The lure of thrill rides has long been an important part of the draw to theme parks. Typically, thrill rides are thought of as roller coasters, but they can just as likely be tower drops, spinning rides, swings or other theme park experiences. All of these rides make guests’ hearts race and cause them to scream with excitement. The addition of well thought out audio, video, and lighting elements however, can further enhance the ride experience.
Before guests even enter the queue area, hearing the sounds of the ride, along with exposure to other available tools can heighten and prolong their experience, making them more likely to return again and again. Adding digital signage at the entrance of the queue area can provide background information about the ride and indicate any health requirements. Using a digital sign instead of a static one also allows for the inclusion of multiple languages and updated wait times.
The impact of simply changing the atmosphere cannot be overlooked. Creating a curtain of smoke or fog at the entrance clearly indicates to the guest that they are entering a different area. It can also be done much more subtly with changes in ambient sound or by making the ambience more present with louder music and sounds tied to the ride’s theme and story. If the queue is used at night, the addition of effects lighting can greatly increase suspense and excitement.
As guests grow closer to the load area, content can be adjusted to provide more detailed information to the guest, such as reminding them to secure their loose objects or that lockers will be available on the platform. These messages can be included in the background ambience and designed to be part of the theming of the attraction. Reinforcing the same information via digital signage or video displays can also help meet accessibility requirements.
Once guests arrive at the ride’s load area, the process of boarding the vehicle can be assisted by audio, video, and lighting. The ability to light up a pathway that people should follow can help guide riders to proper and safe areas. Adding video load instructions can clearly explain the process, so people are familiar with it before entering the vehicle. Using prerecorded instructions can ensure that the information is consistent, easily understood, and delivered in an authoritative yet friendly way.
A launch countdown or additional lighting foreshadowing the imminent movement of the ride vehicle can significantly enhance the excitement. Integrating audio into the ride, like on a lift hill of a roller coaster, can also help build the exhilaration of the thrills to come. Adding lighting, especially at night on an outdoor ride, can be used to further increase excitement. Not only does lighting make the ride more visible to potential riders, the lights can be animated to complement the motion of the ride vehicle.
These are just a few of the many ways thrill rides and theme parks can be enhanced by the addition of audio, video, and lighting. Operating and managing the AVL technology for a thrill ride can still be simple and intuitive by integrating the devices using a control system. A central controller like the AMX NetLinx NX Series can control and manage all of the AVL devices in the system. The operator can use a touch-based control panel to initiate configurable macros that start audio and video messaging, lighting routines and more. This keeps the operation complexity to a minimum while creating a great experience for the guest.
Do you have experience designing AVL for thrill rides and other theme park attractions? Tell us in the comments how you used AVL to improve the experience for operators and guests.