4 Examples of Interactive Theme Park Attractions
Posted in Reviews on by Maggie Lane
Although theme parks have always been immersive by nature, interactive technologies have raised the bar on fun. Interactivity is often employed via different methods, including touch-screen games, computer vision and in recent years virtual reality. There are many reasons why a theme park may want to employ some interactive pizazz. These include: enriching pre-existing locations and rides, augmenting queue lines, providing new revenue streams, allowing for organic data collection and social media shares via personalization, and increasing the likelihood of repeat visits.
Given these clear benefits, here are a selection of some of our favorite interactive theme park attractions employing these methods:
SEAWORLD - THE KRAKEN UNLEASHED
This new deployment of this ride is a hybrid which has become a trend in recent years. Although the experience is technically non-interactive VR, it bears mentioning as it is quite an achievement. Using the pre-existing Kraken ride in Orlando, Florida, passengers now have the option to wear a VR headset and headphones on the coaster. In the experience, users are part of a deep dive mission alongside various sea creatures, including the kraken herself. They will hear 360 sound effects and music as they continue on their virtual (and actual) journey, as well as enjoy visuals that sync perfectly to the coaster’s trajectory. As VR headsets are new to many, park organizers make sure to showcase video footage on how to put on a VR headset while guests wait in line -- an important feature when helping users become comfortable with new technology.
SEAWORLD - OCEAN EXPLORER SUBMARINE QUEST
Seaworld has been very busy revamping their attractions in recent years and is worthy of a second entry, especially as this attraction is really meant to be a people mover. As a people mover catered for small children, the ride earns extra kudos for its interactivity as it really enhances the experience. Admittedly and in full disclosure we are a bit biased on this one!
The content for the main attraction / people mover called Submarine Quest was produced by X Studios and partner Nth Degree who lead all graphical efforts. The nearly three minute ride takes guests through an immersive adventure, where they encounter eels, jellyfish, giant crabs and even a giant octopus. The ride was specifically designed for families with young children. The ride vehicles feature an interactive touch-screen that help progress the attraction, with a series of games giving younger riders an interactive element. The system intelligently determines your level of difficulty and adjusts the games in real-time.
This experience opened May 5, 2016 at Legoland in California. It allows riders to master their Ninja skills by using motion-capture hand-sensors as opposed to traditional controllers or guns. The Ninjago ride (inspired by Lego’s Ninjago TV series/ toys) was overseen by the Canadian company Triotech. Fittingly, they call this gesture based technology “maestro.”
Guided by the Ninjago character Master Wu and wearing 3D glasses, riders attack enemies that jump out of the large screens using virtual orbs and lighting. Along the way, external special effects increase drama and excitement, and scores are tracked. By allowing for competition between family members/riders, the experience can have an impact even after the ride is over.
UPCOMING - STAR WARS LAND
Big news came out of D23 this week, as the Star Wars theme park in Florida was announced. In addition to the expected fare of rides and a Cantina, the masterminds at Disney are bringing things to the next level. By collecting data related to each visitor, the park will be tracking your individual “storyline” based on your performance and interactions throughout the park. Not only that, but if you really want a complete interactive Star Wars experience, you can stay in the branded Star Wars hotel. In this space, all cast members will be in costume/character. Your “storyline” will supposedly effect every minute of your day, and windows in the hotel will show only space.
Whatever your reason may be for wanting an interactive experience, an experienced company like X Studios can help you custom develop and design immersive interactive elements. After all, as technology improves, it is all the more important for parks to up their game and keep visitors entertained in new ways.