Conference World Tour 2017 - Exploring Asia with Chloe Hausfeld

July 12, 2017

For the latest installment of our Conference World Tour 2017, Chloe Hausfeld shares the sights and sounds of Singapore (and Malaysia and Thailand) as she recaps the IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo. 

Sunday, June 11

After a very busy weekend of wedding festivities for my great friend Renee (CONGRATS!!!), a very early flight out on Sunday morning was not exactly the way I wanted to recover…but, what’s a girl to do?? Keith, Patti (Dad & Mom) and I headed to the airport for the long journey to Singapore. We all absolutely love Singapore, so it wasn’t that bad having to wake up.

Left – If you’re going to travel…travel in style. Dad has over 7 million miles with Delta, so the three of us were lucky enough to be graced with the red carpet (aka the Red Porsche) treatment from plane to plane.
Right – It’s crazy that we live right down the road from these guys, and only see them at airports…posing with fellow jet setters, Rodney Heiligmann and Bret Woodbury (LifeFormations).

Monday, June 12

While sitting in the lounge at the Narita International Airport, I received a text informing me that our good friend Lexi Liu (Premier Rides) was also waiting on her next flight. Although we weren’t on the same airline, it was nice to catch up with her before heading into the crazy IAAPA week.

After arriving in Singapore, and getting settled into the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, I went exploring to see who might be around already. Lucky me, I was able to track down Jim and Sara Seay, Lexi Liu, and Sophie Liu (Premier Rides), Tim Timco, Pete Barto, and Gerald Ryan (S & S Worldwide), Bret Woodbury (LifeFormations), Jeroen Nijpels (JNE&LC), and Lauren Weaver and John Wood (Sally Corp).

Tuesday, June 13

Bret Woodbury and I joined Phillip and Jeff Wilson (Extreme Engineering) for breakfast as they waited for their rooms to be ready. It was the perfect way (not to mention view) to begin such a busy day.

Not many views can compare to the top of the Marina Bay Sands.

KJ and I headed to Science Centre Singapore for a press conference celebrating the opening of the JRA-designed “The Mind’s Eye,” and, “Professor Crackitt’s Light Fantastic! – a Mirror Maze experience,” exhibitions. The exhibitions are located at the entrance gallery, and are fantastic additions to celebrate the museum’s 40th anniversary. The press conference was lead by a panel of its creators, Mr. Augustus Peh (SPACElogic Pte Ltd), Mr. Adrian Fisher (Adrian Fisher Design Ltd), Associate Professor Lim Tit Meng (Science Centre Singapore) and Keith James (JRA).

"The Minds Eye" at Science Centre Singapore

After the press conference, KJ set out for the blooloopLIVE Asia event, and I headed back to the convention center to check on the JRA booth. ARTS FUZION does a fantastic job on our booth, so, after unpacking all of the booth collateral, doing a little booth supply shopping, and checking in on a few last minute tweaks, I walked a bit of the trade show floor to get my bearings for the week. Registration went smoothly, and things were moving along, setting up the week in good fashion.

Alan Mahony (Pinnacle International Enterprise Limited) speaks on the evolution of waterparks in Asia at blooloopLIVE Asia. Along with a nice bouquet of flowers from ARTS FUZION, the JRA booth making moves to be “show ready”, and IAAPA’s schedule of the crazy next few days to come.

Evening events began with the Science Centre Singapore Launch Party. It was an incredibly well attended event, where guests learned about the planning, and were able to interact within the new exhibitions.

Friends from IAAPA and the TEA attended the event, and turned into kids again (as if they ever grew up) while enjoying the new exhibitions.

The infamous JNE&LC Party has become a staple as the way to get IAAPA AAE rolling. It’s always a fabulous time, with the best people, and provides time to visit with friends and colleagues prior to the crazy next days. Jeroen and Mika Nur Faezah certainly know how to show the crowd a good time.

Top – KJ and PJ hanging out with the host, Jeroen Nijpels (JNE&LC), and fellow guest, Greg Eccles (SALLY Corp.)
Bottom – Smiling with IAAPA COO, Doug Stagner.

Wednesday, June 14

I have to say that this year’s AAE Opening Ceremony was one of the best IAAPA Opening Ceremony events that I have seen in a long time. It was engaging, the performers were fantastic, and the crowd got into all of the songs more so than the usual. It was a fun way to get Day 1 started.

Day 1 at the JRA booth began with another press conference for Science Centre Singapore. The event was again, well attended, and was very informative to the crowd. It was nice to start Day 1 off with such a buzz.

IAAPA Officer members join the crowd for the press conference at the JRA Booth.

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and AECOM collaborate to create the Theme Index and Museum Index every year. This free resource, is a calendar-year study of global attractions attendance numbers, and identifies trends throughout the industry.

Top – Members of the JRA team welcome IAAPA AAE attendees at the booth.
Bottom – Attending the presentation of the TEA/AECOM Theme Index.

The Opening Reception was held at Universal Studios Singapore, and they certainly outdid themselves. The service was immaculate, the rides were a blast (as always), and the performers were so fun to watch. I might have made groups ride Sesame Street with me three different times (NO COMPLAINTS WHATSOEVER…it’s absolutely adorable) to get a little hit of the air conditioning on such a hot evening, but it was a top night nonetheless.

Fabulous industry event held by IAAPA. I got to ride Puss in Boots with the one and only Diane Williams (IAAPA), and enjoyed every moment of Sesame Street the most while riding with Emily Colombo (WhiteWater West).

The guys from S&S Worldwide couldn’t let us pose with Big Bird, Oscar and Cookie Monster without doing so; so Pete Barto, Tim Timco and Gerald Ryan followed suit. The JRA men; Dan Schultz (COO), Shawn McCoy (VP), Mark Amos (Project Manager) and Keith James (Owner/CEO), “manned up,” and enjoyed a ride on Cyclon. Also, KJ and PJ couldn’t walk by another minion without posing with them in honor of the grandchildren.

Thursday, June 15

Day 2 of the show began with the Leadership Breakfast featuring Andrew Kam, VP of Wanda. It will be very interesting to continue to read regarding Wanda’s next steps in the entertainment industry. After the breakfast, I headed to IAAPA Central for a Membership presentation. Gotta love the IAAPA Officers for all of the support that they give, no matter how busy their schedules may be.

Thanks for “taking me seriously” Phil (Extreme Engineering). Also pictured (and laughing at me); Hank Salemi (Treasurer of IAAPA, and Six Flags Great America), Ryan Strowger (Senior VP, Exhibitions, Conferences, and Sales, IAAPA), David, Rosenberg (Second Vice Chair of IAAPA and VP of Monterey Bay Aquarium), Greg Hale (Chairman of IAAPA, and VP and CSO Walt Disney World Resort), and Paul Noland (President and CEO, IAAPA).

Enjoying some of my favorite things on the show floor; “breaking rules” with Andrew Lee (Six Flags), running from zombies with Lauren Weaver (SALLY Corp.), and smiling with dragons while posing with Dan Schultz (JRA).

Day 2 on the show floor finished up for me at the Young Professionals Forum. As a member of the IAAPA YP Task Group, it was great to see how well attended the forum was, and how engaged the attendees were in the speakers. The YP Reception was then held at DC Comics Super Hero Café. Well done Mika (JNE&LC), fellow YP Task Group member, for such a great find!

Things that make you smile as a YP!!

While I was busy at the Young Professionals events, the rest of the JRA group attending both the TEA Party, at Boulevard Bayfront, and, the Kingsmen Party, at Aura Sky Lounge.

KJ & PJ ready to head to the TEA Party with Michael Thayer and Jennie Nevin.

Top Left – KJ enjoying host, Anthony Chong’s (Kingsmen) company
Top Right – KJ and PJ can’t smile enough when they have the company of Andrew Lee (Six Flags)
Bottom – Vernon McGugan (DreamCraft), Mark Amos (JRA), Matt Brown (Nassal), Shawn McCoy (JRA), Dan Schultz (JRA), Rob Wyatt (ACM/Nassal), and Rodney Heiligmann (LifeFormations) enjoying the “Kingsmen hospitality”.

My evening concluded with an incredible dinner, organized by Andrew Lee (Six Flags), celebrating the newly married, Mr. and Mrs., Jim and Sara Seay. The company was amazing, the food was exquisite, and no one could think of a better reason to be celebrating.

Our friends from ProSlide were sitting at the table next to us, so it wouldn’t have been right for Hank (Six Flags) and I to not get a picture with Rick Hunter (ProSlide).

Friday, June 16

While Day 3 was still full of good meetings, we were able to sneak away to take a break, and check out the traveling exhibit being produced by our friends at Imagine Exhibitions and Kingsmen. While Downtown Abbey: The Exhibition was not yet open, what I saw gave me enough reason to begin watching the show.

Rose and I are obviously kindred spirits.

Once those bells ring, signifying another close to a show, we packed up the booth, and a group of us headed over to the hotel to celebrate. It’s always bittersweet when the trade shows are finished. You’re exhausted, and ready for it, but you know that it’s going to be a while until you see friends again.

Can’t wait to see this group again soon!

Next, it was time for KJ, PJ and I to travel to Malaysia for the IAAPA Post Tour. The group was treated to evening cocktails at the TOP of the Komtar upon arrival to get things started off on the right foot.

Saturday, June 17


IAAPA Post Tours are always jam packed, and this one was not going to disappoint. We began our day at The Komtar, with a Behind the Scenes Tour of the Jurassic Research Center, the Rainbow Skywalk and the Observation Deck. Dato Sri Richard Koh could not be a better host, and we were off to an unforgettable start.

We left Penang, and headed for the Lost World of Tambun to Tour the Theme Park, Waterpark and Zoo.

A mix of the day with some of my favorites!!!

Although the weather was not what we were hoping for, it was easy to make the most of such an amazing landscape. Tambun is a place that everyone should have the opportunity to visit.

Our dinner was held at Kepura Cave, and will go down as one of my favorite meals (especially watching friends experience durian fruit for the first time). Seeing the park at night was almost as magical as it was during the daytime.

Sunday, June 18

It was bittersweet having to leave Tambun behind. We had such a fabulous time there, and in questionable weather; one can only imagine what it would have been like on a nice day. “Glamping” is at an entirely different caliber when it’s done there.

Just a few more rainy pics of an incredible landscape.

Next, we were headed to Genting, to tour Resort World Genting, along with seeing the development of the Twentieth Century Fox World Malaysia Theme Park. The easiest way for us to see the development of the theme park was to take a ride on the cable car. Unfortunately, the weather was sub-par, but the group was able to “get the gist” of where the plans were moving. With the weather that they have to deal with on a day-to-day basis, it’s impressive what they have been able to accomplish.

All of the necessities: Starbucks, LED screens, cable cars, and Christmas lights…

It wouldn’t be a true IAAPA Post Tour without a little bit of additional adventure. After making it back to the hotel safely, and with time enough to get ready for the evening events, a group of us decided to push our luck, and check out the market. We’re so happy that we did, but it’s not to say that making it there (and back) wasn’t questionable at times.

WHODEY!!!! I even found a “Bengals fan” in Malaysia!!!

The IAAPA Post Tour ended with a beautiful evening hosted again by Richard Koh. The ambiance, food, hospitality, and fun, is insurmountable. You outdo us, every time!

No matter where Richard takes us, we are always pampered. However, the true pampering was given to the right group that evening. Although I may miss events due to work, I am lucky enough to rarely miss Father’s Day with my dad because of IAAPA AAE. Thanks for making it an especially memorable evening, Richard!

Monday, June 19

Time to say “goodbye” to the beautiful Malaysia, but not before a quick visit with former Director of JRA Malaysia, Shahryn Azmi.

That Monday, a group of us, dubbed, “The Neverendas,” traveled to Phuket, Thailand. We spent the next several days visiting different attractions and sites throughout the island. I couldn’t have asked for better company to finish off such an eventful trip.

As always, a huge “THANK YOU” to IAAPA for a great couple of weeks ☺

And….I’m HOME!

With Skyline in hand, and the best smile a girl could ask for!!!

Tags: JRA Journeys , JRA Team , Outside the Studio

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Mars, Cars, Photography and Illusion: JRA's 2017 So Far

July 05, 2017

Greetings, readers! Hard to believe that 2017 is already halfway done. It's been a great six months for JRA - opening new projects, celebrating milestones for "old" ones, and dropping a little knowledge on some of our favorite topics. But, as always, our favorite part has been visiting friends, clients and colleagues all over the world. Here's a look at the year so far:


Photo Courtesy Space Center Houston

After celebrating our award-winning collaboration on Independence Plaza last year, we opened our latest project with Space Center Houston: Mission Mars. The multi-million-dollar exhibit offers visitors the opportunity to peer inside an Orion spacecraft research model, stand close to a giant model rocket and walk on a virtual Mars environment. According to Ars Technica, "now anyone can get as close to Mars as any human will, any time soon, by visiting [Space Center Houston]."

The JRA Studio gets a facelift! After 10 years of "tough love", visitors to the studio now see new paint, carpeting and artwork, all providing what JRA Art Director David Ferguson calls a "more jubilant look in our workplace, making our work environment as cutting edge as our attitude."


LaunchPAD Executive Director, Bob Fitch, and board member, Regina Roth, celebrate the museum's first birthday with a superhero-themed party. 

LaunchPAD Children's Museum celebrates its 1st anniversary. The Sioux City, Iowa museum, which anticipated 50,000 visitors in its inaugural, enjoyed attendance of over 93,000! It also positioned itself as a cultural anchor for the community, providing a much needed source of family fun for the Siouxland area. "LaunchPAD is improving the quality fo life for families in Sioux City and the entire region," said Bob Fitch, Executive Director. "LaunchPAD is proud to be Siouxland's champion for educational play and discovery!"

JRA Director of Communications, Clara Rice, enjoys a mini-speaking tour for the Themed Entertainment Association, moderating a panel on "Working in China" at the inaugural TEATalks LIVE in Orlando and presenting "Breaking Barriers: How to Attract and Retain Creative Talent" at the Creative Economy Conference in Schenectady, New York. 


The 23,000-square foot Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA) crosses the finish line at the Daytona International Motor Speedway. MSHFA is the only hall fame that encompasses the full spectrum of American motorsports, from cars to motorcycles, powerboats to airplanes.  The sports attraction celebrates the "Heroes of Horsepower" and the core values embodied in racing. Designer Rachel Daheim offers a unique perspective on seeing her designs for MSHFA come to life. 

Photo Courtesy King Abdullah Foundation

The "King Abdullah: Values and Wisdom" traveling exhibit begins its tour of Saudi Arabia. The exhibit, a collaboration between JRA the King Abdullah Foundation, the History Factory, and Brand Experience, features artifacts, photographs and videos honoring the late ruler and his virtues of justice, peace and humanity. Welcoming 5,000 visitors daily, the 50-square-meter traveling exhibit provides a glimpse of the preparations underway for a major exhibition in 2018. 


Keith James, Chloe Hausfeld and dozens of other attraction industry delegates travel to Washington, D.C. as part of IAAPA's US Advocacy Days. The event enables US-based members to meet with members of the US Congress and advocate for or against pressing issues affecting the US attractions industry. Check out Chloe's recap. 

The Eastman Kodak Company selects JRA to provide complete planning, design and project management for its new Kodak Experience Center, located at Kodak's corporate headquarters in Rochester, New York. The Center, scheduled to open mid-2018, will feature a refreshed lobby, an exhibit area highlighting many of Kodak's innovations, a cafe featuring new Kodak products alongside vintage artifacts, and a retail space offering the latest Kodak products. 

Photo Courtesy SPAM Museum

The SPAM Museum celebrates its first anniversary, and a wedding! SPAM fanatic and Liverpuddlian Mark I Love SPAM Benson and his fiancee Anne Mosley said 'I do' at the Austin, Minnesota museum, surrounded by iconic canned meat memorabilia. The reception featured SPAM colored roses, a SPAM-themed wedding cake, and of course, SPAMatizers. 


JRA Designer Rachel Daheim (2nd from right) poses with recipients of the ACM Small Museums Scholarship.

"Fun is serious business" at the 2017 InterActivity Conference in Pasadena, California. For the ninth year in a row, JRA sponsors the Association of Children's Museums' Small Museums Financial Aid Program. The program, founded by JRA in 2008, provides small museum professionals with complimentary registrations to ACM's InterActivity Conference. Meet this year's recipients here


"The Mind's Eye: An Exhibition on Illusions and Human Perception" opens at Science Centre Singapore during the week of IAAPA's Asian Attractions Expo. This entry gallery to the Centre features dozens of enigmatic exhibits that reveal just how the human mind and senses can deceive, with illusions of sound and sight carefully selected to delight, engage and confound visitors. JRA and Science Centre Singapore celebrated the opening with a lavish launch party at the Centre and a packed press conference in JRA's booth at the IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo. 

Phew, what a year! This is only the beginning of an exciting 2017 for JRA as we celebrate 30 years of planning, designing, and implementing entertainment, cultural and branded experiences all over the world. So be sure to visit this blog for the latest updates, and we look forward to seeing you on the road!

Tags: JRA Journeys , JRA Team , Outside the Studio , Project Spotlight

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The Friday Fives: Traveling to the Moon (and Disneyland) with Elizabeth McClain

June 23, 2017

Elizabeth McClain

Elizabeth McClain

For the last of our co-op Friday Fives, we ask five questions of SCAD student Elizabeth McClain. Elizabeth, who holds a BFA in communication design from Syracuse University and is currently pursuing her MFA in Themed Entertainment Design, believes that "the best design is one that starts with a strong story and can incite positive change." Here's what else she has to say:











 My favorite entertainment experience...

Photo courtesy LA Times.

Earlier this month, I traveled to California with a group of SCAD students to learn more about the themed entertainment industry first-hand. On this ‘study abroad’ trip we were able to go behind-the-scenes of both Disney and Universal’s west coast theme parks, tour the offices of top creative companies, and meet an array of influential industry leaders. The most memorable moment was getting to see a tech rehearsal of The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts™, Universal’s latest, awe-inspiring projection show, which premieres at Universal Studios Hollywood this weekend! As a whole, the trip was an incredible learning experience that I will never forget.

My favorite part of the design process... 
I enjoy the creative challenges that the design process can present, but for me, the real reward comes when the design is implemented and the public can interact with and learn from it - and hopefully enjoy it too!

My favorite attraction... 

Photo courtesy SoCal Attractions 360

...Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean dark rides, hands down. I may be biased, as the subsequent franchise is one of my favorites, but the boat ride has many qualities that I enjoy in an attraction: a relaxed atmosphere, great music, and action-packed scenes rich with detail. Though I’ve only seen YouTube videos of the latest version, Shanghai Disneyland’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure”, I was amazed by the attraction's elaborate sets and technological feats and hope to experience it in person one day.

My favorite part about my career...
Being able to work on fun projects and always learning something new.

My dream vacation...

A trip to the moon! (It could happen someday, right?)

To learn more about Elizabeth, check out her TEA NextGen Profile. Many thanks to all of our summer co-ops for participating in the Friday Fives, and welcome to the team!

Tags: JRA Team

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Pork, Potter and...Mummies? The Friday Fives with Mengyuan Zhang

June 16, 2017

Mengyuan Zhang

Mengyuan Zhang

Happy Friday! It's the last day of the workweek, and that means another sit-down session with our superstar co-ops! In addition to fabulous University of Cincinnati DAAP students like Isaac and Mikaila who support us in the summer, we also employ two co-ops from the world-renowned Savannah College of Art and Design. This year, we welcome Mengyuan Zhang, a scenic designer who is working towards her Master of Fine Arts in Themed Entertainment Design. As always, we asked her to introduce herself to the JRA blog readers with a few simple questions. 

What is your favorite part of the design process?

Rendering! Because you can create a new mysterious world that is full of magic things and colors.

My favorite attraction is...

...Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios Florida (Photo Credit Orlando Observer)

My iPod/iTunes is full of...

...songs and photos.

What is your favorite food?

Sichuan spicy fried pork and beef.

What are your favorite movies?

Anything Harry Potter! (Photo Credit

 If you are interested in learning more about Mengyuan, check out her resume and portfolio, and stay tuned for our last interview in a few weeks with our other SCAD co-op, Elizabeth Danielle. 



Tags: JRA Team

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Flashback Friday: Chloe's Shanghai Adventures

June 08, 2017

Are you as excited about next week's IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo as we are? Not yet? Well, we're here to get you pumped up with Chloe Hausfeld's recap of last year's sojourn to Shanghai (and beyond). Here's a look back at her amazing adventures.


I remember starting the trip off finishing the book, Me Before You, followed by watching the movie, only to begin the second book, Me After You, all on the plane…there were lots of tears. Going for historical fiction this year. Don’t need “all the feels” before such a busy trip!

The first couple of days were spent in a charrette (brainstorming session), setting up the booth, and doing a bit of exploring. While the weather wasn’t great, it’s always nice to get a chance to see a bit of the cities that we travel to.

Exploring Shanghai with Keith and Patti James (aka, Mom and Dad)

The day and night prior to the show is always spent attending blooloopLIVE, and the infamous JNE&LP Party. It’s the perfect way to get the week started, and it's spent networking with colleagues and catching up with friends. It’s a well-spent day before the insanity of the week begins.

blooloopLIVE sponsors (Premier Rides), and JNE&LP hosts (Mika Nur Faezah & Jeroen Nijpels)

IAAPA always begins the expos with an exciting Opening Ceremony that highlights what’s new in the region. It helps to get everyone “jazzed up” before the taxing days on the trade show floor (this, and surprise latte visits from Lauren Weaver, Sally Corp).

Day 1 was spent with great company!

Day 2 is always extremely busy, from start to finish. The Leadership Breakfast, featuring Jim Seay (Premier Rides), was a great way to engage the attendees early on. I snuck out of the booth a bit early to head to the Young Professionals Forum and Reception, and then followed that up with the TEA, Kingsmen, and WhiteWater events. Being with great friends from all over the world is the best way to ignore how tired you get on days like this.

Said coffee savior…

I found a little part of Cincy at the WhiteWater party!

The final day continued to be busy and was a great way to finish the show. The best part, hands down, was that we spent the evening at Shanghai Disney. The timing of that opening could not have been more perfect, and I am still unbelievably grateful that I got to experience it.

You couldn’t have knocked that smile off my face if you tried ☺

Did I mention that we got to go back the next day as well?! Such an incredible park…I can’t wait to get back there!!

No trio does Disney like our trio…my favorite park pals; Lo (SALLY Corp.) and Bret Woodbury (LifeFormations)

My last several days were spent in the Philippines on the “Neverenda Tour”, hosted by Mario, Cynthia and Bea Mamon, along with several members of the Enchanted Kingdom team. What an unforgettable trip!

Great visit to Enchanted Kingdom

Quick visits to the The Mind Museum and the American Cemetery in Manila. Zamperla also hosted a great evening event filled with performances from the Kingsmen of Enchanted Kingdom and Victoria’s Way.

Fabulous adventures with some of my industry favorites!!

For anyone attending the IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo next week, please visit us at the JRA Booth, L617. Safe travels to Singapore, and be on the lookout for my blog post on this year's adventures!

Tags: JRA Journeys , JRA Team

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