Universal Studios theme parks are constantly evolving to keep up with changing technology — and one of the most exciting recent developments has been the integration of metaverse technologies into Universal’s attractions.
The metaverse promises to merge digital and virtual worlds – and theme parks like Universal are using a combination of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to create magical experiences for guests.
Let's take a look at how Universal Studios is entering the metaverse and what their latest attractions mean for the future of theme parks.
Mario Kart Gets the Metaverse Treatment
At Universal Studios in Japan, one of the most popular rides is Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge. This ride takes place inside a replica of Bowser's Castle. At the entrance to the ride, you get to put on Mario’s iconic red cap, as well as an augmented reality headset attached to the cap.
Then you experience a physical ride that is merged with digital elements. For example, you shoot targets by looking at them through your AR headset and even compete with other guests as you're playing the game.
King Kong Roars in 3D
The King Kong: 360 3D experience is an attraction included in the Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood.
This ride takes you on an immersive journey through a recreated version of Skull Island from Peter Jackson's 2005 movie, King Kong. All guests put on 3D glasses to see the action in a realistic and engaging way.
The attraction begins with a pre-show experience where visitors are introduced to the backstory and character of King Kong. Visitors then board a tram and take a simulated journey through a jungle environment.
As the tram progresses, visitors encounter various obstacles, including a stampede of dinosaurs, a battle between King Kong and a giant serpent, and a final confrontation between King Kong and a group of attacking helicopters. The 3D projection technology used in the attraction creates a highly immersive experience that makes visitors feel as though they are right in the middle of the action.
The attraction is also notable for its use of sound and special effects — including wind and water elements you can actually feel — which add to the overall experience.
An Immersive Mission With Jason Bourne
At Universal Studios in Orlando, there’s also a new theater experience, the Bourne Stuntacular. This experience is based on the Bourne action films and really showcases the possibilities for the future of theater.
During the live show, guests witness a series of stunts and fight scenes performed by a cast of performers. The action includes high-speed chase scenes, martial arts battles, and even a daring rooftop escape. The live show is supported by high-tech special effects, including projection screens, pyrotechnics, and other theatrical effects.
The Bourne Stuntacular is a great example of how theme park attractions are incorporating cutting-edge technology and live entertainment to create immersive experiences that are unlike anything else.
A Glimpse Into the Future of Theme Parks
The ways Universal has integrated metaverse technologies have the potential to completely revolutionize theme parks worldwide.
As technology continues to advance, theme park designers will create even more innovative and immersive travel and recreational experiences — so we’ll likely continue to see a lot more “ooh-ing” and “aah-ing” from excited crowds.