Pico Play to deliver full theming solution for Dreamworld’s new Jungle Rush roller coaster

An ancient temple, filled with twisting tunnels, mysterious chambers, mystical artefacts and exotic creatures is taking shape in a state-of-the-art fabrication facility in the Vietnamese city of Hai Duong.
Written by
Charlotte Coates
Published on
8th February, 2024

Versions of this article appears at Blooloop.

Pico Play, a global leader in the planning, design, development and construction of world-class themed attractions and entertainment, is busy working on an ancient temple, filled with twisting tunnels, mysterious chambers, mystical artefacts and exotic creatures in its state-of-the-art fabrication facility in the Vietnamese city of Hai Duong.

More than 75 artists, sculptors, engineers and production workers are manufacturing the temple which will become the centrepiece of Jungle Rush, a brand-new rollercoaster coming to Australia’s theme park Dreamworld in 2024.

Pico Play director Darren McLean says the company is delivering a fully integrated solution to the theme park that includes all theming, show sets and audio-visual effects:

“We’ve taken the concept and developed detailed designs through to fabrication drawings and then, of course, the fabrication itself at our Vietnam facility. In addition to the physical theming and show sets, we’re also developing a custom soundtrack and developing lighting, storytelling and animatronics to deliver a seamless, integrated and exhilarating experience.”

Coaster will anchor new immersive land at Dreamworld

At $35M, Jungle Rush is Dreamworld’s largest investment in a single attraction and the crowning jewel of Rivertown, the park’s new immersive land. Billed as a family attraction, Jungle Rush is a switchback rollercoaster, featuring the world’s first inclined turntable, different track paths and the ability to travel forward or in reverse.

Pico Play is manufacturing 520 pre-cast glass-reinforced concrete (GRC) panels in its Vietnam facility to build the centrepiece temple and has sourced an ex-military dual-engine propellor plane to ‘crash-land’ into the theming.

“We’re working very closely with the local architect, engineer and builder and using detailed 3D modelling to ensure our pre-fabricated pieces sit perfectly into their major infrastructure works,” adds McLean. “We’re developing an immersive experience that will take guests on a mysterious journey from the moment they enter the temple to when they exit the rollercoaster.

“We want to offer guests more than just a rollercoaster ride. The experience is more than the ride itself, there’s a story, there are characters, there’s excitement and there’s anticipation and entertainment leading up to the ride.”

A strong relationship

Pico Play workshop Jungle Rush Theming
Jungle Rush Theming

Jungle Rush marks the 10th collaboration between Pico Play and Dreamworld with past projects including the newly opened Ocean Parade expansion, Steel Taipan rollercoaster and the Sky Voyager “flying theatre”.

Dreamworld CEO Greg Yong visited Pico Play’s Hai Duong facility in early 2024 and was impressed at the efficiency and skill of its workers, including a large team of experienced artists and sculptors.

“They’ve got a super talented group of people doing the work and it was really great to see the artisans and thank them in person,” says Yong. “I walked out of that experience in Vietnam feeling 100 per cent confident and really comfortable in how Pico Play was handling the project.”

Nominating Pico Play’s global reach as a competitive advantage, Yong adds that the firm’s Queensland presence also contributed to the enduring relationship between the two companies.

“They know the site and understand our vision with this project and how important the stakes are – this is not just another attraction, this is a meaningful part of Dreamworld’s story and recovery.”

Yong explains that Jungle Rush is located in one of the park’s foundation areas and fittingly offers a nostalgic nod to Dreamworld’s history:

“Jungle Rush is all about the theming; we’re bringing back a lot of traditional effects that people may not have seen in a theme park for a long time. Technology is so pervasive now that we wanted something ‘analogue’, something that is so completely immersive that you put your phone away and just get caught up in the quality of the narrative and the scale of the theming.”

The Rivertown project is the final piece in Dreamworld’s $55M capital investment, with approximately $35M invested in the immersive Rivertown land. The project’s construction and theming phase is set to create more than 1000 jobs with the precinct expected to open in late 2024.

At the end of last year, Pico Play announced the appointment of Kate Rogers as senior art director. Rogers has worked on some of the most innovative and beloved theme park attractions on the planet, including Universal Orlando Resort, Shanghai Disney Resort, Universal Beijing Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Melbourne Zoo.