“Sesame Street” comes to PortAventura World as Detective Grover teams up with guests to solve the mystery of the Big Cookie Caper in “Street Mission.” When the world’s biggest cookie vanishes, “Sesame Street” fans hop into yellow taxis fitted with “Clue Collectors” to follow the cookie crumb trail and save “Cookie Day.”
“Street Mission” is PortAventura World’s first dark ride and Europe’s first dark ride inspired by the beloved children’s brand. It marks the continuation of the alliance between PortAventura World and Sesame Workshop. “The agreement with ‘Sesame Street,’ which has been extended until 2031, has helped to create an attraction that will be a fantastic, interactive, 4D family entertainment experience,” says Fernando Aldecoa, managing director of PortAventura World.
Rich Hill, “Sesame Street” fan and Sally Corporation’s creative director, says “it was a dream come true.” The design team strove for complete realism and accuracy. “I wanted people to feel like they were actually standing on Sesame Street, looking at the real characters. Everything had to match the show,” says Hill.
The team worked with Sesame Workshop, visited the studio in New York, and filmed the “Sesame Street” cast acting out the ride. These performances influenced the ride’s CG animation. “We didn’t have to guess how these characters would act in each scene because we had the videos to guide us,” says Logan Zawacki, project manager at Sally Corporation.
“The detail in every scenic and virtual environment is unprecedented,” says Zawacki. “You will not find more realistic animatronic versions of these iconic characters anywhere else. Our collaboration with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop brought a level of authenticity to the furs, feathers, and fairy wings that has never been done before.”
As “Street Mission” is aimed at a very young audience, targets are easy to hit, and there are plenty of jokes to laugh at during the 15-minute experience (5:50-minute ride). Gameplay is designed to satisfy older family members too, with puzzles and Easter eggs throughout the ride. “There are practical and media-based ‘non-cookie’ objects in the scenes that you can affect with your Clue Collectors,” explains Hill. Guests can make street lights turn on and off, close Big Bird’s mailbox, and turn on the milkshake machine in Hooper’s Store. There is even a Golden Cookie worth 5,555 points.
Hill shares Sally Corporation worked with an “all-star team” behind the scenes to bring the ride to life on several levels. Techni-Lux provided and installed the lighting. B Morrow Productions helped with scenic design, and Sim Leisure produced and installed sets and scenery. Keith Jones (Big Time Art Guy) helped create concept art. Alterface produced the interactive system, Bon Art Studio created the media, ETF did the ride system, and Jon Baker produced the music score. The ride incorporates five languages (Spanish, English, Italian, French, and Russian); SDI Media and Sesame Workshop produced the audio for the non-English and English voice talent, respectively.