Meet Chick Russell, creator of "dark" rides featuring Harry Potter, the Transformers, and Mario, for companies like DIsney and Universal -- but mostly for kids like you!
How is it that "dark" rides at theme parks are put together by a fellow with such a sunny disposition? Meet Chick Russell, creator of rides featuring Harry Potter, the Transformers, and Mario.
(The Don and John ride is so dark you can't see it....)
Chick Russell is an award-winning executive producer-creative director and founder of Chick Russell & Company, a creative development firm that specializes in the design of extraordinary destinations, luxury tourism resorts, immersive theme park attractions and inspirational museum exhibits for clients around the world.
Mr. Russell is an entertainment veteran who brings over 25 years of international Walt Disney Imagineering and Universal Parks & Resorts themed entertainment experience to his clients.
From 2010 to 2017 Chick was executive writer-producer at Universal Studios where he helped lead the “Epic Transformation” expansion of game-changing projects including:
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter immersive experience land
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey flight simulator ride
Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge AR video game ride
Transformers: the Ride 3-D flight simulator ride
Fast & Furious Supercharged flight simulator ride
The Simpsons Springfield immersive experience land
From 1988 to 2000 at Walt Disney Imagineering, Mr. Russell helped lead “The Disney Decade” of worldwide expansion as senior writer-producer of:
Tokyo DisneySea Resort, Park and 5-Star Hotel MiraCosta
The American Waterfront land, Tokyo DisneySea
The Mediterranean Harbor land, Tokyo DisneySea
Chick also developed expansion projects at Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom–all at Walt Disney World; Disneyland and Disney California Adventure–both at Disneyland Resort; and Walt Disney Studios at Disneyland Paris.
Mr. Russell enjoys applying his experience to developing inspirational museum exhibits. He wrote the U-505 U-boat exhibit for the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry and the Your Brain exhibit for The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. And he wrote and produced interactive media exhibits for the new Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.
Chick also wrote and directed Battle Stations 21 for the U.S. Navy, a hyper-realistic guided missile destroyer training simulator that features real fire and flooding.
Mr. Russell’s projects have won numerous awards, including an American Association of Museums Award, an International 3D Society Lumiere Award, a TAM President’s Award for Extraordinary Concept and Design, a Design-Build Institute of America Best Overall Award, a White House Commendation Letter and 10 Thea Awards for Outstanding Achievement.
Chick holds a Master of Arts degree in design management from Loyola Marymount University of Los Angeles. He has a media management certificate from USC’s Annenberg School for Communications and a scriptwriting certificate from UCLA. He is a member of the Producers Guild of America, the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of Science and Technology Centers, the National Association for Museum Exhibitors, the Themed Entertainment Association and IAPPA.