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Intimate Themed Experience instead of massive theme parks

 
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dman383



Joined: 27 Apr 2008
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 9:19 am    Post subject: Intimate Themed Experience instead of massive theme parks Reply with quote

Hello Everyone,

I'm new to the board here, though a huge Disney park fan and just wanted your opinions on some of my thoughts on the future of the industry and hopefully it isn't too long for all to read.

Anyways, I've just relocated to Asia and see the theme park craze that has taken over internationally with mega-billion projects opening everywhere from Dubai to Singapore to Korea. I somehow feel that in this whole process, many of the parks lose that intimate feel of pure escapism that we used to get in all the Disney parks.

Ever since hearing about Disney's UEC (Urban Entertainment Center) concept, I began thinking that this type of experience has the most potential in the future.

Instead of building a massive billion dollar theme park with so much risk, why not build more intimate themed environments in the heart of a city where the experience and risk is more manageable, thus being applicable to more cities as only so many theme parks can be built.

As much as I love going on the Back to the Future ride or walking through the World Showcase at Epcot, I never really feel as if I'm actually in Hill Valley or the respective country I'm walking through. The fact is the crowds and size of all theme parks make it impossible for them to properly manage that experience.

I guess you could say I'm thinking something more along the lines of Discovery Cove or the new night-park at WDW, but even smaller and more themed.

Imagine a smaller environment where you actually feel like you're in the world that's advertising, with living breathing people (actors) instead of animatronics.

For example, imagine a small complex themed towards time travel in Shanghai where when you step through the doors, you walk into an ancient market where you actually feel as if you were in Ancient China. Though it may be restricted to only a few shops and restaurants, the authentication would far surpass anything you've seen and feel more intimate since the crowds would be much less. To add appeal, you could even throw in a dark ride similar to Spaceship Earth that could take you through the history of that city.

Obviously these won't be multi-day resort destination type of environments, but just somewhere both locals and tourists alike would goto on any given day just to soak up the atmosphere, food, service, etc. If tied into a time travel type theme, it can even help promote the history of a city in a more fun/interactive way than a museum.

Look forward to hearing your comments soon.

Derek
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icandrawem2



Joined: 16 Aug 2007
Posts: 171

PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Derek, welcome to the message boards!

A few months ago nate mentioned RDEs (or retail/dining experience) in one of his posts, saying how those are a big larger than FECs but smaller than the normal theme park. This sounds similar to what you are describing. The majority of the RDEs i have seen, esp in the Orlando area, do carry some sort of theme or a variety of themes, thought maybe not as themed as a park or attraction. Im speaking of CityWalk and Downtown Disney specifically, if you can classify those as RDEs. I really enjoy those type of venues alot of times since they dont have an admission price and they can be fun places to hang out. They are building something in Charlotte NC (where i currently live) downtown that has the cineplex, bowling alleys, bars restaurants etc etc. all jammed together in one block. Its not themed or anything but im sure it will be popular with all the influx of people moving into uptown (there are more condos going up than you can shake a stick at) As far as risk, this idea naturally carries less risk than a multi billion dollar park, all depending on where it goes of course. I think that idea youre talking about with the Shanghai thing sounds pretty cool, especially if its geared towards edu-tainment. I think alot of museums are headed in that direction these days anyway (with the 4-D theaters and totally immersive/interactive exhibits)

And what is all this about a night-park at Disney? Rumors aside, is this something that has been announced publicly? Its news to me.
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icandrawem2



Joined: 16 Aug 2007
Posts: 171

PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well nevermind that last question about Night Kingdom...I did a little reading and now i know what youre talking about. Looks like everyone will have to wait until the fall to find out if they are serious about it.
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DancinBelle



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
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Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Disney attempted something similar to that with DisneyQuest, "an interactive theme park", basically high-tech video games. There's only one still open, in WDW, and it's practically forgotten. I had planned to go while I was down there this month, but the day we went to enter, a HUGE schoolgroup was ahead of us. Confused It was planned for all major cities accros the US. I think one was open briefly in NYC, but maybe not, I don't know.
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Holly
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's an interesting question... LBE's (location-based entertainments) seem to have been shaky financially. Disney was looking to open Disney Quest in a large number of cities, but they couldn't seem to keep the businesses solvent... The question is, can you fit the "magic" into a small box, and make it feel special (despite being small and not necessarily unique to that city)? Disney remains magic because it is something that you have to travel a long way to see, and it takes a lot of effort for people to get there (Would Paris be special if other scattered cities had replicas of the famous museums, streets of cafes and monuments? Would the replicas be special in some way for being a copy?) Some parks succeed from being "copies" of real places (ex. Epcot's pavillions)... However, the replicas of the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland don't seem to do as well as the originals...

The other side of the coin, though is that theme parks came from "pleasure gardens" in Europe. The pleasure gardens were highly themed (having replicas of buildings from other countries), attempted to separate themselves from the hustle and bustle of the city, provided shows, fireworks, etc. Many cities had several of these gardens, and all of the gardens did well. It was special not just as a place, but as somewhere to socialize, and feel safe from the crime and other ills of the city. Pleasure gardens have existed since the Rennaisance... a few are still open today (ex. Bakken (400 years? That's a long time for a park to exist!) http://www.istc.org/sisp/?event_id=46762&fx=event)

There may be a solution... but DisneyQuest -- the height of interactivity and VR -- just didn't find the magic formula. Maybe less is more...
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Holly
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

P.S. The following park may be of interest of you. It is quite popular now and draws a lot of crowds... but the idea was really simple... Dutch theming, shopping and restaurants. And if I remember right, some people like it so much, they actually live there!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huis_ten_Bosch_(theme_park)

Take a look at the windmill and flowers!
http://english.huistenbosch.co.jp/event/flower.html

(and then remember that it is in Japan...)
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admin
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you guys confusing the terms FEC (family entertainment center) with LBE (location based entertainment?)

Nate
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dman383



Joined: 27 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting feedback guys.

Firstly, I think DisneyQuest failed because it didn't really become an 'interactive theme park.' It was and really is just a big arcade with minimal theming and a lack of understanding of the gaming market which led to outdated and boring games very quickly. We had a similar type complex in Canada called Playdium which played on the video game fad and all but went out of business very quickly.

I just didn't think it had that tangible Disney "Magic" that you get at all their parks which is what separates Disney from the rest in the first place.

I think the "magic in the small box" is the interesting question and whether or not you guys think a Disney, or any other attraction would be able to retain that magic, appeal and attraction for people if in a smaller, more urban environment.

Like that Dutch park, I think it comes down to the authenticity of the theme/atmosphere which is easier controlled in a smaller environment, but that's just me, maybe not the critical mass.
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Loric



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some thoughts..

The reason you seem to want an LBE is to get an immersion experience. You want to feel like you're really there, and you think that an LBE will be the way to achieve it.

Going back to DisneyQuest - it focused heavily on immersion with it's VR and yet no one really buys that it is an actual experience, rather the VR seems to put it quite far from that in people's minds. VR appears to have reached a point of simply being "entirely not reality" to people. Once the cosmic concensus has established two categories in the head, VR and reality for example, it's very hard to make the two seem the same.

That said, what about a more naturalistic approach? It's been done. There have whole theater companies dedicated to an art of storytelling through an experience rather then merely a show on a staee. They used whole buildings and pretty much everyone in the building besides the few audience members were actors/actresses.

It sorta works, but you needs a ton of actors per guest, and it's not a repeatable experience. You do it once and it may have been interesting but that's it.

that sort of idea doesn't work for entertainment. Go way-way back and look at performance history and entertainment. The Greeks knew who the characters were in a play because they had heard the stories before or even seen the play before. Jump ahead to Shakespearian times and you have the groundlings who visit constantly to be entertained, watching the same show over and over, which explaisn thir behavior and chattiness rather then purposeful quiet viewership.

Jump ahead again, why do you suppose we have VHS and later DVDs? So people can watch things again. Why don't things just get deleted from Tivo once they're watched? So people can do it again.

Disney has done studies and a good number of their guests are repeat guests. That's their bread and butter. It works.

You have to create something which is repeatable and enjoyable to repeat. LBE's have deviated from this and suffer from needing to draw new customers constantly. I can tells of lots of people who have been to DQ but who have no intention of ever returning. They even had a positive experience, but they simply don't want to return.

I'm not sure exactly what it is that makes people not desire to keep doing it, but i have a feeling it's the "interactivity" and manner in which the guest is engaged. It's not a passive experience, like Greek of Elizabethan theater or even modern film. That's the most notably way it differentiates - it asks the audience to be engaged, the same as the immersion-theater attempts that have failed.

My suggestion? Just stop doing it. Go back and ask "what is it that i want to convey?" and consider why an LBE appeared to b the best way to express it. Now, had the notion been "build an LBE, find an idea later" then you're putting the cart before the horse and why it's doomed to failure should be blatantly obvious.
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Loric



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A trend i've noticed in some posts is the idea that detailed recreations are somehow in and of themself themed environments. I disagree.

Scenery functions as a way to visually express an idea in three dimensions.
You need the idea first and then choose the scenery to support the idea and lead the audience to it.

Replication of a location merely introduces the ideas that are associated with that original location. Eiffel tower is built on our set - ok we've established France, Paris.. french people maybe, maybe the idea of industrialization, maybe the period..

But what are we saying? It's a tower. Yeah, it's the Eiffel tower but it's a tower.

Is there a bigger and grander statement we're making?

It's the same as adding actors and audio and lighting and what have you to achieve that natural location. You can add more elements, but until you have a point you actually want to make and thus manipulate those elements from their norm to fit, you merely have replicated and sort of pointlessly i might add (that's inherent in not having a point you know).

Don't think like that! Scenery is not there to be pretty. Actors are not meat puppets. What is the purpose and why were those choices made? What does it convey to the audience?

You need a statement worth saying and then you need to find a way to express it.
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Holly
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>What is the purpose and why were those
>>choices made? What does it convey to the audience?


Yeah... I think part of the question is: "Why are you recreating it?" Huis Ten Bosch (if I remember my reading) was created as an idealized slice of city life, in the midst of a country (Japan) that was becoming industrialized and quite progressive in a short span of time. Epcot is somewhat a recreation of a World's Fair, with the idealization that countries and cultures can be in harmony and understanding of each other. I think guests get that when they go to these places, on some level. I think very few things are recreated without a specific reason why it should be there. Pleasure gardens recreated the past through their buildings because it represented ideals of venerated cultures of the past (Greeks, Romans, etc.) or reminded people of amazing spectacles that they had never experienced but would love to recreate in a safe way (ex. the fall of Pompeii, major wars, etc. -- don't ask me why that stuff was so popular... it just was)... Re-creation of something is not necessarily themed environment, but I think in certain cases, it can be... I think it depends on how it functions when it comes to the guest experience...

As far as replaying things over and over again, I think you have to also look at the environment around the media. DVD's and videos allow you to watch movies at home -- there is a great comfort and privacy factor in being able to see movies at home... So people probably watch over and over movies they wouldn't watch over and over at the theatre because they can now see these movies in a preferred environment (home). In the 1990's, as home entertainment technology became amazingly better, there was a phenomena called "cacooning" -- people stayed home with their home entertainment systems, and movie theatres became very nervous that they would be put out of business (this is still a fear for them).

Another example is video games. It seems like when people ask questions like: why are console games more popular than computer games (e.g. sell more copies), they tend to analyze things like graphics, interface, processor speed, etc... One thing one of my mentors pointed out is that often we play computer games at a desk or balancing the laptop on our lap. Console games can be played sprawled on the couch, with 5 other people, eating potato chips and candy... The reason console (ex. Wii and GameCube) games tend to sell more units? A simple (partial) reason may be comfort! I agree that LBE's should be changed up... even zoos and museums change their offerings to get people coming back... but I wonder if there is more to it...

I don't know much about DisneyQuest, but from one I have heard, there may be some very core problems... You are sticking people in rooms with equipment/technology that they are not familiar with, and chaotic, potentially noisy bunches of strangers, and very few places to go to kick back and relax. They seemed to have been selling DisneyQuest as a family entertainment... but what is the quality of experience for young children or adults? (both of whom can tend to get overwhelmed by new technology, chaos, crowds, noise, etc.). When I was a kid, my parents never really went into the gameroom at Showbiz Pizza (Chuck-E-Cheese)... the booths where you eat were much more comfortable. It's possible that DisneyQuest is too close in execution to an indoor arcade to really provide any comfort for anyone who doesn't want to interact or wants to stay on the sidelines and watch.

>>I'm not sure exactly what it is that makes people
>>not desire to keep doing it, but i have a feeling it's
>>the "interactivity" and manner in which the guest is
>>engaged. It's not a passive experience, like Greek
>>of Elizabethan theater or even modern film. That's
>>the most notably way it differentiates - it asks the
>>audience to be engaged, the same as the immersion-
>>theater attempts that have failed.

I think this hits on another good point as well... Our most popular entertainments -- film, theatre, film, books, etc. are generally passive. Niche entertainments (which appeal to smaller segements of the population) may incorporate interactivity: video games, LARP, improv, mini-golf... It is interesting to note, though, that the Wii is drawing in a segment of the population that has never had any desire to play video games. It's probably had wider appeal than any other game system ever developed. I'm guessing part of the reason is social. Gaming used to be associated with sitting in a darkened room, not talking, and completely focusing on the game. Now you have a system that by its very nature encourages people to talk, laugh at each other, make avatars that represent each person, and play games that are very familiar (Wii's are growing popular at Senior Centers, where the elderly can bowl, without the risk of injury associated with a heavy ball). I know that there must be answers to the LBE problem, but solving it would probably involve digging to the heart of the psychology of why we choose the entertainments that we do, and why we find certain entertainments or types of places more enticing than others...
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kingslyZISSOU



Joined: 21 May 2008
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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 4:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Intimate Themed Experience instead of massive theme park Reply with quote

[quote="dman383"]Hello Everyone,

I'm new to the board here, though a huge Disney park fan and just wanted your opinions on some of my thoughts on the future of the industry and hopefully it isn't too long for all to read.

Anyways, I've just relocated to Asia and see the theme park craze that has taken over internationally with mega-billion projects opening everywhere from Dubai to Singapore to Korea. I somehow feel that in this whole process, many of the parks lose that intimate feel of pure escapism that we used to get in all the Disney parks.

Ever since hearing about Disney's UEC (Urban Entertainment Center) concept, I began thinking that this type of experience has the most potential in the future.

Instead of building a massive billion dollar theme park with so much risk, why not build more intimate themed environments in the heart of a city where the experience and risk is more manageable, thus being applicable to more cities as only so many theme parks can be built.

As much as I love going on the Back to the Future ride or walking through the World Showcase at Epcot, I never really feel as if I'm actually in Hill Valley or the respective country I'm walking through. The fact is the crowds and size of all theme parks make it impossible for them to properly manage that experience.

I guess you could say I'm thinking something more along the lines of Discovery Cove or the new night-park at WDW, but even smaller and more themed.

Imagine a smaller environment where you actually feel like you're in the world that's advertising, with living breathing people (actors) instead of animatronics.

For example, imagine a small complex themed towards time travel in Shanghai where when you step through the doors, you walk into an ancient market where you actually feel as if you were in Ancient China. Though it may be restricted to only a few shops and restaurants, the authentication would far surpass anything you've seen and feel more intimate since the crowds would be much less. To add appeal, you could even throw in a dark ride similar to Spaceship Earth that could take you through the history of that city.

Obviously these won't be multi-day resort destination type of environments, but just somewhere both locals and tourists alike would goto on any given day just to soak up the atmosphere, food, service, etc. If tied into a time travel type theme, it can even help promote the history of a city in a more fun/interactive way than a museum.

Look forward to hearing your comments soon.

Derek[/quote]


Wasn't this called splendid china?
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Holly
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm... could be... I never made it over to Splendid China before it closed... But I have heard that Splendid China here was based on a string of parks over in China. Apparently, the small scale kind of park that focuses on history and tradition has been big over there... Which might be a good place to start if you want to research whether that sort of idea would work in a Western context -- find out why those kinds of parks have succeeded over there (and why parks like Splendid China and DisneyQuest have failed here).
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DancinBelle



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Americans plan out huge vacations, and feel the need to use every spare moment doing something. A small park whose purpose is to just be enjoiyed at a more leisurely pace is often overlooked, as it doesn't offer something to "do". They usually overplan, and don't get to do everything they wanted to because they get burned out.
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kingslyZISSOU



Joined: 21 May 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just dont think that the average money spending american family would say "hmm... lets go to a living movie set, where can we find that?" If someone wants to go to a relaxing authentic place that isnt about rides, and more about culture, they can either go to epcot if they want international experiences, or they can go to the real thing. I think its a cool idea, but i dont see it catching on as a major tourist destination any time soon.

Its all about the money. Why got to a recreation of something that can be experienced for the same price?
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kenwellsied



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:09 am    Post subject: hellow guys Reply with quote

hi guys i'm Ken Wells From IED and i'm new here..I'm loooking forward to share my expertise here and learn also from you guys.. i'll see u guys around..
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steamboatwillie



Joined: 29 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder what benefits an LBE (like Downtown Disney) offers to a local (not a tourist) that a FEC doesn't? For example, as a tourist to WDW, of course you're going to check out Downtown Disney, maybe catch a show, grab a virtual ride at DQ and enjoy a dinner or two. But as a local, once you've done it a few times...well, doesn't it sort of get old? Does it really have the magic and mystique of an in-the-park disney attraction, or even the Disney "feel" once inside the gates of the Magic Kingdom?

I mean, the point of an LBE is to get people to spend money on overpriced novelty items, overrated dinners and (usually) mildly entertaining venues...which is all well and good for a tourist -- that's more or less what a typical tourist experience is...come on, even the Mona Lisa is a bit of a let down...a glass plate? Really? Yeah, yeah...I know the argument, but I traversed the Louvre for this? OK...anyway...I just can't see the value in an LBE when the experiences thus far seem to be a melange of mix-and-match retail, subpar cuisine, and lackluster venues at a hiked rate -- and I'm not even taking the current economic climate into consideration.

I think the other concern for those signing the checks come pre-construction is probably timeliness. I mean, let's say your LBE was built in the 1960s and its theme was SPACE. Then in '69, Buzz and Neil land on the moon. Hmm...is this still as interesting to the public. Remember that line in Apollo 13? Neither do I, but it was something about kids taking no interest in moon exploration anymore. Suddenly, this fantastical theme becomes a reality, and you're stuck constantly re-inventing yourself or scrapping the basic premise...or as Disney likes to call it, "Tomorrowland."

Now, all that being said, I can't tell you all how sick I am of seeing every outdoor mall take the "Mediterranean" approach. It seems like every southern california developer wants to replicate a wing of the Bellagio. Would I like to see a SPACE-themed LBE? Maybe an Old West experience? Or a fantastical "Lord of the Rings" inspired LBE?? Of course I would! But I'm a theme park enthusiast, like all of us on this site...and I suppose that while I'd love to have deep pockets to fulfill all of my wildest dreams...I (and probably most of you) are not the markets these companies are going after. They're going after families who visit once a year. Who save up for that once-in-a-lifetime Disney or Universal or Busch Gardens, etc. vacation. And there's a reason why places like Downtown Disney and Citywalk are located adjacent to park gates -- to get the average tourist into their stores before and after a day at the park. But for the local, who's going out for a night to have a drink, to see a movie, or maybe even bowling...one has to ask, what's the point?

By the way, I have no idea where this article is, but a while back I saw a post for an LBE Disney was proposing in the Glendale area of So Cal. For those of you who don't know LA too well, Glendale is where Disney HQ is based, however, it's a small city about 15 min away from Downtown LA. Anyway, point being, this mall/recreational site looked amazing, complete with a cohesive storyline (as one expects from Disney) that if memory serves wasn't a far cry from the feel of the Adventurers Club. Anyhow, it got canned for a number of reasons, many of which I'm sure we'll never know...but if anyone out there knows, it's an interesting plan to look at.

All that being said, it's great to see the boards active again. And lastly...HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!
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barry winkless



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:46 am    Post subject: retails move towards 'theme' and 'experience' Reply with quote

Hi there
I am finding this thread of discussion very interesting as I am currently conducting research on the real bottom line benefits of 'theme' and 'experience' to retail experiences.
The one thing I definitely do notice (in Ireland) is an attempt by some retailers to have unifying themes thorugh decor, interactions and general feel in order to create a slightly difference experience for the consumer. For example some restaraunts are beginning to play on themes of Irish mythology etc. Although you would not class them as LBE's they are attempting some form of more immersive experience in order to get people to stay more, or spend more.
I do think the Guinness Storehouse is a reasonably good example of an experience that feels local but that you do get some sense of wow- would recommend readers to check it out on the web and do some image searches on it. Another good example (in Ireland) is the Newgrange Visitor centre that attempts to be part attraction, part visitor centre, part immersive experience.
I do feel Museums are making more efforts to consolidate exhibitions into more themes/immersive experiences also.
I would definitely recommend readers to check out an article written by Kozinets et al (2002) on 'Themed flagship brand stores in the new millenium: theory, practice, prospects'- as it gives a good framework on how stores a moving towards branded experience etc.
Take care
Barry
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cclarence01



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:03 am    Post subject: themed park Reply with quote

I agree. I totally agree with your idea of theme park design. Some theme parks have lost that intimate design.




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somatter



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for share! I agree with your idea of theme park design,it's very good!
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garyancheta



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>>> I wonder what benefits an LBE (like Downtown Disney) offers to a local (not a tourist) that a FEC doesn't? For example, as a tourist to WDW, of course you're going to check out Downtown Disney, maybe catch a show, grab a virtual ride at DQ and enjoy a dinner or two. But as a local, once you've done it a few times...well, doesn't it sort of get old? Does it really have the magic and mystique of an in-the-park disney attraction, or even the Disney "feel" once inside the gates of the Magic Kingdom? <<<<

I think the appeal it had for me, as someone who lived near Downtown Disney, was their partnerships. They had House of Blues, which catered towards the college crowd, and Virgin Megastore (when they were still open) that catered to late night shoppers. Virgin Megastore had lots of obscure books and obscure DVDs that you couldn't get elsewhere in Orlando. House of Blues had name acts that weren't coming down to Downtown Orlando. You had the 3-D films at their IMAX theater, which had later movies than the rest of Orlando. And in a pinch, Downtown Disney was a great place to take the ferry and just wander around to the different hotels/restaurants.

>>> I mean, the point of an LBE is to get people to spend money on overpriced novelty items, overrated dinners and (usually) mildly entertaining venues...which is all well and good for a tourist -- that's more or less what a typical tourist experience is...come on, even the Mona Lisa is a bit of a let down...a glass plate? Really? Yeah, yeah...I know the argument, but I traversed the Louvre for this? OK...anyway...I just can't see the value in an LBE when the experiences thus far seem to be a melange of mix-and-match retail, subpar cuisine, and lackluster venues at a hiked rate -- and I'm not even taking the current economic climate into consideration. <<<<

It really is a touristy thing to do "Downtown Disney" to eat, but it was a really nice place for late night entertainment (except for clubbing, which was cheaper and better in Downtown Orlando and on International Drive).

>>> I think the other concern for those signing the checks come pre-construction is probably timeliness. I mean, let's say your LBE was built in the 1960s and its theme was SPACE. Then in '69, Buzz and Neil land on the moon. Hmm...is this still as interesting to the public. Remember that line in Apollo 13? Neither do I, but it was something about kids taking no interest in moon exploration anymore. Suddenly, this fantastical theme becomes a reality, and you're stuck constantly re-inventing yourself or scrapping the basic premise...or as Disney likes to call it, "Tomorrowland." <<<<

I think there is value in those designs, if only because originally that's the only place you could experience new stuff. Kids wax and wane on their likes and dislikes, but what was valuable with Tomorrowland at Disney was that you could experience a "Mission to the Moon" or "Carousel of Progress" only at Disney as a sort of "World's Fair Exhibition" all year round. You were lucky to get this stuff on a PBS documentary or in a classroom filmstrip, or a local library. At Disney, you got to experience it together with a group of people and that was interesting.

The reason why it doesn't work today is because of the WWW. I have information at my fingertips and I don't need to go to Disney to learn anything. But I can go to Disney to be entertained, so that's why I enjoy Buzz Lightyear or the Alien Encounter because it is a fun time. The theme works in a very retro way, but that's fine because everything at Disney works in a child-like, retro way.

>>> Now, all that being said, I can't tell you all how sick I am of seeing every outdoor mall take the "Mediterranean" approach. It seems like every southern california developer wants to replicate a wing of the Bellagio. Would I like to see a SPACE-themed LBE? Maybe an Old West experience? Or a fantastical "Lord of the Rings" inspired LBE?? Of course I would! But I'm a theme park enthusiast, like all of us on this site...and I suppose that while I'd love to have deep pockets to fulfill all of my wildest dreams...I (and probably most of you) are not the markets these companies are going after. They're going after families who visit once a year. Who save up for that once-in-a-lifetime Disney or Universal or Busch Gardens, etc. vacation. And there's a reason why places like Downtown Disney and Citywalk are located adjacent to park gates -- to get the average tourist into their stores before and after a day at the park. But for the local, who's going out for a night to have a drink, to see a movie, or maybe even bowling...one has to ask, what's the point? <<<

I still think a space theme would work, but the reason why a Mediterranean theme works so well: it is versatile to other themes. In Downtown Disney, they have a cuban restaurant, the House of Blues, the Magic Shop, and a Jungle Cruise style dock to take passengers to their hotels. Opposite of that, they have a giant movie theater and a place where Virgin Megastore used to be, and the Interactive Disney Place (I can't think of its name). The best theme to take in all of that and leave room for variety is a sort of Mediterranean Marketplace area with nice flowers and faux-cobbeltstone. You want it to look like an open air market mixed with a park, but you also need a theme to accommodate stores and chain restaurants going out of business.
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brownlitlle



Joined: 21 Jul 2010
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Location: Duluth

PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess you could say I'm thinking something more along the lines of Discovery Cove or the new night-park at WDW, but even smaller and more themed.
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