How guests move through a theme park has become a hot topic in the last few years. We have covered this topic extensively here at TPU with the addition of Tapu Tapu at Volcano Bay, FastPass Plus at Disney and even Universal’s push towards adding Virtual Line to their parks moving forward. Today we are going to take a dive into a new technology that Alterface debuted at the 2017 International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) in Orlando known as Wander.
Instead of using a smartphone or even paper tickets to help move people around a park, Alterface’s proposed system uses an infrared device to keep track of where guests are. That device can be anything from a compass to a talisman and in the case of what was being demonstrated at IAAPA, a wand. Each guest in the park would be assigned a wand that has a unique signal associated with that particular user.
Once inside the park, guests are instructed to go and visit one of several central distribution points. You’d wave your wand over a screen (perhaps a book with projection mapping) and it will assign you an activity based on what lines may be shortest, the type of activities you may be interested in (kiddie rides versus roller coasters) and what you’ve done thus far at the park.
The Wander system can not only send you to rides, it can also assign you to character meet and greets, shows and even interactive games using the wand. That wand can even become interactive in the queues of attractions. Furthermore, it could be used on an actual dark ride where you need to cast spells or move objects around to win points.
Those points could then be accumulated throughout the day and be displayed at those central meeting points if you’re interested in competing against friends and family. In addition, the concept could carry over to museums or family entertainment centers. Or it could be scaled down to only work within one dark ride. It could be handed out at the entrance and used throughout the queue and onboard a ride vehicle.
Just like any other device designed to help minimize wait times, there are positives and negatives. On one hand, the same device that helps move you around the park also becomes an interactive gaming device that keeps track of not only what you’ve done, but how many points you’ve accumulated. In that respect, it is far more customized and interactive than other devices such as a TapuTapu. On the other hand, maybe the system sends me to a roller coaster… and for no other reason… I don’t want to go. Maybe I’m not feeling well or maybe I would rather wait for a dark ride, despite the long line.
Then there is the central meeting point where all guests are assigned their next activity. It’s far more convenient to reserve a time slot on your phone than continuing to criss-cross a theme park to get back to these central distribution points. Plus, you put that wand in the hands of small children and you know it’s going to get lost, forgotten or dropped on a ride. What do you think? Is this the future of moving guests throughout a park? Or is this just the next evolution in stand-alone attractions like Magiquest? Would love to hear your feedback.
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