Posted on December 12 2018
"I themed my attractions at Disney parks to allow one to escape into a blissful world of nostalgia, whimsy and fantasy. Through them, you become a child again!" -Walt Disney.
Theme parks & amusement centers are what their name implies. These facilities are more than just a set of amusing experiences in one location; it allows visitors to escape through fantasy from one exciting experience on to another. Through vigilant planning, a precise ambiance is created through the physical and interior design of the park and its component parts, and the dress & attitude of its personnel. Through its rides, exhibits, restaurants, and lodging accommodations, it gives the visitor a total entertainment experience – stimulating them mind, body and soul.
Themed leisure and amusement centers are different from traditional amusement parks not only because they are based on a theme or several themes, but also because of their huge operating scale. The UAE has themed leisure and amusement services like the stand-alone large-scale theme park like the Wild Wadi Water Park in Dubai, or the opulent Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi with one of the world’s most adrenaline-pumping roller coasters – the Formula Rossa (the world’s fastest roller coaster with a top-speed of almost 239 km/hour).
The country also boasts of indoor entertainment centers inside luxury malls like Ski Dubai at the Mall of Emirates, Dubai where visitors can play with penguins and ‘hit the slopes’ inside a freezing temperature-controlled environment, or the Skating Rink at the Dubai Mall where every aspiring figure-skater in Dubai touches down to enjoy an invigorating hour or two skating their woes away! Let’s not forget to add that, all this happens in a land where the temperatures outside can also touch up 50 degrees’ Celsius in peak summers…
Enhancing the Visitor Experience
The amusement industry is greatly concerned with enhancing the visitor experience to any theme park or FEC, thus altering the intensity of the leisure experience and encouraging further developments in other alternate areas such as retailing and merchandising for souvenirs.
The themed entertainment industry allows the development of theme parks and indeed these make-believe 'worlds' offers a greater sense of escapism for the visitor. Europe has also entered an age of extreme theming. Themed restaurants and themed hotels, well established in the United States, are being introduced into Britain and several other European countries as fast as developers can find sites for them.
What If People Want More?
Thus, if theming were becoming more visible in other sectors of the leisure industry, does this suggest that the public demands a more elaborate manner of leisure provision for their enjoyment and escapism in general? Theme parks, however, are developing their attractions with theming and new design techniques to better their product portfolio of attractions and further develop the whole industry. This is undoubtedly due to the issue of competition and a higher level of quality entertainment to entice the consumer. Like storytelling, illustration or musical composition, the design of themed attractions is very much an art form. But it is much more complex because of the need to accommodate all five senses.
Stimulating the Five Senses
The creation of the so-called 'fantasy environments' often means complete immersion for the visitor. Modern ride designers use technology to stimulate all five senses on many modern attractions. These methods have only just been introduced to Britain's developing industry, as arguably, the industry there is somewhat lagging behind counterpart countries, namely the United States. The aforesaid five sense are visual imagery, sound, tactile stimulation, taste and smell. Implementing all of these factors into a theme park ride is often difficult, but only a truly tech-savvy operator knows how to effectively offer a holistic entertainment experience which combines all five senses.