The global theme park and attractions industry is recovering from the pandemic with a vengeance. Many postponed or scrapped projects are back on pace with goals of opening in 2022, 2023, and beyond. While the industry still carries its share of challenges, we can align our focus with optimism and excitement.
Many highly-anticipated attractions have already opened in 2022, with many more parks, attractions, and themed environments coming soon. Taking a glimpse into the near future, here are five attractions to look out for and specific lessons that can be taken and implemented into your existing venue.
Balancing theme with culture Sanya Hello Kitty Theme Park Resort
The first full-scale Hello Kitty theme park is under construction in southern China and is expected to open in 2025. This destination resort will include a theme park, hotel, and shopping district, all to boost tourism in the region and on the island. While Hello Kitty is the magnet that officials intend to draw visitors their way, the resort also intends to introduce local culture in its offerings to expand the region's significance.
Full immersion at Super Nintendo World
Building on the blockbuster success at Universal Studios Japan, Mario, Luigi, and the rest are expanding their footprint to Universal Studios Hollywood in 2023. Universal teaches that guests should be put right in the middle of the action when connecting guests with their favorite characters and games. This includes every detail, from the environment to how they experience attractions, and even the food that is served should be unique to the world in which your guests enter.
Being true to your audience at LEGOLAND Korea Resort
LEGOLAND, which currently has properties across the US, Europe, and Asia, is expected to open its 10th full-scale theme park in May 2022, approximately 90 minutes from Seoul, South Korea. In true LEGOLAND fashion, the themed lands, rides, shows, and attractions are geared toward a laser-focus demographic of children between two and 12. This specific audience guides the development of attractions and experiences, and rather than trying to be everything to everyone, they serve their target demographic to the fullest extent.
Embrace your unique elements in Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
The long-awaited replacement to Ellen’s Universe of Energy is finally coming to Epcot. In May 2022, Walt Disney World will be opening the park’s first roller coaster in its nearly 40-year history, themed to the popular Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. While it might not be breaking any records for tallest, fastest, or steepest, it possesses several uncommon features that beef up its marketability. This includes the first-ever reverse launch on a Disney coaster and one of the world's largest fully-enclosed roller coasters. Additionally, ride vehicles rotate 360 degrees to direct guests’ attention and focus. What are the unique elements of your attractions or experiences that you can use to promote them?
No IP necessary at Lost Island Theme Park
The examples above are anchored in brands that you’ve likely heard of and have possibly consumed some form of their content. While IP appears to reign supreme in the themed entertainment industry, a theme park can still carry a theme without partnering with a movie studio or toy brand. In Waterloo, Iowa, the brand new Lost Island Theme Park owners plan to do precisely that. By focusing on a strong Polynesian theme, Lost Island intends to immerse visitors into stories and environments that stand on their own, even without the beloved characters or brands mentioned in the previous examples.
What other attractions are you most looking forward to opening soon?