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Directors and Universal Creative interns pose with UCF flags in front of Universal Studios Orlando

Program website

Active Students (as of April 2023)*

Graduate students: 49
*All active students with declared CAH programs are included in the enrollment counts.

Outside the Universal Studios entrance, UCF’s Themed Experience Program Director Peter Weishar shakes hands with Universal Creative President Mike Hightower while surrounded by a group of UCF students interning with the company.

The Themed Experience graduate programs at UCF continue to grow and thrive. We are now the largest and most selective program of our kind in the country. It has been an exciting time as we have seen many of our plans come to fruition.  

This year, we unveiled an exciting, extensive and unique collaboration with Universal Creative, known as the UCF/Universal Creative Lab. The Creative Lab is a for-credit class that takes students behind the scenes at the Universal parks, labs and offices to learn the process of designing, producing and building world-class attractions. The class has been co-taught by Chris Oliver, vice president of engineering at Universal Destinations and Attractions.  

The UCF Themed Experience Graduate programs have achieved exceptional strides in growth and partnerships, solidifying their prominence within the realm of themed experiences and attractions. 

Themed Experience also launched an ongoing collaboration with the world-renowned artists collective known as Meow Wolf. Meow Wolf got its start in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with a groundbreaking interactive experience called “The House of Eternal Return.” They now have five locations with a sixth exhibition in production. The UCF/Meow Wolf Writers Workshop engaged Themed Experience MS and MFA candidates as well as recent graduates who presented their unique creative concepts to top Meow Wolf creatives.  

In the spring, we were very excited to find out that the UCF Themed Experience Master of Science degree was accepted as part of the Disney Aspire program. This initiative covers full tuition and some expenses for eligible full-time Disney employees. This has helped open up new opportunities to thousands of potential applicants who seek to obtain a graduate degree that focuses on themed experience and attractions.  

In January, we welcomed Patrick Brennan, former vice president at Walt Disney Imagineering (retired) as a fulltime visiting instructor in the Themed Experience programs. Patrick’s extensive 30-year tenure at Disney, marked by pivotal contributions to iconic parks and attractions, brings invaluable industry expertise to the program. Students have an opportunity to learn from, and work with, accomplished industry leaders as part of their education.  

This past year saw the largest influx of applicants since the inception of the Themed Experience program. Selectivity has increased substantially, still allowing for growth in our incoming MS and MFA cohorts, nearly doubling the size of previous years. Our curriculum offerings have expanded with new electives and additional sections, providing greater choice and flexibility for our students.  

The UCF Themed Experience graduate programs have achieved exceptional strides in growth and partnerships, solidifying their prominence within the realm of themed experiences and attractions. 

— Peter Weishar, director