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ATL 2023: Taking Themed Entertainment to the Next Level

Attractions Technology Lab

Attractions Technology Lab Conference

Attractions Technology Lab 2023 (ATL), an immersive dive into the latest innovations in themed entertainment, took place recently in Orlando and did not disappoint. This year was the first time SAM participated in ATL and it won’t be the last. Having spent a week on the floor immersed in the sights and sounds, and meeting with attractions industry leaders, notable takeaways from ATL 2023 include the incredible feats of creativity accomplished against tight timelines and the deep relationships created with partners and visitors alike.

ATL is a one-of-a-kind experience where partners from across the themed entertainment industry come together to show off their creativity and innovative tech. The week-long event includes a full-scale dark ride, choreographed lights and sound experience, gallery spaces, and featured speakers. This year’s event was hosted by industry giants Alcorn McBride, Garner Holt Productions, Oceaneering, Christie, Weigl Control, Quince Imaging, and 4Wall Entertainment. SAM was asked to be the official music and sound partner for ATL 2023, creating the audio and soundscapes for the entire experience — over 230 unique tracks and nearly a full hour of original audio.

“It’s an opportunity to show what we can do in the themed entertainment space, while working closely with some of the top creatives in the industry,” says SAM Director of Brand Strategy, Russell Boiarsky.

ATL Dark Ride

The space is simply massive — imagine a warehouse the size of two football fields brimming with immersive experiences, cutting edge tech, and enough industry knowledge to fill Cinderella’s castle ten times over. It’s a fantasyland for anyone developing themed attractions. But creating such a massive experience doesn’t simply happen overnight — or does it?

Part of the draw of ATL is not just the experience, but the fact that the entire thing is pulled together in just twelve weeks! That’s everything from concepts to storyboards, video and animation, music and sound, lighting, screens and displays, animatronics, ride car development, programming and control, site planning, speaker placement, staging, catering, and the list goes on and on.

Whitney Arnold, SAM President of Music Services, reflects on the journey: “It’s truly remarkable what twenty-plus partners have been able to accomplish in such a short timeframe. It not only speaks to the quality of talent in this exclusive group, but the resilience to create something as complex as a themed experience without stepping on each other’s toes. We’d work with all of them again in a heartbeat.”

Walking the floor, this creativity and professionalism come through loud and clear. From the original ‘cyberpunk’ theme, each partner ran with their respective element, building upon each other and creating a futuristic world that feels every bit industrial, neon, and energetic — like the 1980s perfectly mashed up with the 2080s. Passing through the entry ‘portal’ and into the space, the effect is extremely convincing.

Equally impressive are the relationships built throughout ATL. Attempting a time-intensive project of this scale with other companies, especially with so many creative minds involved, is enough to break even the strongest of teams, but not in the case of ATL. As you make your way through the space, it’s clear that the teams behind ATL are tight-knit — sharing stories in the gallery spaces, introducing each other to potential clients, and dreaming up ideas for projects in 2024 and beyond. The energy is infectious, and visitors to the space — many of whom are top creatives at Disney Parks, Universal Studios, and more — are seamlessly pulled into the conversation, as if having a casual coffee with friends.

“We had a shared goal to create an industry-leading experience that captures the imagination of attractions creators, but we’ve done a lot more than that. We’ve developed lasting relationships with the partners involved and created some real connections with visitors interested in taking their experiences to the next level,” says Arnold.

About Stephen Arnold Music

Often referred to as the most-heard, least-known composers in the world, Stephen Arnold Music’s (SAM) creativity is experienced every day in more than 1 Billion homes worldwide. The World Leader In Sonic Branding® has more than 30 years of success delivering impactful, brand-defining music that makes a difference for today’s top media companies, digital media outlets, production companies, corporations, advertising agencies and in-destination experience and attractions.  With multiple Emmys, Addys and Promax Gold awards to their credit, SAM’s strategic, research-driven approach and commitment to the power of sonic branding, state-of-the-art production and unparalleled customer service is at the core of its promise. SAM continues to set the creative bar in a highly competitive content landscape.

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