Augmented reality is coming to Kings Dominion in 2017, and it looks to be bigger and better than anything offered at an amusement park before. Teaming up with award-winning industry supplier, Holovis, Cedar Fair is continuing to step up its offering in augmented reality and “techtainment” as a whole. Coming in spring of 2017, guests visiting Kings Dominion will be able to interact with various aspects of the park and with others guests. Waiting in queue lines at Kings Dominion will now become more interesting and potentially enjoyable. Today, nearly every park guest over the age of 16 has a smartphone, and they are using it a lot during their visits to amusement parks. Engaging these guests while they wait really brings endless opportunities to the park!
What is Battle for Kings Dominion?
While the park only announced Battle for Kings Dominion during the ACE Winter Warm Up event that was held at Six Flags Over Georgia on Saturday, January 28, 2017, a wealth of specifics was not yet available. However, the first version of this “Extended Experience” was offered at Cedar Point in 2016. The innovation and overall success of “Battle for Cedar Point” won project creator, Holovis, the Brass Ring award for Best New Product for Technology Applied to Amusements: Consumers during the IAAPA Attractions Expo in 2016.
Guests download the augmented reality mobile app onto their (iOS or Android) smartphone. Upon visiting the park, the guest selects a Coaster Clan that they love the most. At Kings Dominion, guests can pledge their coaster allegiance to one of the following five Coaster Clans:
- Intimidator 
- Flight of Fear
Guests then ride their favorite rides and collect points along the way, interacting directly with many of the rides, in-app [trivia] games, and related merchandise. It’s a battle to share with family and friends! For guests visiting more than once, the app should allow them to select a different clan on each visit; you never know when allegiances might switch, right? With the success of “The Battle for Cedar Point,” it was expected that another park within the Cedar Fair chain would get the technology in the coming years. With the addition of in-park wi-fi [at Kings Dominion] for 2017, adding Battle for Kings Dominion seems like a perfect fit. Also, with the Coaster Clan focus on the left side of the park, expect the wi-fi over there to be highly dense and have a great amount of guest capacity.
“We’re actually looking for experiences, roller coasters, [and] dark rides that have an emotional connection, and that’s something that is completely unique, and that’s what gets your guests coming back, revisiting because we can define the attraction based on your emotional preferences and your psychological preferences, and that’s really cool – that’s the future,” says Holovis Creative Director, Peter Cliff.
What’s New in Version 2.0?
It is still too early to determine just which new features will be added to the already-popular, cutting-edge technology. However, during a discussion with Peter Cliff (Creative Director at Holovis) at the 2016 IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando, he mentioned that the options are nearly endless, especially when it comes to in-queue interactions. Imagine if a guest is in line and really kicking butt in “The Battle.” If he or she is outdoing everybody else, the park could reward him or her with a front-of-the-line pass or a discount on some merchandise at that attraction. All the while, the park can see which rides are most popular each day, and the guests have one more way to share their park experiences on social media. In the end, EVERYBODY WINS!
Overall, Cedar Fair is doing a great job of incorporating technology into the park experience and listening to the customers along the way to ensure that there is a good balance between the technology and the guest expectations. It is very possible that Cedar Point will also get an upgraded version of their “Battle” in 2017; also, expect to see more parks to get this “Extended Experience” in the coming years!
[Image of 2016 IAAPA Brass Ring Award courtesy of Holovis.]