A new role for dark rides?

Slides have a greater attention value in amusement parks than dark rides. With large roller coasters falling in price (although rising material costs are once again driving up prices), providers of dark rides are finding it increasingly difficult to position themselves.

The dark ride Marsipulami (by Boldmove)

They are sort of forced to develop other attraction concepts that are smaller, smarter and ultimately cheaper. These compact rides also prove to be attractive for new places such as. FECs and shopping malls.

Benoit Cornet (m) visiting Amsterdam

That’s one of the conclusions from the interview with Benoit Cornet, CEO of concept developer Boldmove Nation and board member of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). Cornet: “These more compact attractions play a different role in an amusement park. For example, they require a smaller area, which makes it easier to find a space in an existing park structure. It is a challenge for us as concept developers to realize these new attractions at a lower price, without compromising too much on experience value and capacity. We can draw on our own market knowledge in combination with a very strong international partner network of experts in areas such as storytelling, experience design, media development, activation, riding techniques, etc. ”

To start an attraction from problem solving

Cornet started BoldMove Nation BV together with business partner Anja D’Hondt in 2021 after leaving its company Alterface. With Boldmove Nation, Cornet says he returns to the design table: “I want to focus more on ‘problem solving’. The market’s needs change, and you have to adapt the attraction concepts accordingly. In amusement parks, for example, there is less and less space for large projects that requires a lot of space and there is often underutilized space with little experience.This has been a reason why we have developed more compact attractions.With Smash & Reload we have been able to gain a lot of space through a rotating setting and use of interactive projections.Our latest VR attraction ‘Waterslider VR’ even fits in a lake container.This attraction was originally developed as a simulator of water slides for countries where men and women prefer not to meet in swimwear and it is also wheelchair accessible. This is also a form of problem solving, with an eye for spaciousness.Once you have developed a new attraction, you often see opportunities for other uses is. Waterslider VR is an innovative attraction with a fun virtual reality experience for guests in swimming pools and water parks. The compact Smash & Reload, which you can place in a room of 12 x 12 m, also offers options for, for example, a shopping center or FEC. ”

New techniques, new opportunities

The development of new techniques also offers the attraction market new opportunities. For example, the advent of interactive projection technology, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality has led to many new concepts. Cornet wants to be a forerunner in this area: “If you want to develop new attractions, you need a comprehensive set of tools. The smaller, more compact dark rides have a more modest price tag, so you need to customize your design accordingly. You can reduce costs by standardizing the basic technology. The park also saves money because of the smaller buildings. Or an existing space may take on a new meaning, for example, we are currently transforming a former 4D cinema into a Smash & Reload dark ride. We also choose to add a great story and theme to our attractions. The attraction itself, often a form of play, determines the attraction. where you safe does not to cut down on is the sensory quality of an attraction. The image and sound must be in top quality and the feeling and smell also play a role in the overall experience.

The lasting role of IP

According to Cornet, Intellectual Property (the well-known characters) remains an attraction with great added value. BoldMove has itself entered into a contract with Mediatoon Licensing, which manages, among other things, cartoon heroes such as Marsupilami and Lucky Luke. When we ask if most A-marks in the IP area have already been awarded, Cornet has an alternative: “You can quite easily reduce a B-mark to an A-mark if you manage to get enough media attention with it . to create. For example, we have used Marsupilami in our attraction, which we profile as a sustainable companion during your adventures. In Belgium and France, the character of ‘Marsupilami’ is still known by a wide audience, also through Spirou. There is a new digital game for Playstation and soon there will be a children’s series for different TV channels. Such a thing can give the character a strong impulse and push it more towards the A-label. Our IP holder has now developed 400 quality products around Marsupilami for a strong merchandising program. The southern French Parc Spirou is the first to develop a Marsipulami zone with attractions around this IP. It turns out that the sale of the products is a real blockbuster, with which the extra costs of the IP license can easily be recovered. ”

Boldmove Nation is a fairly young company, and also started in a crisis period, but has quite quickly been able to build a strong reputation and portfolio. Through creativity, commitment and market knowledge, the team even develops and installs the first attractions together with partners. There are also advanced discussions with locations in the Netherlands and Belgium about the location of attractions – sometimes in unexpected places. More information about this soon on this website.

Thanks to: Benoit Cornet from www.boldmove-nation.com

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