The relationship between technological innovation, audiovisual technology, and the theme park is nothing new.At early amusement parks, fairground organs provided the music for mechanized carousels, lens and mirrors enthralled at the Camera Obscura dark chamber, and, at Coney Island’s Luna Park in the early 1900s, Fred Thompson designed the first dark ride, ‘A Trip to the Moon’, whereby guests ‘travelled’ by airship to the lunar surface, by clever use of steel cables, a loudspeaker system (announcing ‘All Aboard for A Trip to the Moon’), moving canvases, blinking lights, and a heap of plaster.
As rides and attractions become ever more sophisticated, and story lines more intricate, technology remains fundamental to today’s theme park experience.
Alongside the engineered mechanics of coaster rails, advanced audiovisual systems play an increasing role in ride design. Digital projection, 3D immersives, augmented reality, and virtual reality headsets trigger the senses and foster total immersion in themed narratives. AV technology improves the customer experience in practical ways, from relaying ride information on screens to electronic wristbands that can order food and pay for services.
Is audiovisual thus the ‘core DNA’ of the attractions industry?
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