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The Evolution of Theme Parks

An Executive Voices Blog by Melissa Oviedo, VP of Marketing and Client Development at Nassal and President of the Themed Entertainment Association’s (TEA) International Board of Directors

As the Vice President of Marketing and Client Development for a leading construction company that specializes in creating immersive experiences like theme parks, museums, and various area attractions, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing the evolution of location-based entertainment (LBE) first-hand. In this rapidly changing landscape, where technology and consumer preferences continuously shape the industry, understanding the pivotal role of theme parks in licensing strategies is essential for both brand owners and park operators.

Gone are the days when theme parks were limited to roller coasters and carousel rides. Today, they encompass a vast spectrum of attractions that cater to diverse audiences, ranging from adrenaline junkies to culture enthusiasts. These modern theme parks seamlessly blend cutting-edge technology, storytelling prowess, and immersive design to create unforgettable experiences.

From augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) adventures that transport visitors to fantastical realms to meticulously recreated historical scenes in museums that engage and educate, the world of LBE has expanded beyond imagination. Thrill rides intertwine with interactive exhibits, live shows, and personalized experiences to make each visit an all-encompassing journey.

Forging Partnerships

The creation of these enthralling experiences hinges on the collaboration between brand owners and park operators. These partnerships entail a delicate balance of creative input, strategic alignment, and resource sharing. Brand owners bring their established intellectual properties and narratives, while park operators contribute their expertise in designing, constructing, and operating attractions.

The brand owner benefits by extending their intellectual property into a tangible, immersive format, strengthening brand loyalty and tapping into a new revenue stream. Park operators, on the other hand, gain access to beloved characters and stories that draw in crowds, fostering repeat visits and positive word-of-mouth.

Mutual Benefits: Brand Owners and Park Operators

For brand owners, the benefits are multifold. Not only does the partnership generate licensing revenue, but it also acts as a powerful marketing tool. The physical embodiment of their brand in a theme park cultivates emotional connections with consumers, ultimately driving sales across various product categories.

Park operators, meanwhile, enjoy increased foot traffic and extended dwell times. The themed attractions provide a unique selling proposition, setting their parks apart in a competitive market. Additionally, the immersive experiences offered by these collaborations often result in higher visitor satisfaction, leading to repeat business and positive reviews.

Recent Examples of Successful Theme Park Offerings

Consider the mind-boggling success of FantasiaWorld in France, a recent theme park offering that leverages the latest in holographic technology. Visitors step into beloved animated movies, interacting with characters that seem to leap out of the screen. The park intelligently integrates digital elements with physical environments, creating a truly enchanting experience that resonates across generations.

Another compelling example is Huis Ten Bosch, in Japan. One of its most unique and technologically advanced attractions is the use of humanoid robots for various functions within the park. These humanoid robots are a major draw for visitors, greeting guests at the entrance, guiding them around the park, and even performing in musical shows. This integration of cutting-edge technology creates a futuristic and memorable experience. Huis Ten Bosch’s success is driven by its ability to seamlessly integrate technology into the theme park experience, creating a unique and futuristic atmosphere that resonates with visitors of all ages.

Advice for Aspiring Partners

For those considering a partnership with a theme park for a branded experience, thorough due diligence is paramount. Understand your target audience and how the theme park’s demographic aligns with your brand. Collaborate closely with the park’s creative team, ensuring that the essence of your brand is seamlessly woven into the experience. Strive for authenticity—visitors can discern genuine experiences from mere marketing ploys. 

Key Players Shaping the Theme Park Landscape

Several industry leaders are defining the future of theme parks and LBE. ImmerseWorld is at the forefront of creating hyper-realistic worlds through its state-of-the-art VR technology. InnovateX Parks specializes in transforming educational content into engaging experiences that cater to all ages. And Enchanted Realms is gaining traction with its adaptive storytelling, allowing visitors to influence the narrative’s outcome.

Future Opportunities in LBE

The LBE landscape is poised for exponential growth in the coming years. As technology advances, opportunities to enhance interactivity, personalization, and immersion will flourish. AR and VR will continue to play pivotal roles, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. Furthermore, the integration of AI-driven experiences and gamification elements will captivate audiences in novel ways.

The evolution of theme parks into multi-faceted, technology-driven entertainment hubs is revolutionizing the licensing landscape. Collaborative partnerships between brand owners and park operators yield mutual benefits, amplifying brand reach and enriching visitor experiences.

As we journey into 2024 and beyond, the world of location-based entertainment promises even more innovative and captivating possibilities, cementing its position as a driving force in the entertainment industry.

About Nassal
Nassal, a part of the PCL family of companies, is one of the largest leading specialty scenic and rockwork fabricators, focusing on delivering immersive experiences for theme parks, attractions, zoos, aquariums, live events, museums, and destinations around the world.

About TEA
The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) is the international, non-profit association representing the world’s leading creators, developers, designers, and producers of compelling places and experiences—worldwide. The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) encompasses a community of more than 1,200 member companies in 40 countries with expertise in storytelling, design, economics, logistics, architecture, construction, and manufacturing.

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