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Backstory - April 2017

Falcon’s Creative Group Soars to International Prominence

by Keith Miller

In mid-January 2017, Falcon’s Creative Group in Orlando, Florida, announced the company had signed an agreement with Enchanted Kingdom in Santa Rosa, Laguna, Philippines, to master plan the first phase of the park’s significant expansion. The plan focused on transforming the park  into a destination resort within 10 years. The announcement is a reminder of how, in just a few years, Falcon’s has grown from a small startup to a highly regarded three-division operation reaching multiple continents around the world.

The Enchanted Kingdom project has a personal connection to the founder of Falcon’s Creative Group, Cecil Magpuri. His father, who was born in the Philippines, taught him to respect and value the country’s culture. Enchanted Kingdom President and Chairman Mario Mamon recently cited this connection as one reason the park sees Falcon’s playing a key role in planning its future development.

David Schaefer, vice president at Falcon’s Creative Group, explains the role the company will play in the park’s growth: “We will be master planning the first phase of expansion at Enchanted Kingdom. This process involves a wide spectrum of our team’s expertise. Our team members will be focused on story development, space planning, thematic design, and program development.” He adds that Falcon’s will utilize tools like 3-D massings, site plans, and illustrations to communicate the ideas created together with Enchanted Kingdom.

When Funworld first reported on Falcon’s more than a decade ago, it was operating as Falcon’s Treehouse in Windermere, Florida. Magpuri had transitioned from being creative manager and creative director with Universal Studios to forming the startup Falcon’s Treehouse in the early 2000s.

The company changed its name to Falcon’s Creative Group in 2014, and now has about 50 employees spread among three divisions:

  • Falcon’s Treehouse does master planning, attraction design, and special venue development.
  • Falcon’s Digital Media generates media as well as interactive and augmented reality products.
  • Falcon’s Licensing provides access to attraction systems, media content, and intellectual property.

In addition to its work in the Philippines, Falcon’s worked on the design of the Lionsgate zone at Dubai Parks and Resorts’ Motiongate Dubai, created several high-profile guest experiences at IMG Worlds of Adventure in Dubai, including “Avengers: Battle of Ultron,” and is currently providing thematic and interior design for the newest Atlantis resort—Atlantis Sanya—located along the Haitang Bay National Coast on Hainan Island in China.

Schaefer believes the fact that Falcon’s Creative Group can handle all aspects of a project itself is an advantage in securing such jobs. “Our distinct advantage is the variety of services offered in-house, from design to media/audio production, to managing the integration of the various components necessary to bring an experience to life,” he explains. “Having a full media and audio production studio working side by side with the greater design and project management teams ensures close coordination and efficiency, as well as ensuring the original creative vision is never compromised along the way.”

The company’s digital media division has created attractions like “TurtleTrek” at SeaWorld Orlando and the newly opened CircuMotion experience at IMG Worlds of Adventure in Dubai, executed in cooperation with CAVU Designwerks and Kraftwerks Living Technologies. Schaefer notes these kinds of technologies also appeal to non-amusement attractions such as museums, science centers, zoos, and aquariums. Falcon’s often handles major projects for large clients, like the recently completed “Heroes & Legends” attraction at the Kennedy Space Center.

“We work hard to stay ahead of the curve from a technology standpoint, and one such example is the work we are doing with virtual reality and augmented reality,” he says. “We’ve seen a great demand for more immersive exhibits that can be accommodated in smaller venues, and virtual/augmented reality is the perfect solution to reactive existing spaces.” One such smaller venue is Fun Spot America in Orlando, where Falcon’s worked with the family entertainment center to develop a master plan for its future expansion.

As for its upcoming work at Enchanted Kingdom, Falcon’s announcement about the project made an intriguing reference to “a water element feature,” about which Schaefer notes: “It is too early in the process to go into details. However, we will be studying the use of a central lagoon element, which may also become a foundation for future entertainment offerings.”