We all remember the first time we stepped into a theme park. Whether it was a local park native to your state or a significant park like Disneyland or Universal, our memories and heartfelt experiences in the park were childhood memories we won’t soon forget. The smell of fresh popcorn or the excited screams of parkgoers on a nearby roller coaster are staples of any park. Yet the new technology that has come forward in recent years has elevated the park-going experience to all new heights. From the recently released Super Mario Land to Halloween Horror Nights and Avengers Campus, the worlds we fell in love with on the big screen and beyond are something we can all walk into and experience ourselves.
One of the things people don’t always consider in these parks is the people who create them. The people who make the technology and the people who implement and build it into what we see today. One such man is Matthew Miller of the Orlando Informer, who recently had his name added to IMDB. He is currently the senior director of technology & business development at Orlando Informer, and formerly was a theme park technologist who had a hand in helping to develop some of the most brilliant and beloved experiences for both Disney and Universal. His accolades include numerous awards and a patent for his research and technology development for wearable technology. Having traveled the world, from Orlando to Osaka, one of the leaders in theme park technology has taken the time to speak with us today to learn a little bit about the man himself, his inspiration, and the world of theme park technology development.
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into the world of theme park technologists?
I grew up in the extraordinary small town of Wewahitchka, FL. It’s an incredible place and where I became very interested in math, science, and theme parks. I would later move to Orlando, FL. to attend the University of Central Florida. While trying to get my foot in the door at a major theme park, I landed an internship with a small design firm that produced special effects for the parks. This allowed me to work on my first big projects for the big players as a third-party vendor, and then I used this experience to land an internship at Universal. While at Universal, I secured a full-time job as a theme park technologist working on incredible theme park experiences.
2) What inspired you to work in this industry?
I’ve known that I wanted to be a roller coaster designer ever since the 1st grade. My family took a week-long trip down to Orlando, Fl, and visited several parks. I can still vividly remember that trip and the feelings I had walking through the theme parks with my family. I knew then what I wanted to do that for the rest of my life.
3) What has been one of the most complex yet rewarding pieces of technology enjoyed by parkgoers at a particular theme park?
The level of recent in-park interactives is absolutely incredible. From Super Nintendo World to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the wearables and interactive merchandise really have helped place the guests in the middle of the action. It’s amazing to walk into these stunning lands and then get to play a dynamic role in the story via these interactives. It makes every visit to the parks completely unique.
4) What are some of the most popular attractions you’ve been a part of?
I’ve been very fortunate to work on incredible attractions all around the globe. Some of my favorites have been Despicable Me Minion Mayhem,
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, and Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge.
5) If you could have a hand in any particular theme park’s creative properties, what project would you love to work on?
Shanghai Disneyland is currently working towards the opening of the City of Zootopia. I’ve always loved the sights, stories, and music of that property – I’m really excited to see the new land open in a few years. That project would have been a lot of fun to be on!
6) What social media site do you enjoy using the most, and has it helped bring attention to your given field?
I’d say the absolute best in the entire industry is Orlando Informer, but of course, I’m completely biased. 😃 I feel very fortunate to work with our team and our social media division works around the clock to showcase the most updated information on the web.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting theme park technologists out there?
Never give up. There are days when the dream will seem impossible and there will be people who tell you to stop dreaming so big. However, if you know in your heart this is what you were born to do, then literally anything is possible with enough passion, imagination, and grit. Don’t be afraid to start where you are and always look for small projects to help build your resume when you are first beginning.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Are any new projects on the horizon?
I’m extremely grateful to be working with Orlando Informer and I hope to be here for a long time. I feel so incredibly lucky to be part of the theme park industry and I hope to continue on this path for many more decades! I’m also very passionate about helping others land their dream jobs, and I will continue to do that on the side too.
Thanks to Matthew for speaking with us today. Be sure to check out his page on IMDB and support his incredible work.