most popular theme parks are located outdoors. But the opening of Nickelodeon Universe this month in New Jersey and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi last year demonstrate that indoor parks remain attractive for developers. The question is... can indoor parks ever be as successful as their outdoor competition? Do theme park fans find indoor parks at all appealing?All of the world's
Ultimately, it all comes down to the individual park, doesn't it? If an indoor or outdoor park fails to offer an environment or attraction line-up that appeals, you're not going to choose to visit it. So this is really a question about whether you believe an indoor park ever could offer that kind of environment or attraction line-up.
The main appeal of an indoor park over an outdoor one — as a concept — is climate control. Whether it's Ferrari World in the brutal Middle Eastern heat or Nickelodeon Universe in the snowy north of the United States, indoor parks offer their visits the same pleasant conditions every day of the year.
While a controlled environment is great for locals who want to get their thrill ride fix no matter the weather, is that really a draw for travelers? After all, you can spend a comfortable day indoors pretty much anywhere. For many people, getting to great weather is the big attraction on their vacations. Spending a large part of a vacation indoors might be like going to Cedar Point without riding any coasters. Why bother?
There's a reason why America's theme park industry is focused on Southern California and Central Florida. Those are the locations in America with consistently attractive weather that not only allows parks to operate every day of the year but also to make people from all over the country and the world want to visit on almost all of those days.
So an indoor park has to offer an especially compelling attraction line-up and environment to compensate for (a) not being located somewhere that's experiencing great weather or (b) keeping people inside on a day when the weather happens to be great in that location. That leads us to the second major challenge facing indoor parks — it's really freakin' expensive to construct and maintain a building large enough to accommodate all the attractions that you would need to compete with those huge outdoor parks. People don't travel across the country or the world to go on a bunch of carnival flats in the middle of a shopping mall. A world-class theme park needs world class experiences, and those often require a decent amount of acreage to pull off successfully.
Fortunately, the people who design and build theme park attractions can be wonderfully creative. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi supports world-record coasters by siting their load/unload stations inside the climate-controlled park, even though their tracks are located outside the building. Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi uses pretty much every theater design trick in the book to create the illusion of infinite space within its building. And Nickelodeon Universe uses its space efficiently by twisting its record-setting coaster together like a master sculptor.
But is that enough? Are next-generation indoor parks such as Ferrari World, Warner Bros. World, and Nickelodeon Universe enough to entice you to book a trip and spend your money to visit? Or are the developers of indoor theme parks just wasting their time and money at this point?
It's time to vote.
In the comments, please tell us what you need to see from a theme park you haven't visited before in order to convince you to book a trip to it.Tweet
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