That's why I saw so many companies offering flying theaters and other, similar installations at the 2016 IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando earlier this month. In my Orange County Register column this week, I highlight two of the new products getting parks' attention at IAAPA: the Flying Theater from DyMoRides and a Motion Theater from Dynamic Attractions.
DyMoRides is widely believed to be developing the Flying Theater for Universal Studios Florida's Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon. And Dynamic Attractions boasts an impressive client line-up, having worked on ride systems for Universal's Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Disney's Soarin'.
The Dynamic Attractions' Motion Theater — which hasn't been attached to any specific park installations yet — was one of my favorite demonstrations at the Expo. With a moving, rotating theater platform, sliding screens and practical sets, the Motion Theater supports the best of screen and live performances, while creating opportunities for some truly fascinating visual tricks. Applied to the right IP, it has the potential to support a top-rated in-park theater experience.
Read Robert's column:
What's your favorite all-time movie theater experience in a theme park? And what do you think of this next generation of flying and moving theaters?Tweet
As for my favorite theme park movie theater attraction, I'd probably have to go with Cinemagique at Walt Disney Studios Paris. It's a basic movie attraction, but the film itself is quite good. If you have to include a ride component, the original Soarin' Over California wins.
The funny thing is that they haven't even topped their first 3D ride, Spider-Man, despite technological advances.
Theatre based attractions are a bit of a different beast. You already go in, planning to be static. The more effective the attraction experience, the more you feel like you're not being static - Minion Mayhem, Soarin', Terminator 3D, and Honey I Shrunk the Kids were at their best when the theatre effects made you feel like you were actually moving within the confines of the theatre.
So, in my humble opinion, if you want to put screens to enhance a moving ride, don't make people stop to watch them. If you want to make people feel like they're moving within the confines of the theatre, do it well, and people will love it.
Seriously, you're inside a show building at 1pm on a 100 degree day, standing on the porch of an Oklahoma or Kansas farmhouse on a cool Autumn evening. No practical set could do what a screen can, when it comes to making you feel like you're there. That attraction required you to be outdoors in the dust bowl. New York building facades aren't going to cut it.
I don't want all the action taking place on a screen, and my Twister example is kind of a unique case, but I do think they can serve a purpose when used sparingly.
Ultimately, I agree with everyone that Universal has become too reliant on screen-based attractions, and I hope they change course soon, because people WILL become tired of it.
Screens can be effective if used properly, but also can easily become standard movieplex fare. The Jimmy Fallon ride will be exactly that.
Have you ever tried sitting in the back seats on Star Tours? The motion is much stronger, more pronounced than in the front. It really feels like you're part of the action on screen.
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