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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Inspired by Disney and Universal, Tyra Banks is now building a new model theme park

Posted By on Tue, Feb 12, 2019 at 1:02 PM

  • Photo via David Shankbone/Flickr
April Fools is still a few months away so this can’t be a joke, but Tyra Banks has announced a new attraction inspired by Disneyland and Universal Studios that she hopes will become a reality.

In what may be one of the strangest moves in recent years, Banks will open a new 21,000-square-foot attraction, Modelland, themed to the glamorous world of modeling in Santa Monica, California.

A press release for the new attraction describes what can be expected. “With Modelland, Banks creates a new world of storytelling and adventure in a grand, fantastical, physical place where all expressions of beauty are celebrated. The multi-level ticketed experience invites all visitors to redefine what a model really is and for people to be the dream versions of themselves. Each will undertake a transformational journey to celebrate their unique beauty. Modelland is a flagship, permanent destination with a global strategy to expand worldwide.”

In an interview with Variety, Tyra Banks says she found inspiration from Disneyland and Universal Studios. She says the Modelland attraction has been 10 years in the making, adding, 
“Modelland is not just a place to us; It’s a movement. Yes, it’s an attraction and a destination, but above all, it’s the genesis for people with all types of different beauty to feel seen and validated. Modelland will empower them to embrace, celebrate and adorn their own unique beauty in ways they never thought possible.”

While Modelland might seem like an odd idea, it’s just the latest in a long list of indoor entertainment centers based around specific brands or concepts. LEGO, Hasbro, NASCAR, Nickelodeon, Cirque du Soleil and Ferrari have all either announced or already have similar indoor entertainment center attractions.

One 2017 study forecast massive growth in the indoor entertainment center industry, with revenue more than tripling over the next decade.

Crayola has found success with their Crayola Experience attractions. The first Crayola Experience, at their main headquarters in Easton, Pennsylvania, was more typical of a factory tour for years, but in the early 2010s, Crayola completely redesigned the experience. A second location opened in 2015 in Orlando’s Florida Mall. Since then, Crayola has opened three more locations.

Tampa Bay-based Feld Entertainment is also getting in on the entertainment center fad – they debuted a traveling Trolls-themed concept in New York City late last year. At the IAAPA International Attractions Expo in November, Feld announced plans to develop entertainment centers for third parties using Feld’s various brands including Monster Jam and Ringling Brothers. Previous rumors pointed to one of those entertainment centers possibly heading to Disney Springs but instead, a new NBA-themed entertainment center is in the works there.

Tyra Banks’ Modelland is the first major attempt at bringing a modeling and personal beauty theme to such an attraction. While specifics on what will be found in the new attraction are still very much under wraps, it sounds like augmented reality such as smart mirrors will be used heavily in Modelland.

Banks says the Santa Monica location will be just the first of many Modellands to open across the globe. With Orlando’s stellar track record on other similar attractions, like Andretti’s and the Crayola Experience, and with a large tourism base to draw from, a Modelland in Orlando would bring awareness to the brand that few other locations can offer.

Besides, Modelland is designed to challenge the stereotypes of what beauty is, so what better place to do that than in the City Beautiful?

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