Interview - Cale Heit | attractionsmanagement.com
GET ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT
magazine
Yes! Send me the FREE digital edition of Attractions Management and the FREE weekly Attractions Management ezines and breaking news alerts!
Not right now, thanksclose this window
POST YOUR JOB ONLINE
Free ezine/digital edition sign up
Jobs   News   Features   Video    Products   Company profilesProfiles   Magazine   Handbook   Advertise  
Interview
Cale Heit

With two newly opened rides at Motiongate Dubai and a raft of exciting projects in development, FORREC is riding the wave of a pent up demand for shared experiences, says its CEO


When Cale Heit took over as CEO of global entertainment design firm FORREC in 2017, he’d already been working for the company for 25 years. Heit joined as a landscape architect in 1993 and worked his way up through the ranks to lead the theme parks business, before taking the helm from former president and CEO Gordon Dorrett five years ago.

2022 has seen the opening of two new FORREC-designed attractions at Motiongate Dubai’s expanded Lionsgate Zone: the John Wick Open Contract 4D free-spin rollercoaster and Now You See Me: High Roller spinning rollercoaster. Last year’s projects included the opening of the Niagara Parks Power Station as an immersive tourist attraction – FORREC worked closely with the client team to repurpose the hydroelectric power plant as an attraction. As part of this ongoing project, Thinkwell Group created an immersive light show and Science North the exhibit design – both opened in January 2022. Further experiences will launch this summer.

Here, Cale Heit shares his insights with Attractions Management.

What trends do you see emerging in the attractions industry?
We see a pent-up demand for transformational experiences connecting us all. Socialisation and shared experiences with family and friends among larger crowds are paramount to who we are as human beings. Experiences that allow for these interactions are critical as a shared community. We feel whole when we have opportunities to share joy, be in awe, learn, laugh, and cry. 

We continue to hear the question regarding online versus in-person experiences. Why debate when I ask, “why can’t there be both?” Better integration of these two will lead to more immersive and repeatable experiences.

The online experience has jumped years ahead since the pandemic started. This includes how we live, work and play. There’s no going back, but rather moving forward with how we combine the new way of meeting our needs. The possibilities of increasing connections through in-person and online engagements can’t be overlooked.

However, opportunities to be in the moment is something we continue to be challenged to deliver and this has been exacerbated by the lines of life and work being blurred as we move towards a more flexible work environment.

What’s on your wishlist to visit in 2022?
The list is long as we’re in an amazing growth period for attractions in our industry.

I’m excited to experience our work at Dubai Parks and Resort, especially the John Wick: Open Contract experience and ride (www.attractionsmanagement.com/JohnWick and www.attractionsmanagement.com/JohnWickfans) and the Now You See Me: High Rollers attractions at Motiongate. The entire team from DXBE, Lionsgate, consultants and the team at FORREC did an amazing job. The innovations at Area 15 are also high on my list to explore.

Universal Beijing is another one of our projects that I’m excited to experience once travel into China is easier.

Super Nintendo World is a must experience in Japan, and being a big Marvel fan, the Avengers Campus at Disneyland will be another go-to during the 2022 season.

What’s FORREC working on right now?
We’re leading the visioning of various cultural attractions from greenfield in one case to an existing attraction in another. For the latter project, we’re working with the operations team to research, assess and make recommendations for upgrading the experience with added capacity and attracting a broader demographic. 

In both of these attractions and in most of our work, the need for authentic experiences that truly represent the people, natural environment and social connections of that region are a key driver. Being sensitive to not impose biases on our work allows for more inclusive designs that reflect the culture, further bringing meaning and connections that allow the purpose of the attraction to be the star.

We’ve found that receiving input from stakeholders has never been more crucial whether through open forums or cultural representatives and speciality consultants. This research has come to be critical for the creation of experiences. As an example, we’re currently working together with an indigenous consultant to fully capture a non-colonial mindset for a cultural attraction.

Despite the limitations on travel, we’re active in Asia, including China, as well as North America, and have several projects in the MENA region, including KSA.

We’re also very excited to participate in the grand opening of LEGOLAND Korea Resort. Our long-standing partnership with Merlin has led to many successful projects and we’re immensely excited to share in the celebration with the LEGOLAND team.

What are your plans?
To remain successful and grow as a company you must have a strong purpose, a visionary strategy, and propensity to set achievable goals.

I’m excited about providing creative, quality design and design management offerings to our clients through a broadening of our studio’s expertise and experience, and focusing on important, strategic partnerships.  

Another great opportunity I see is aligning with the rapid changes in our industry. We’re experiencing a shift in the blurring and combining of project types, whether it be retail, attractions, or accommodation.

We’ve seen that standalone commercial centres, waterparks and theme parks which have been designed for one purpose are no longer as viable as they once were. Having a multi-sector approach with a lens on people-centric design is something we’re focused on.

How are you taking the FORREC legacy forward?
Our legacy is based on five key pillars: hiring and retaining exceptional people, creating long-lasting relationships with our partners, staying creative and innovative, offering a breadth of design and design management services, and using our experience and know-how as subject matter experts to deliver the vision.

For each of these offerings, FORREC sets goals to build upon this great foundation. That said we will remain nimble to help us grow our business to reflect the hyper environment of constant change we continually face.

Our industry is one of the most dynamic and innovative in terms of creating experiences that connect and engage people. However, we cannot continue to achieve success in our attractions without considering three key factors that impact us greatly: inclusivity, sustainability, and talent.

These three factors are critical to the long-term success of the attractions industry and individual businesses; it will take a concerted and measured effort by all to create meaningful changes in these areas.

More: www.Forrec.com

FORREC reimagined the Niagara Park Power Station Credit: Courtesy of niagara parks commission
Heit started working for FORREC as a landscape architect in 1985 Credit: Courtesy of FORREC
The John Wick: Open Contract ride starts with a journey through the ‘Continental Hotel’ Credit: Photo Courtesy of DXBE. ®™️©2022 Lionsgate Entertainment Inc. and related companies. All Rights Reserved
The Now You See Me: High Roller has launched at Motiongate Dubai Credit: Photo Courtesy of DXBE. ®™️©2022 Lionsgate Entertainment Inc. and related companies. All Rights Reserved
COMPANY PROFILES
IDEATTACK

IDEATTACK is a full-service planning and design company with headquarters in Los Angeles. [more...]
TOR Systems Ltd

TOR Systems have been in this business since 1981. [more...]
Simworx Ltd

The company was initially established in 1997. Terry Monkton and Andrew Roberts are the key stakeh [more...]
Holovis

Holovis is a privately owned company established in 2004 by CEO Stuart Hetherington. [more...]
+ More profiles  
VIDEO GALLERY

Proslide Tech Inc - Slide Efffects
ProSlide | Transforming Waterparks Since 1986 Find out more...
More videos:
Red Raion TV - Opening Event: FICO Eataly World – Red Raion
Red Raion TV - Testimonial: Leolandia – Red Raion
Red Raion Showreel 2021 – Red Raion
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

07 Jun 2022

World Sauna Forum 2022

Lapland Hotels Arena, Tampere, Finland
07-10 Jun 2022

IAAPA Expo Asia 2022

Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
+ More diary  
LATEST ISSUES
+ View Magazine Archive

Attractions Management

Issue 1 Volume 27


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

Issue 4 Volume 26


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2021 issue 3


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2021 issue 2


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management News

06 Apr 2020 issue 153


View on turning pages
Download PDF
View archive
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Handbook

2019


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription
 
ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
 
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS
ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2022
Jobs    News   Products   Magazine
Interview
Cale Heit

With two newly opened rides at Motiongate Dubai and a raft of exciting projects in development, FORREC is riding the wave of a pent up demand for shared experiences, says its CEO


When Cale Heit took over as CEO of global entertainment design firm FORREC in 2017, he’d already been working for the company for 25 years. Heit joined as a landscape architect in 1993 and worked his way up through the ranks to lead the theme parks business, before taking the helm from former president and CEO Gordon Dorrett five years ago.

2022 has seen the opening of two new FORREC-designed attractions at Motiongate Dubai’s expanded Lionsgate Zone: the John Wick Open Contract 4D free-spin rollercoaster and Now You See Me: High Roller spinning rollercoaster. Last year’s projects included the opening of the Niagara Parks Power Station as an immersive tourist attraction – FORREC worked closely with the client team to repurpose the hydroelectric power plant as an attraction. As part of this ongoing project, Thinkwell Group created an immersive light show and Science North the exhibit design – both opened in January 2022. Further experiences will launch this summer.

Here, Cale Heit shares his insights with Attractions Management.

What trends do you see emerging in the attractions industry?
We see a pent-up demand for transformational experiences connecting us all. Socialisation and shared experiences with family and friends among larger crowds are paramount to who we are as human beings. Experiences that allow for these interactions are critical as a shared community. We feel whole when we have opportunities to share joy, be in awe, learn, laugh, and cry. 

We continue to hear the question regarding online versus in-person experiences. Why debate when I ask, “why can’t there be both?” Better integration of these two will lead to more immersive and repeatable experiences.

The online experience has jumped years ahead since the pandemic started. This includes how we live, work and play. There’s no going back, but rather moving forward with how we combine the new way of meeting our needs. The possibilities of increasing connections through in-person and online engagements can’t be overlooked.

However, opportunities to be in the moment is something we continue to be challenged to deliver and this has been exacerbated by the lines of life and work being blurred as we move towards a more flexible work environment.

What’s on your wishlist to visit in 2022?
The list is long as we’re in an amazing growth period for attractions in our industry.

I’m excited to experience our work at Dubai Parks and Resort, especially the John Wick: Open Contract experience and ride (www.attractionsmanagement.com/JohnWick and www.attractionsmanagement.com/JohnWickfans) and the Now You See Me: High Rollers attractions at Motiongate. The entire team from DXBE, Lionsgate, consultants and the team at FORREC did an amazing job. The innovations at Area 15 are also high on my list to explore.

Universal Beijing is another one of our projects that I’m excited to experience once travel into China is easier.

Super Nintendo World is a must experience in Japan, and being a big Marvel fan, the Avengers Campus at Disneyland will be another go-to during the 2022 season.

What’s FORREC working on right now?
We’re leading the visioning of various cultural attractions from greenfield in one case to an existing attraction in another. For the latter project, we’re working with the operations team to research, assess and make recommendations for upgrading the experience with added capacity and attracting a broader demographic. 

In both of these attractions and in most of our work, the need for authentic experiences that truly represent the people, natural environment and social connections of that region are a key driver. Being sensitive to not impose biases on our work allows for more inclusive designs that reflect the culture, further bringing meaning and connections that allow the purpose of the attraction to be the star.

We’ve found that receiving input from stakeholders has never been more crucial whether through open forums or cultural representatives and speciality consultants. This research has come to be critical for the creation of experiences. As an example, we’re currently working together with an indigenous consultant to fully capture a non-colonial mindset for a cultural attraction.

Despite the limitations on travel, we’re active in Asia, including China, as well as North America, and have several projects in the MENA region, including KSA.

We’re also very excited to participate in the grand opening of LEGOLAND Korea Resort. Our long-standing partnership with Merlin has led to many successful projects and we’re immensely excited to share in the celebration with the LEGOLAND team.

What are your plans?
To remain successful and grow as a company you must have a strong purpose, a visionary strategy, and propensity to set achievable goals.

I’m excited about providing creative, quality design and design management offerings to our clients through a broadening of our studio’s expertise and experience, and focusing on important, strategic partnerships.  

Another great opportunity I see is aligning with the rapid changes in our industry. We’re experiencing a shift in the blurring and combining of project types, whether it be retail, attractions, or accommodation.

We’ve seen that standalone commercial centres, waterparks and theme parks which have been designed for one purpose are no longer as viable as they once were. Having a multi-sector approach with a lens on people-centric design is something we’re focused on.

How are you taking the FORREC legacy forward?
Our legacy is based on five key pillars: hiring and retaining exceptional people, creating long-lasting relationships with our partners, staying creative and innovative, offering a breadth of design and design management services, and using our experience and know-how as subject matter experts to deliver the vision.

For each of these offerings, FORREC sets goals to build upon this great foundation. That said we will remain nimble to help us grow our business to reflect the hyper environment of constant change we continually face.

Our industry is one of the most dynamic and innovative in terms of creating experiences that connect and engage people. However, we cannot continue to achieve success in our attractions without considering three key factors that impact us greatly: inclusivity, sustainability, and talent.

These three factors are critical to the long-term success of the attractions industry and individual businesses; it will take a concerted and measured effort by all to create meaningful changes in these areas.

More: www.Forrec.com

FORREC reimagined the Niagara Park Power Station Credit: Courtesy of niagara parks commission
Heit started working for FORREC as a landscape architect in 1985 Credit: Courtesy of FORREC
The John Wick: Open Contract ride starts with a journey through the ‘Continental Hotel’ Credit: Photo Courtesy of DXBE. ®™️©2022 Lionsgate Entertainment Inc. and related companies. All Rights Reserved
The Now You See Me: High Roller has launched at Motiongate Dubai Credit: Photo Courtesy of DXBE. ®™️©2022 Lionsgate Entertainment Inc. and related companies. All Rights Reserved
LATEST NEWS
Scruffy Dog and Simtec launch Fisher-Price themed trackless ride
Scruffy Dog Creative Group and Simtec Systems have partnered to launch a new immersive trackless dark ride featuring the popular Mattel IP, Fisher-Price.
Dohmen and Bertens join forces to launch Tourist Development and Attraction Consultants
Former Efteling COO, Coen Bertens, and former BRC Imagination Arts exec, Bart Dohmen, have partnered to set up a consultancy for the tourism and visitor attraction sectors.
Puy du Fou to create first US attraction
Puy du Fou is set to enter the US attractions market with its iconic, immersive themed visitor experience, after securing a partnership with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian (ECBI).
Mather & Co-designed Gretna Green Experience opens to the public
A visitor attraction celebrating the history of the Scottish parish of Gretna Green – and its heritage as a destination for 'runaway marriages – has opened to the public.
Project to save last major bellfoundry which cast bells for St Paul's and Washington National Cathedral
A project to save the UK's last major bellfoundry has moved to the next stage, with the launch of a tender to find contractors for the redevelopment work.
Hettema Group and Themespace merge to form THG
Experiential design firms The Hettema Group and Themespace have merged to create a new company called THG.
World’s first living waterslides announced for Therme Manchester
Therme Manchester – the £250m indoor ‘next generation’ waterpark, thermal bathing and a wellbeing spa, opening in 2025 – will include the world's first "living waterslides".
Toronto Zoo unveils 10-year masterplan
Toronto Zoo in Ontario, Canada ​​has revealed an ambitious master plan, designed to transform the 287-acre attraction's visitor experience.
SeaWorld Abu Dhabi set to become world's largest aquarium
Construction work is set to be completed later this year (2022) on the world's largest aquarium.
Natural history museum planned for Abu Dhabi
A new natural history museum in Abu Dhabi will take visitors on a 13.8-billion-year journey through time and space.
Controversial London music venue, MSG Sphere, gets full planning permission
The MSG Sphere, a controversial auditorium and music globe designed by Populous, has been given full planning permission by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC).
Clifford's Tower opens to the public after £5m redevelopment
Clifford’s Tower in York, considered one of England’s most important buildings, has opened to the public following a £5m redevelopment.
+ More news   
 
COMPANY PROFILES
IDEATTACK

IDEATTACK is a full-service planning and design company with headquarters in Los Angeles. [more...]
TOR Systems Ltd

TOR Systems have been in this business since 1981. [more...]
Simworx Ltd

The company was initially established in 1997. Terry Monkton and Andrew Roberts are the key stakeh [more...]
Holovis

Holovis is a privately owned company established in 2004 by CEO Stuart Hetherington. [more...]
+ More profiles  
VIDEO GALLERY

Proslide Tech Inc - Slide Efffects
ProSlide | Transforming Waterparks Since 1986 Find out more...
More videos:
Red Raion TV - Opening Event: FICO Eataly World – Red Raion
Red Raion TV - Testimonial: Leolandia – Red Raion
Red Raion Showreel 2021 – Red Raion
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

07 Jun 2022

World Sauna Forum 2022

Lapland Hotels Arena, Tampere, Finland
07-10 Jun 2022

IAAPA Expo Asia 2022

Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2022

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS