When a theme park undergoes an expansion project, the sky should be the limit. Unfortunately, theme parks can quickly consume large parcels of land. This is especially true when a park starts to attract a loyal following. Unfortunately, few parks have access to unlimited acreage.
Understandably this creates a difficult situation as parks find themselves trying to grow in landlocked environments. Unfortunately, this all too common situation means that theme parks need to resort to creative approaches as they continue to evolve the park experience with exciting new opportunities for guests.
Especially when relying on traditional rides, theme parks need to make difficult decisions. One choice is to encroach on the leisure space that families associate with the overall experience. However, if parks want to continue providing a meaningful experience, they need to protect the comfort level. People are already waiting in lines. They do not want to visit parks where it’s difficult or worse completely uncomfortable to move around.
Another option is to start replacing older possibly tired rides with newer, faster rides that better appeal to guest demands. In some instances, rides run their course, and it is time for something new. However, regularly replacing rides can also alienate a guest population that has long exhibited loyalty to the park. Simply ask any guest, and most can quickly point to a ride they miss at their favorite park.
Space friendly option
Perhaps the best option for land locked parks is to start embracing the dark ride trend. The reason why is quite clear. These attractions are indoor rides that consume far less space – often moderate sized facilities that can house the ride as well as a related shopping and/or dining experience.
By design, dark rides have the unique ability to leverage a mix of audiovisual (AV) technologies including projectors, interactive displays, augmented or mixed reality tools and sound systems to deliver truly immersive experiences. The type of experiences that can be difficult to achieve in any other environment.
Now is the time to pull the curtain back and discover the many opportunities that dark rides represent.
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This post is part of a six-post series taking a deeper dive into the dark ride trend. We will address the reasons behind the trend, the technology involved and why they make sense for today’s theme parks. Be sure to check back soon for the next post.