Universal Orlando to offer hands-on learning for the next generation of theme park designers at UCF

This coming spring semester, University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Themed Experience program will be joining forces with Universal Creative to give students a unique blend of classroom and on-site learning. This new program, UCF/Universal Creative Lab, will allow UCF students to learn from some of the most creative minds in the theme park industry.

UCF students at Universal Orlando

By Lauren Freeman

Universal Orlando Resort has been home to some amazing vacations for over 30 years now. Universal Creative is the team that designs and develops attractions, shows, hotels, restaurants, and resorts across the resort. 

The Dean of the UCF College of Arts and Humanities, Jeff Moore, stated that UCF students have been benefiting from internships at Universal for years. UCF’s Themed Experience program began in 2019. The goal was to meet the growing demand for creating learning experiences across the tourism and hospitality industry in Orlando and beyond.

What Creative Lab Will Offer Students

Creative Lab will provide students with specially designed coursework and on-site sessions. Students will also have opportunities to interact with Universal show producers, engineers, creative directors, executives, and other industry professionals. The relationships and connections students make could shape their future, and the theme parks, for the better.

The president of Universal Creative, Mike Hightower said, “This kind of learning is great for UCF students, great for our theme parks and entertainment, and great for Universal Creative as we help grow and inspire the next generation of creators.”

Who Can Be a Part of Creative Lab

The first class will be offered to graduate students enrolled in UCF’s Themed Experience program in spring 2023. A second class will take place in summer 2023 and will be open to graduate and upperclass students from any accredited college or university, not just UCF. Class time will be split between trips to Universal Orlando and on-campus workshops focused on developing original themed designs.

“Orlando is the international hub of the themed entertainment industry,” said Peter Weishar, founding director of UCF’s Themed Experience program. “World-leading organizations, like Universal Creative, are right here at our doorstep.” 

More Details

If you’re considering a career in the theme park industry and you want hands on experience, UCF in Orlando offers a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre, Themed Experience track and a Master of Science in Themed Experience. There are currently 62 students enrolled in the current semester.


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