We wanted to bring our characters to life in a way that hadn’t been done before,” said Paul Kurzawa, DreamWorks Animation’s head of retail development and entertainment.
He was in Manila with DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Lawrence Ho, co-chair and CEO of Melco Crown Entertainment, and James Clark, DreamWorks’ head of retail development and entertainment for Asia-Pacific, for the official opening of DreamPlay by DreamWorks at City of Dreams Manila.
Paul said, “Melco Crown Philippines, which developed the City of Dreams project, approached us with an opportunity to be a part of the resort. The timing was perfect because at the studio, we wanted to create something that was a truly interactive experience.”
DreamWorks Animation worked with iP2 Entertainment, which specializes in creating branded play experiences. The result is a unique 5,000-sq-m indoor interactive play center inspired by some of DreamWorks’ biggest films including “Kung Fu Panda,” “Shrek,” “How To Train Your Dragon,” and “Madagascar”—and packed with opportunities for family fun, learning and creativity.
“We worked hard to create something that was truly different from anything that existed out there. We wanted to crack the code and break away from the norm, to bring something new and fresh and different,” Paul pointed out.
James added: “It’s a nice balance of the technological side, the wizardry, the storytelling that DreamWorks does and the traditional… We combine some interactive and physical play and some creativity and also tie in the humor, the heart and story, not just for the children but for the whole family.”
Paul and James—who call themselves two big kids and who count Shrek and Donkey as their favorite DreamWorks characters—find joy in bringing happiness to children, saying the most rewarding thing about what they do is “just the opportunity to find another way to bring a smile to a child or to a family’s face.”
There were plenty of happy faces at the opening—kids shrieking in excitement, and parents looking for the next station to visit.
“Good afternoon, dreamers,” the staff of DreamPlay greeted guests.
Here are 16 things your kids can do at DreamPlay by DreamWorks at City of Dreams:
1) Learn to bake their own gingerbread man at the Cooking with Gingy station. James said, “I really enjoy Cooking with Gingy, being interactive not only digitally but also in making something and seeing the kids light up.” And kids get to gobble up their own creation after. (Height requirement: 100 cm)
2) Build their own dragon and watch it fly. (Height requirement: 100 cm)
3) Enjoy 4D action at the Dream Theater. The 46-seat theater shows fun films featuring favorite DreamWorks characters. (No height requirement.)
4) Watch a puppet show at DreamTales. There are three puppet shows scheduled throughout the day—1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. (No height requirement.)
5) Relax on beanbags and read books with the family at DreamTales. James, who counts DreamTales as one of his favorite DreamPlay attractions, said: “A really beautiful thing to see is the children and families reading together.” (No height requirement.)
6) Help Shrek find his keys at the Shrek Swamp Stomp. (Height requirement: 100 cm)
7) Play with DinoTrux. (Height requirement: 100 cm)
8) Help the Penguins of Madagascar build a boat and sail it down the river in Whatever Floats Your Boat. (100 cm)
9) Join the Afro Circus and have all kinds of fun in a multilevel play area. (Height requirement: 100 cm) This free play area includes an obstacle course and lets kids battle it out by firing foam balls.
In the hands of a child
10) Create their own animation at DreamStudio. Paul said, “The ability to take something that our company was founded on 20 years ago, which is animation, and to put it in the hands of a child and watch them create their own piece of animation using our essence and our franchises… I think that’s really magical. We do this in our studio and we give it to them to create something of their own.” And the best part? When kids return to DreamPlay, they can watch the animation they created again.
Paul added, “They can continue to work on the animation they created. They can also take it with them. We can give them a little USB flash drive and take the experience home and show their family and share it with friends.” (Height requirement: 100 cm)
11) Channel Po and train to become a Kung Fu master. (Height requirement: 100 cm)
12) Test their limits by conquering the Wall of Destiny. These climbing challenges offer physical fun and an adrenaline rush. (Height requirement: 120 cm)
13) Face the challenge of the Thread of Enlightenment and keep their balance as they cross this two-level rope course. (Height requirement: 140 cm)
14) Celebrate their birthday. There are three function rooms at DreamPlay, perfect for parties.
15) Eat. Paul said, “The DreamWorks brand is global… everybody loves our characters in the Philippines. But we designed DreamPlay with Filipino culture in mind. Everything from the way the menu was tailored.” Chez Gingy, DreamPlay’s restaurant, has a menu that includes different kinds of pizza (P360-P390), dimsum (P210-P280), salads (P240-P350), burgers and sandwiches (P320-P330) and noodles (P320-P350).
There are different cakes—red velvet cheesecake, moist chocolate fudge cake, pandan pavlova (P240-P320). Chez Gingy also serves ice cream with as many toppings as you want (P120 for one scoop and P300 for three scoops).
16) Shop. The DreamShop is a dream come true for any DreamWorks fan. There are shirts, caps, water bottles, plushies, backpacks featuring Shrek, Gingy, Po and many other DreamWorks characters. The books are a good find, too. We were told that they had been printed especially for DreamPlay.
DreamPlay by DreamWorks is at U/GF, The Shops at the Boulevard at City of Dreams Manila, Asean Avenue corner Roxas Boulevard Entertainment City, Parañaque. It’s open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Call 8080909.