Augmented RealityEntertainment

Can Augmented Reality Help Theme Parks Recover After the Pandemic?

Augmented reality brings a whole new level of interaction to theme park rides.


Instead of gravity-defying and thrill-inducing rides, theme parks are turning to augmented reality to enhance the experience of guests. AR can connect the physical and virtual world, bringing a whole new level of interaction to theme park rides.

But can it help theme parks recover in a post-pandemic world?

Augmented Reality in Theme Parks

Virtual reality rides have been around since 2015. However, they have failed to take off in the way many predicted. One of the reasons for this is that it can trigger motion sickness. Some people experience the same symptoms of motion sickness after being exposed to a virtual environment.

Somehow, women are more prone to VR-related motion sickness than men—and no one knows why. Due to all these uncertainties, there has yet to be a solution for VR-related motion sickness.

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Another issue with VR is that it is cumbersome to set up. Moreover, many parks have realized that the time and cost to make virtual rides might not be worth it.

Augmented reality might just be what parks need to spark curiosity and make every experience worthwhile for guests. As AR content isn’t fully immersive like VR, it might help minimize motion sickness during immersion.

Augmented Reality Rides After the Pandemic

No one knows for sure when the global health crisis will come to an end. But one thing is certain: theme parks are preparing for the post-pandemic world.

Universal Studios Japan just revealed new details of Super Nintendo World. One of the most highly anticipated attractions is the Mario Kart Koopa’s Challenge ride. Augmented reality powers the ride, which enables guests to play in a real-life Mario Kart race.

Since it is a race, guests can compete on the track. However, it won’t exactly be the same as Mario Kart as the ride is set on a rail. That means guests can’t freely drive wherever they want to.

That’s where AR comes in.

Thanks to its immersive power, guests will feel like they are actually participating in a Mario Kart race without compromising their safety.

Universal Studios isn’t the only theme park interested in making AR rides. Legoland New York is also working on an AR-powered ride that transforms guests into Lego minifigures. It is safe even for the youngest members of the family. As there is no minimum height requirement, everyone in the family can participate.

Lego Factory Adventure Ride will debut in 2021 when the park opens.

Can Augmented Reality Succeed in Theme Parks?

Theme parks need to push the limits of new technologies to cater to the needs of modern consumers. Augmented reality opens up endless possibilities for innovation. It can create experiences that guests have never seen before.

At the same time, it can breathe new life into old rides. It can entice people to stay in the parks longer and encourage repeat visits. If done well, it might help theme parks recover in a post-pandemic world.

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Gergana Mileva
the authorGergana Mileva
Based in Prague, CZ, Geri is a freelance journalist and writer, focusing on technology, finance, and marketing. If you have a story suggestion for Geri, you may contact her here.