Universal Parks & Resorts and Nintendo recently announce official plans to create a Nintendo-themed world in all three Universal parks in Orlando, Hollywood and Japan, and with that comes several recent patent applications from Universal Studios that could offer a taste of what the future of theme parks holds. From drifting cars to simulator rides, innovations in theme park technology are creating the future of amusement parks as we speak. The hit HBO show “Westworld” features an amusement park where visitors pay to live among robotic hosts, something experts say isn’t too far off. What type of technology can we expect will be shaping our theme parks in not-so-distant future?
More so than ever, interactivity will be at the center of nearly every ride experience. Attraction experts believe that interactive technology will be evolved to a point where guests can have connections with characters while having “story lines personally directed toward them,” says Dennis Speigel, president of the International Theme Park Services consulting firm. Like ‘Westworld’, “there will be interaction between guests and families who have never met. It will be a totally immersive experience … like being in a play or movie,” says Speigel. While home entertainment, such as virtual reality, will have evolved and be more common at home, theme parks offer the social experiences that make guests want to come back.
According to Picsolve, a provider of world class imagery capture and distribution platforms who recently released its latest insight report ‘Theme Park of the Future’, 87% of amusement park guests claim that they’d be more likely to visit a park if VR was included on the rides. If theme parks included digital images that used AR (actual reality) video technology to bring moments to life, 88% would be more likely to head to a theme park. Theme park operators such as Merlin Entertainments and Six Flags are already integrating VR technology into their rides and attractions. Not only can VR be used to create incredible ride experiences, it can also create a guest’s photography moments, with 94% of visitors surveyed by Picsolve saying they would be interested in using VR headsets to view their ride photography or videos while in the park. With theme parks reaching their limits when it comes to the physical nature of ride experiences, virtual reality experiences can help theme parks stand out from the rest of the competition.
The theme park and attraction industry is discovering how the evolution of technology is having a ‘domino’ effect on existing park services such as photography, with a massive 94% of consumers interested in using VR headsets to browse and view ride photography and videos while at the park. By 2030, it is suggested that theme parks will have undergone a technological revolution to create a fully immersive and connected experience that guests can enjoy long after leaving the parks. Your entire theme park experience could even be filmed using 360-degree photography that follows you around throughout your visit, and 90% of photos would be downloaded via the theme parks own app.
Theme parks are already getting into the trend of updating queue lines to be more interactive to help guests feel as if their waits are shorter and that their time waiting doesn’t seem wasted. Many guests would believe that this type of entertainment would improve their trip overall, with 97% of visitors surveyed demanding more entertainment in the queue lines. Other things that guests wanted to see within the queue line when surveyed includes sensory experiences like different smells or things to touch, an app that coincides with the ride that features games, videos and entertainment, performing actors, holograms and videos, and dedicated selfie photo points.
Wearable gadgets like smart watches and fitness trackers are popular among guests to create a connected experience within theme park. This includes using them as a purchasing method, checking wait times, and more. Guest demands for the future include linking theme park photography all in their wearable tech, tracking your heart rate and adrenaline levels on rides, and monitoring their steps taken through the park.
What technologies would you like to see implemented in the future of your favorite theme parks? Do you think there will be a big shift into digital experiences as a means to create a more connected theme park experience? Shop discount Orlando theme park tickets and begin enjoying the future of theme parks as we see it today!