korea’s 롯데월드 (lotteworld).

To begin this amazing show LET’S DREAM! incorporates an amazing aerial lantern show. The Lanterns, taking on a life of their own, move through the air performing and arranging themselves in various aerial formations.


Lantern Bike and A flying Magic Lantern


A Lantern Dancer and Lantern Bike


Choreographed Flying Lanterns


The Dream Castle

LET’S DREAM!  then guides park guests on a magical journey to an enchanting world where dreams come to life in ways never before imagined. Today we offer an extensive look at the amazing props, costumes and floats made just for the parade- each one inspired by 롯데월드 (lotteworld)‘s park, characters, and attractions.


The Dream Master


Dreams Of The Deep


Dreams Of Adventure


Dreams Of Daring


Dark Dreams


Dreams Of A Bright Tomorrow


Lotte World Let’s Dream!! Epic Indoor Fireworks Finale



Posted by & filed under Articles.

“This is the day I recorded the track for “Oh What A Beautiful Morning” for Broadway 4D. Cool venture. More to come…”

Three weeks ago, scaffolding came down on 42nd Street revealing the magnificent exterior of The Times Square Theatre on 42nd Street, the home of BROADWAY 4D, our latest and most spectacular new production.  Construction is now beginning and within a year the theatre (built in 1920) will be restored and enhanced in a way that brings back its original splendor, while also transforming it into a true “theatre of the 21st Century”.  At the same time, as the project prepares to move into production, pre-recording has begun for the musical numbers that will form the heart of the show. Hugh Jackman recently posted this Instagram image and comment following his pre-record date at a studio in New York.  Company founder Gary Goddard is in New York working with an amazing team of designers, producers, choreographers and performers.  More details to come in the weeks and months ahead.

The Story of the Great Unbuilt WIZARD OF OZ Theme Park, as told by the Park’s Creator; Gary Goddard – Part 4

Posted by & filed under Articles.


Home of the Wicked Witch of the West

This was to be the perfect place for Teens and Young Adults; the ultimate “thrill ride” and “scary place” for those who look for that kind of thing.  We thought this was the perfect way to create a “land” where younger children would intuitively wait to visit, not wanting to journey into the deep and dark forest the Wicked Witch calls home.  Strange sounds emanate from the forest at all hours, mixing in with the screams and shouts of those brave enough to ride with the Winged Monkeys or to traverse the River of Doom.


THE BROTHERS HILDEBRANDT did a fantastic job of catching the “dark and foreboding look” that we wanted for this land.  The idea was that the entire “ LAND IN THE WEST” was always dark and scary.  Signs (as in the motion picture) would encourage you to keep away.  “I’D TURN BACK IF I WERE YOU” and “STAY OUT – THIS MEANS YOU!” would be among the many such warning signs.  The continual darkness was due to the fact that were going to place an immense and very high “shade roof” (or series of roofs) over the entire land so that sunlight would not penetrate.  Since you are journeying “deep into the forest” we would stage the trees in front to hide the roof top above, while having the trees get thicker and thicker, blocking any view of the roof as you journey into the Land of the Wicked Witch.  Young children would natural resist going to this “land” because of the way we set up the approach. In addition to providing a controlled lighting situation by day and by night, the hidden rooftop also giving us a land where hot days, rainy days, and even snowy days, would not penetrate our deep and dark forest.


The journey itself would have you passing by and over “The River of Doom”, while you would hear and see glimpses of the “Winged Monkey” hanging coaster as people zipped through the thick woodlands.  Ahead, as you started the journey, was the Witches Castle built in forced perspective. You would lose sight of it once you were in the forest itself of course, so that by the time you arrived in the courtyard, the scale would match what you imagined it would when you first caught glimpse of it at the forest’s edge.


Along the way there would interactive experiences as well – most of them smaller mini-events, but little show areas one could discover if you went a bit “off the beaten path.”  If you followed the signs that say “THIS WAY” and “THAT WAY” all of them take you into a short circuitous route that leads you back to where you started. The “Well of Echoes” would echo back your voice, but in a distorted and evil way.  An overlook allowed you to see in a dark grotto where the River Of Doom rafts would spin by. The “Changing of the Guards” was an almost continuous show with the famous “Oh-EE-Oh, Oh-EEEE-Oh” song/chant going on as you would pass into the Castle.


THE CASTLE COURTYARD provides a “center meeting place” from which all of the rides and shows within THE HAUNTED FOREST would start and end.  The Courtyard also had a “GALLOWS STAGE” at the center which would be where the WINKEE GUARD show would take place.


THE RIVER OF DOOM was a major water ride that would depart from a Dark Grotto below the Castle, taking guests on a journey into the Realm of the Gnome King.  Our idea was to create a “show” of sorts in the world of the Gnome King, with evil Gnomes out to get us, and with several “traps” set to do us in.  Ultimately the River leads us into the Haunted Forest and moves through it and finally back into the Castle, spinning through a rapids area that forms a moat around the Castle.


THE WINGED MONKEY ride departed from this upper level in the Castle, where each guest would appear inside the LARGE CRYSTAL BALL that the Wicked Witch observes as she sends her Flying Monkeys (and you) out on the mission to find Dorothy and her companions.


After launching from the Chamber of the Wicked Witch, riders would shoot high into the air, following projected images of seemingly hundreds of Winged Monkeys as they are taking flight. THE WINGED MONKEY Hanging Coaster would depart from the Witches Castle at a higher level, and proceed up even higher before rushing headlong into the Haunted Forest where it would whip through trees, fly over the River of Doom, and cascade through and above the higher walls and turrets of the Castle.


This Elevation of the Wicked Witches Castle gives a pretty good idea of how the overall structure would work, though the “shed roof top” is not really pictured here.

20_Glinda Logo


Home of The Good Witch of the North

Since Glinda the Good Witch was from the North, and because L. Frank Baum had written about Santa Clause and even suggested a tie to the World of Oz, we decided to run with the idea of the North being “Snow Country” – a world where Ice and Snow are found all year.  The idea was this would be a great place in Summer and Spring, but during the cold Kansas Winter, Ice and Show festivals could take place here as well.  We don’t find the snow, we celebrate it with a Christmas Village, with a year-round Santa Clause connection, and with a celebration set in a Winter Wonderland.


THE CASTLE OF GLINDA was to be a shining Castle of Ice that could be seen high above the colorful storybook village below.  We imagined the Northern Area as one where artisans, artists, inventors and toy makers all lived and worked in a small and delightful Village.  The land was watched over and protected by Glinda’s goodness.


Because Santa Claus was a character that L. Frank Baum wrote about, and because he even suggested a connection to OZ, we thought why not bring this to the North Country?  So SANTA’S WORKSHOP was found not far from the Castle of Ice, and guests would find Santa there day and night, ready and willing to listen to Children and to take their wish lists for Christmas as well.  A small dark ride was to be part of this area; a ride through Santa’s Workshop where hundreds of elves were at work on toys, dolls, and everything else a child imagines Santa’s Workshop to be.



We found this amazing set of storyboard panels that represents some our first work on creating what was to be “THE EMERALD CITY AIRSHIPS” and their Journey Over Oz.  (You can read more about this attraction and see a magnificent Greg Pro rendering for this attraction in the prior Part 3 of this series of postings on OZ.)

Bill Stout created these initial ideas based upon a storyline we were starting to develop.  The idea of this ride was to get BEYOND the borders of OZ that we know from the classic MGM movie.  In our airship, we wanted to leave the Emerald City, cross OVER Munchinland and the Haunted Forest, and then discover mountain ranges, and harbors, and fantastic “worlds” of OZ that have never been seen before.  Ultimately the Wicked Witch is after us, and the Winged Monkeys are sent to force us to land in the Castle of the Wicked Witch, but Glinda and others arrive in time to help us to escape and return home.  But I think you can glimpse from these storyboard panels just how fantastic this Aerial Adventure in OZ was going to be.



The Cowardly Lions’ “SHOW OF COURAGE” Ride was planned as part of YELLOW BRICK COUNTRY (previously covered in Part 2 of this 4 Part series on The Wonderful World of OZ”) and was to be a fast paced dark ride for young kids and their parents.  The building was designed as something from another era,  built from stone and wood, and nestled into the woods, once could presume these “ruins” night be where a Pride of Lions might reside.



We also just found this concept rendering for the resort hotel that was to be built in Phase one of the project.  THE EMERALD CITY HOTEL was to be a four of five star family hotel, built on property and connected to the park by THE EMERALD CITY MONORAIL allowing guests instant access to and from the park.  We will have to save further details of the resort for a future posting.


THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF OZ was a crowning achievement for all of us who worked on it. It was created at the height of Landmark Entertainment Group’s (the company I founded prior to Goddard Group) growing success.  At this time we were developing, designing, and producing projects that included TERMINATOR 2/3D, JURASSIC PARK: THE RIDE, CAESARS MAGIAL EMPIRE, early concepts and planning for ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE for Universal Studios (including creating The Adventures of Spider-Man Ride among many other iconic attractions there).  We had developed an amazing team of talent that included Greg Pro, Eric Heschong, Chuck Canciller, Wes Cook, Chris Smith, Greg Damron, David Thornton, Barry Kemper, Anthony Esparza, Richard Hoag, Robert DeLapp, Joe DeMeis, and we had outside artists that included the likes of Bill Stout, the Hildebrandt Brothers, Dan Gozee, and many more, all working on this project.

It was a project that had a lot of love, heart, and dedication in it.  Everyone that worked on it really believed in it.  And you can see the seeds for so many other rides and attractions that came to be elsewhere long after we invented the ideas here. The project was one that Harrison “Buzz” Price declared was “the best theme park design I have seen since Walt Disney show me Disneyland” which is about as good as you can get.  The project was a dream come true for those of us working on it, and as you can see, it got pretty far down the road.  (There are actually complete sets of architectural plans, sections, elevations for about 80% of the project completed. Perhaps we’ll put a few of those up at some later date.)

Kansas City wanted it, but there was a faction of people who didn’t want it – the typical “we hate anything new” types.  And while the project had the support of the Mayor and Governor and local businesses – even the School System and so many others.  Ultimately, in a vote by the City Council, the project was killed by one vote.  (Of course there is more to the story than this, however, in the end it really did come down to this particular committee and this particular group of people who were voting on it.) One woman who was determined to see the project not come to life.  A true “wicked witch” who was able – with her deciding vote — to stop this incredible project from happening.  I tried throwing water on her but she didn’t melt.  Too bad. (I would name her,  – but she might put a hex on me.)

So of the many projects that are created and then never realized, this one I believe is at the top of the ‘what could’ve been” pile of great ideas that have not happened. I still hope that one day, in a friendlier – and perhaps more progressive place than Kansas —  this great project will yet be brought to life.  It is the one park that I believe, if it’s in the right location, and if it’s built and operated at a level of service and quality equal to Disney, that could become a classic Destination Resort with all the drawing power of the best Disney and Universal parks.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

The Story of the Great Unbuilt WIZARD OF OZ Theme Park, as told by the Park’s Creator; Gary Goddard – Part 3

Posted by & filed under Articles.


This is part 3 of 4 covering the Wonderful World of OZ Project. In this post we are covering The Emerald City which was the largest of the lands and contained some of the most exciting and innovative rides and shows.

1_The Emerald City Logo


At the center of THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF OZ is the shining EMERALD CITY, an incredible destination that features three major “E Ticket” attractions and a host of other shops, cafes and unique smaller attractions. As envisioned by our team, The EMERALD CITY was created to be the true “heart” of the entire theme park. Following are some of the renderings of the overall architectural design along with some of the key attractions.

2_Emerald City Enterance


Taking inspiration from the iconic Emerald City design from the motion picture, we elected to keep the same basic “massing” and the rounded green towers. But realizing that people would be coming to this Emerald City and seeing it up close, we knew we had to deliver on the emotional connection one made with the movie. So, consistent with the original book’s description, to the Emerald Green towers we added a lacework of gold decorative trim, in a nouveau styling, thereby adding another layer of shape and beauty to eternal wonder of The Emerald City.

3_Emerald City Gardens_Magical Wizard Works


This view shows The Emerald City at night but from the other side of the main entrance. This is where the Emerald City Towers open up into a courtyard of architectural beauty set amidst an amazing garden of — what else — green trees and green plants carefully staged and landscaped to create a magical sense of place.

4_Emerlad City Courtyard


A series of grand gazebos, follies and other architectural elements arc out from the Towers, creating a grand plaza and promenade that is home some of the best if the OZ restaurants, cafes, shops and boutiques. There was an idea that everyone entering The Emerald City would have to don the Green Tinted Glasses that were required of Emerald City residents and visitors. Without a doubt, all of the uniformed “cast” would be wearing the green glasses as part of their costumes. A special feature in the restaurants was to be the “green lemonade” mentioned in the original story by L. Frank Baum.

5_Imperial Wonders

An Audience with The Wizard of Oz

In this “E Ticket” attraction, live actors combine with 3D film, 4D physical effects, and elements taken directly from the original motion picture as well. All of this was to create a tale that would allow us to bring together “live” the characters from the movie, while adding the Nome King from the books, to create a spectacular show that reunited all the characters in an immersive world that allowed each guests to enter the Great Hall of the Wizard himself.

6_The Great Rotundra


Upon entering the EMERALD CITY TOWERS the Great Rotunda was a massive gathering place that had a number of key elements within its circular walls. The LANDING PORT for Professor Marvel’s Balloon Ride (found in Old Kansas) is seen here on an upper level. Guests can board here for a trip to Old Kansas if they so choose even as others are arriving from Professor Marvel’s Carnival. Also on the upper level is the HORSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOR CAROUSEL. At the ground level, the Grand Entry to THE IMPERIAL 3D WONDER SHOW can be seen, along with several other shops, boutiques and restaurants. Green Lemonade is served here along with Green Snow Cones, Green Apple Cider and Green Tea.

7_Aerial Adventures In OZ


The other incredible E Ticket attraction found in the Emerald City is the incredible AERIAL ADVENTURES OVER OZ attraction. In this amazing ride, guests would board an Imperial OZ Airship through the Emerald City Global Tour Company. A way to “to see Oz in a delightful, safe, and refreshing way.” (Of course, one must be careful of The Wicked Witch and of her Army of Winged Monkeys.) Designed as a massive simulator set within massive domed project environment, guest would see OZ from the air and enjoy some incredible sights. But midway through, the Wicked Witch appears in the sky and skywrites the words “SURRENDER DOROTHY” after which her Winged Monkeys lead us on a dangerous aerial chase, almost capturing us and bringing us into the Witches Castle. But as one might expect we escape, and finally make our way back to The Emerald City.



No city is complete without public transportation and The Emerald City is no exception. In fact, THE EMERALD CITY EXPRESS was designed as the “fastest, smoothest, highest, steepest” form of public transportation ever seen. Moving above, under, and through the Emerald City, this amazing launch coaster was to be one of the most amazing combinations of thrill coaster and show coaster, adding a level of constant animation to Emerald City as well.

In case you missed anything don’t forget to check out Part 1 and Part 2 and join us next week for Part 4 of our look at The Great unbuilt Wonderful World of Oz Theme Park.

Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at the Goddard Group!!

The Story of the Great Unbuilt WIZARD OF OZ Theme Park, as told by the Park’s Creator; Gary Goddard – Part 2

Posted by & filed under Articles.

8_MuchkinLand Logo

Munchkinland Logo


Home of the Munchkins and the beginning of Yellow Brick Road.

10_Munchkin Plaza

This incredible rendering by The Hildebrandts provided the overall creative direction for this unique land, where everything was to be designed for Munchkins (or on our case young children) with “special accommodations for taller visitors” (parents). A very unique “land” for a theme park.

The “E Ticket” here was “Dorothy’s Adventures in Oz” a ride that would allow guests (those who knew the story and those who might not) on a wonderful ride through the environments from the movie. Within the ride the original cast of the movie would “come to life” (through Peppers Ghost technology) to provide a compelling new way of experiencing the most memorable scenes from the beloved movie.

12_Dorthy's Adventures in OZ

DOROTHY’S ADVENTURES IN OZ was a most unique concept for a dark ride. Using advanced “peppers ghost” technology, the ride would make use of actual scenes from the film, carefully selected and adjusted to work within the sets that were built dimensionally. Guests followed Dorothy on her journey to the Emerald City, with the original stars and all the classic songs that are so much a part of our cultural consciousness. (Rendering by Eddie Martinez)

This ride would allow you to journey alongside Dorothy, Toto, The Tin Man, The Scarecrow and the Lion, reliving the movie in an entirely new and completely immersive way.  In addition, there were a number of family rides, family restaurants, and stores that were all scaled down to “Munchkin Size” meaning that it was great for kids, but parents and larger folks would have to adapt to the kid-scale universe.

11_Munchkin Park

A Children’s Play area was planned that would include a Muchkin Tree House, simple flat rides themed around nature, and host of interactive play elements as well.

13_Munch INN

The Munchkin Café was uniquely suited to children, with furniture and counters scaled to Munchkin size. Behind the counter salespeople actually worked on floor that was about three feet lower than the Café floor so that they were eye to eye with Children when ordering. Parents would have to sit on smaller chairs and “make do” with the pint-sized world. And all the food was served in smaller “slider” style portions.

14_Yellow Brick Country Logo

YELLOW BRICK COUNTRY was the collective name we gave to the part of OZ where Dorothy meets The Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. The area included a number of exciting thrill rides, colorful family shows, and entertaining dark rides.

Yellow Brick Country

Home of the Scarecrow, Tin-Man, and Cowardly Lion.

18_Tinsmith's Village

THE CLOCKWORK VILLAGE was an imagined place that might have been created by the very same man who invented and built the Tin Man. With clockwork mechanical elements throughout, the little village offered unique retail and restaurant experiences.

This area includes the Cornfield Maze, the Apple Orchard, and Forest where Dorothy meets the Scarecrow, the Tin-Man, and the Cowardly Lion. “E Tickets” here included The Cornfield Maze and the Scarecrow’s Stage. The Scarecrow’s Stage would magically “appear” when an area of high growing cornstalks would lower to reveal the stage where the Scarecrow and his pals would perform in a musical show.  There was also The Tin Man’s Log Flume Ride, and the Cowardly Lion’s Show of Courage – a dark ride where everything seems “scary” as you approach it, but right afterward, it is revealed that there was nothing to be scared of after all.

19_The Cowardly Lino's Show Of Courage

The Cowardly Lion’s “SHOW OF COURAGE” Ride provides a unique experience through a series of scenes that are as first viewed “scary” but, when seen from the other side, turn out to be “not so scary after all”. Riders get a “Badge of Courage” at the ride’s end to prove to one and all they had the courage to brave their fears.

17_The Great Sawhorese Derby

THE GREAT SAWHORSE RACE comes from one of the many OZ stories written by L. Frank Baum and realizes this character in an exciting “Steeplechase Ride” unique to Oz.

16_Corn Row Theater

THE SCARECROW SHOW, performed on a stage that is hidden within the great cornfield (and is revealed when a wall of giant cornstalks lower to allow visitors in), is a musical stage featuring The Scarecrow and a group of his many other Scarecrow friends.

Join us next week for part 3 and if you enjoyed part 2 don’t forget to check out part 1 of the amazing story of the unbuilt OZ Theme Park.


The Story of the Great Unbuilt WIZARD OF OZ Theme Park, as told by the Park’s Creator; Gary Goddard – Part 1

Posted by & filed under Articles.

2_Nice_1 Grand Enterance copy

THE GATEWAY TO THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF OZ was envisioned as an Emerald City-inspired transition from the real world to the park. Taking the Art Nouveau/Art Deco styling of the Emerald City as presented in the MGM Motion Picture, we create a series of transitional “arches” that provided both ticketing and entry. At the center of it all was a tribute to the beloved characters known throughout the world, not only setting the tone for the adventure ahead, but providing guests with an iconic image for their first ‘photo op’ of the day.


THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF OZ was a dream project. When starting out in 1996, we knew we had a classic property that could rival Disney and Universal as a top theme park and destination resort if done correctly (or at least a close second or third.) But we were striving to make it the number one family destination theme park in the country when starting with out with our concept and planning development. In my opinion, the work we did for THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF OZ was every bit as good as anything ever done at Disney or Universal. We were creating new concepts that had never been seen before, all based around the heart and soul of the “The Wonderful World of Oz” as it was portrayed in the incredible MGM motion picture.


BIRDSEYE RENDERING OF THE PARK; This rendering (by Wes Cook) show the park as it was conceived with OLD KANSAS at the gateway leading to THE WORLD OF OZ and its many lands: Muchkinland (home of the Munchkins), Yellow Brick Country (home of The Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and The Cowardly Lion), The Haunted Forest (home of The Wicked Witch of the West), The Northern Kingdom (Home of Glinda, the Witch of the North), and at the center of it all The Emerald City itself.

To be clear, we had the rights to the motion picture, so we would be able to create “The Wonderful World of OZ” as multiple generations had come to know it through that remarkable movie.  And we had the approval of the L. Frank Baum estate to incorporate other elements of Oz where it made sense. To do the project justice, we assembled the most incredible team of designers and artists, all of which had worked with me on a wide variety of Gary Goddard Productions (GGP) and Landmark Entertainment Group (LEG) projects.

Our conceptual design team was made up of the best people in the industry. Comprised of many in-house Landmark employees and others brought on to supplement the team. We started down two paths: show design and master planning, both moving in parallel directions, but with show design leading the way. We had an amazing show design team at Landmark back then, including Wes Cook, Luc Mayrand, Robert DeLapp, Richard Hoag, Anthony Esparza, and Ty Granaroli.  To add to the visual team we brought in powerhouse talent that included William Stout and the Hilldebrandts, as well as Disney veterans Dan Gozee, Eddie Martinez and John Horny.  In-house at LEG we had illustrators Greg Pro and Eric Heschong, (this was prior to either of them doing any work for Disney or Universal), and several other illustrators on board. On the master planning side, we had Chuck Canciller, Mac MacElrevey, and Greg Damron, of which Greg wound up leading the planning effort.


MASTER PLAN OF THE PARK: This final version of the original park plan was created by Greg Damron and is the result of many teams of show designers, architects, planners and producers. While the park allows guests to move in multiple ways through the park, “The Yellow Brick Road” provides guests a way to journey through the park in the same sequence that Dorothy followed on her fateful journey to the Emerald City and beyond to the Witch’s Castle as well.

Once we had our initial concept and master plan we presented it to a number of people. At one point, Harrison  “Buzz”  Price was brought into see the project and to render his professional opinion on whether it would make the grade or not. (Price is the legendary feasibility maven who originally helped to get Disneyland financed and then went on to form ERA, working on hundreds, if not thousands, of projects thereafter – he is considered one of the Deans of the Theme Park Industry.) Well, Price saw our concept presentation and told the financiers, “I have seen everything that has come down the pike since Disneyland and, without a doubt, this is the best project I have ever seen since. This is a winner.”

There’s no question that we had a winning team, a wining concept, and a remarkable project.  In fact, at the end of the day, the only problem with it was that the development team had selected Kansas as the location for the project.  On the surface, there were a lot of compelling reasons: a large military base that had closed which offered thousands of acres, centrally located in the middle of America, and of course, the entire Oz story started and ended in Kansas.  But what no one on the development side really understood was the power of the Kansas City politicians. While a lot of Kansas residents and groups were for the project, there was a small group of backward thinking politicians who did everything they could to kill the project. Ultimately, the small-minded politicians “won” and were able to kill the project by having one vote more than those who were for it. Of course, there was a lot that went on between the start of the project and that fateful day. We’re here to take a look at the project itself and what might have been:


OLD KANSAS introduces guests to the world Dorothy knew before she journeyed “over the rainbow” to OZ. In our version the concept, different from Disneyland’s Main Street, was to create a pastel toned version of a period main street, foregoing bright colors for a more sepia-toned “realistic version” of early 1900’s Kansas street. We wanted to have the same kind of effect as the movie, keeping the bright colors for “The World of OZ” itself. (Design drawing by Chuck Canciller, illustration by Eric Heschon)

Old Kansas

This included our own sepia-toned version of a typical Kansas City Street of the era.  Unlike Disneyland’s “Main Street” it would not be overly colorful (though it would have some color of course, but more pastel and “realistic” rather than the idealized version at the Disney parks.) In that sense, this would be much more like motion picture set of a classic retail street of the time. (For the same reason as in the movie, we wanted the bright colors of Oz to surprise you as you came around the end of the street.) At the end of the street, guests had an option of going one of three ways:To the left was Professor Marvel’s Traveling Carnival where a variety of family rides and pitch games could be found along with Professor Marvel’s Wagon, and his “Balloon Ride” that would take you to The Emerald City should you decide to board.


PROFESSOR MARVEL’S TRAVELING CARNIVAL was a unique feature of our “Old Kansas” area, providing guests with games of skill, themed iron rides, and simple mid-western food fare as well, all of this themed around Professor Marvel and his traveling wagon. Also, as one way to enter “OZ” guests could board Professor’s Marvels GREAT BALLOON RIDE and be carried by the winds to The Emerald City. (Illustration by Guy Deel)

To the right – down the road a piece – was The Gale Farmhouse featuring a “tour” of Dorothy Gale’s home.  But if you take the tour, you’d probably wind up being caught up in a terrible twister and after you’re flown through the air, and see the infamous Wicked Witch transformation out the window, you’d finally land safely on the ground once more.  Walking out the way you came in except, you’re in Munchkinland! The very place where Dorothy’s house dropped her ages ago.


THE GALE FARMHOUSE provided yet another way to get to OZ. The Gale Family had set up an “open house” for visitors to tour the home that Dorothy had imagined was carried away by a big Twister. During the “tour” a TWISTER approaches and guests are told “to find a seat” and to “strap in” and within moments the entire house is lifted into the air and carried on a journey through the storm tossed skies. When the storm leaves, guests exit to find themselves in Munchkinland. (Design drawing by Chuck Canciller, illustration by Greg Pro)

Or, if you would rather get right to Oz, you only have to walk straight ahead to the colorful Rainbow Bridge.  Here you can walk  “Over the Rainbow” to find yourself in Munchkinland, ready to begin your journey through Oz.

Once in The Wonderful World of OZ, while you can explore the Oz Territories at your own pace, in your own way, or you can also choose to “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”, just as Dorothy once did, and in so doing, your adventure will follow the unfolding series of events in much the same order of events that Dorothy experienced them.


MUNCHKINLAND was a faithful recreation of the Land in which Dorothy found herself, and from where she started her journey down The Yellow Brick Road. (Design Rendering by The Hildebrandts)

The park itself was a reflection of the World of Oz with a host of memorable areas from the movie, and with new places to discover and explore which were culled from the books.  Over the next month we’ll journey into the park and discover its key attractions. Check back next week as we venture into Munchkinland and Yellow Brick Country!


GGE Blog Revival: Chiodo Brothers

Posted by & filed under Articles.

When the idea came up to relaunch the GGE blog, the most important thing was finding an idea or project that would really make people excited. Looking back through the archives at GGE, I came upon some interesting designs and artwork by the CHIODO BROTHERS (known today for films that include TEAM AMERICA, KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE, and DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS among others) and I was intrigued.  Looking into it more, Gary Goddard found a few drawings and spoke about the Chiodos and asked that I get in touch with Robert DeLapp as well. Robert works with GGE today in Show Design, but was also a part of the original Gary Goddard Productions team in the early 80s’.  Robert was able to provide some great information on how Gary and the team made use of the unique skills of the Chiodo Brothers on several projects in the early days — I’m pleased to pass that along here on our site.


Conan Dragon Sculpture by the Chiodo Brothers

Gary Goddard:


Charlie and Steve (Chiodo) are amazing talents and they made some great contributions to a number of our early projects.  I think the first one was the CONAN SHOW that we did for Universal.  We had the conceptual drawings for our dragon which were done by Claudio Mazzoli (a designer that Gary first met while working at Disney Imagineering), but we need a maquette that would bring the dragon to life in a way that the animatronic engineers could begin to understand.
We were looking for someone who could really bring our dragon – a fire-breathing dragon to life – with a sense of design that would be original to our shows, yet pay tribute to the world of Conan as envisioned by Frank Frazetta in his many CONAN illustrations.  Someone in our small model shop mentioned Charlie Chiodo and noted he was new in town but was a very good sculptor. We met, and after seeing his portfolio of work, we gave him the assignment, and he really delivered.  I believe we gave the Chiodo Brothers their first job after their arrival in L.A., and it was the start of a long and positive working relationship.

Robert DeLapp:

In the early 80’s, among the many veteran and legendary artists that worked on Landmark projects, new talent would constantly emerge and come knocking. Among them were Steve and Charlie Chiodo, (Ed Chiodo, I believe was still living back east, not yet old enough to make the move to the west coast), but Steve and Charlie were very creative talents .

Their first commission/assignment (according to Gary) was the 19” sculpture of the dragon “Ashley” for the live Universal Studio’s show Conan. Their unique style and love for the genre was a perfect complement to the company as we did not have any creature designers on staff at the time. Excited by their work we looked into each new project with an eye toward including their unique style. I remember Gary saying to me, “We should lock these guys up, they get it!”


“Ghostbusters Live Spooktacular” at Universal Studio’s Florida

A few years later we began work on Universal Studios Florida where we designed several attractions and were awarded a turn-key contract to design and produce “Ghostbusters Live Spooktacular”.

Ghost_4 Ghost_3










Ghost_2Trying our best to stay true to Ivan Reitman’s film, we re-created the rooftop set from the finale of the original movie which meant our stage was 100 feet across. We found that the original designs and details for the ghosts were getting lost in our mock-ups. The original designs were tossed out and we once again turned to the Chiodos. Charlie stepped in, at virtually the eleventh hour, while deeply involved with “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” and designed our entire cast of spooks, minus Slimer and the Terror Dogs.
One other thing that I remember — Many times in the company’s history, individuals, or groups of individuals, asked to set-up shop or utilize the company’s facilities for projects or start-ups and Gary was always willing to assist young film makers. The Chiodo Brothers were one of these groups and they used Landmark’s offices to start-up and cast “Killer Klowns from Outer Space”, hence, we got our Jack-in-the-box for Ghostbusters.


Jurassic Park map

Dino_1One of the last projects I remember working with the Chiodo Brothers was while we were designing “Jurassic Park – The Ride” for Universal Studios and Steven Speilberg.Dino_3
Dinosaurs? Again “Who ya gonna call?” This time we needed someone to design dinosaurs that would fit our staging and design concepts – getting the poses and attitude right to convey the story intent for each of the many scenes.  Charlie came in and we walked him through the storyboards and plans, and Gary and he worked closely together to establish the posing, and the desired animation (movements) for each of the scenes.                    The results were quite good and the drawings were used by the animation company, at least initially, to begin designing the animatronic dinosaurs.

The Chiodo Brothers played an important role in many of the early Gary Goddard Productions and Landmark Entertainment Group projects.  We hope you enjoy seeing some of their earliest Hollywood work.