When Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure opened at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the rollercoaster garnered rave reviews from industry veterans who were used to riding ever bigger, taller, and scarier rides. They were thrilled to experience a ride that went above and beyond superlatives and theming, which, in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, is an incredible feat indeed.
Dubbed a “story coaster” by Universal Studios – emphasising the focus on the storyline and journey that riders take – this ride is not so much a rollercoaster as it is an experience. From the get-go, riders are drawn into the story within an intricate setting, immersive visuals, and thrilling twists and turns. It’s been lauded as the best ride in the entire park, and not because it’s the tallest or fastest, but the most immersive one of them all.
The success of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure follows a trend in recent years, which is seeing the industry move towards not only adding theming and more narratives to their rides but also offering an additional dimension that enhances the experience riders get. In short, bigger, taller, and faster isn’t synonymous with “better” anymore. What makes a ride truly memorable is the unique experience that a guest had being on it.
How tech can add to the experience
At WhiteWater, we’ve sought to think outside the box to create experiences that go beyond the thrill, so guests can look forward to an experience that they’ll remember for years to come.
With the leaps in technology in the past few decades, we’ve been able to create our latest product, Vantage, which benefits both the operator and park guests. It used to be that park operators would build rides that they think guests would enjoy, and guests would visit and pick the rides that looked most fun to them. Now, with Vantage, operators can actually see how well a ride is performing at any time, figure out exactly who enjoys them, and deploy their resources accordingly. This enables them to deliver more tailored, personalised experiences to their guests while using relevant data to make strategic decisions.
Guests, on the other hand, can create their own in-park experiences with customisable themes and playlists while on attractions, share memorable moments on social media instantly, earn points for park perks, locate their friends, find out which attractions have shorter queue lines, and much more. Vantage offers a rare win-win scenario for both operator and guest by creating an additional layer of immersion and interactivity for both parties.
Putting pretty to use
AquaLucent has long been an integral part of our slides, but far from being just pretty it can also be designed to create an enhanced experience for guests. Because of the shapes and colours we can create with AquaLucent, it can be used in so many unique ways to alter a rider’s perception. One of our newest installations, Infinity Racers at Schlitterbahn Galveston Island – which is two AquaTube mat racers side-by-side – features vertical dashes of multi-coloured AquaLucent on one slide that, when riders go down, make them feel like they are travelling through space. On the other slide, we installed AquaLucent rings instead, making it seem as though riders are going through a portal into deep space. It’s a surreal experience that elevates the ride.
It’s all about interactivity
With families and friends visiting parks to spend quality time with each other, we try to focus on interactivity. This is reflected in one of our rides, Raft Battle, on which guests can engage in epic water battles either with occupants of another raft or as spectators watching from the sidelines.
Slides can also be gamified, as can be seen in the newly installed Over/Under Slideboarding raft ride at Wuxi Sunac Water World at the Wuxi Resort in China.
A first-of-its-kind fusion waterslide, the Over/Under is the world’s first interactive multi-player gaming waterslide. Featuring WhiteWater’s first installations of Team Slideboarding and Double Exit Manta, the attraction challenges teams to work together in order to score enough points to be rewarded with a thrilling victory lap and avoid the shame of the losers’ exit.
The Selector raft ride at Guangzhou Sunac Water World allows guests to select unique slide paths and combinations. The ride gives guests control over which combinations of four paths they want to go down. Each path was designed to provide a different ride experience, encouraging repeat rides by enabling guests to experience each of the four combinations.
Groups of up to six riders vote on which path they want to try out because each path offers a different combination of thrilling, high-speed sections with more relaxed, less intense sections.
Looking beyond traditional superlatives is the way of the future – after all, one can only be the biggest, tallest, and longest for a short time before being eclipsed. Creating a memorable ride experience that someone treasures eternally, however, is something that stands the test of time.