Amusement Parks & Tech
Technology & Amusement parks
Amusement parks may seem like an odd pick for cutting-edge technology at first glance. But when you take a closer look, it becomes no surprise.
The type of technological advancements that we often talk about on this blog are relatively new to the world. Thus, they’re expensive. These gadgets will come into play little by little over the years slowly but surely.
In many areas, the technology that will enter our daily lives down the line will first be experienced and appear at the Amusement park.
Historically speaking, Disney first took a shot at VR theme parks back in 1998 with rides like Alladin’s Magic Carpet Ride and Mighty Duck’s Pinball Slam. The area was confined to a specific space and riders would sit there and wear huge VR goggles. The complex closed in favor of an NBA facility in 2017. While this was innovative at the time by Disney, this experience won’t even hold a candle to what will be rolled out in the coming years.
To give you a glimpse of what is transpiring even now: In 2018, China also opened a park with over 40 VR-Focused rides. The price tag to build this? 1.5 billion dollars.
Until VR technology becomes the norm and less expensive, these outlandish theme parks will not be mass-produced domestically in our country, let alone be the norm in our living rooms.
According to a customer engagement technology company named Omnico, 89 percent of theme park visitors who were studied opted in favor of VR to enhance their experiences. Not surprising. And further evidence that VR would and will change the game in due time.
Let’s look at what lies ahead:
· Ride engineers will be able to know exactly how to provoke a certain reaction on a human being during a specific rollercoaster ride.
· “Active Skin”, a technology rumored to be in development, will allow us to share the euphoria that we feel on rides with others not present when we are describing it to them.
· One day we may even be able to control what happens on a roller coaster ride just by thinking it into existence.
· Figures will jump out at you on rides. Amusement Park workers, at least human employees, will become an afterthought. They will be replaced by technologically-driven figures in the air that direct you to your ride, answer any questions you may have.
· RFID will come into play. This is wearable wristband tech that will have your identity and personal information (credit card etc.) saved right on your wrist. Are you too short for a ride? Zippo chance of sneaking in.
· Through wearable tech, creating your own highlight reel of your day at the park will become a must do – sharing it to friends and family on social media.
· Ordering food and navigating your way around the park will also become a much more simplified process through apps that aid you with swift guidance and even delivery capabilities right in the park.
· Technology will be developed to monitor how long guests are waiting in line for rides and what they do during that time. Solutions will be developed through VR and smartphone applications to amplify this formerly dull aspect of amusement parks.
· A specific example of what is coming: Europa Park opened the first Roam and Ride VR Rollercoaster. This ride begins with guests strapping on their VR goggles and entering an alternate world based off a movie. After roaming around for a bit, guests are strapped into an actual roller coaster. Once strapped in, still in the alternate universe, the ride begins. This is just the tip of the iceberg for where we are headed.
· Money. While VR technology was originally dubbed as a cost-effective way to enhance rides for amusement park goers, this has proved not to be the case. Six Flags invested a solid chunk of change in VR around 2015. What they found: the time it took for guests to put on their headsets and the complications that ensued immensely increased ride times. Not to mention the glitches that occurred. Park employees must be rigorously trained on how to deal with headset cleanliness issues and technological glitches that occur. This costs money.
All this technology will do two things: Increase guest satisfaction and enhance the health safety aspect of an amusement park post-pandemic.
Just writing this blog makes me want to go to an amusement park soon. The possibilities are endless.
What think you?