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Next generation: How Triotech innovated a first of its kind attraction with Lagoon Park’s Primordial | Planet Attractions
     

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Next generation: How Triotech innovated a first of its kind attraction with Lagoon Park’s Primordial

September saw the debut of a brand-new addition to Salt Lake City’s Lagoon Park - a hybrid rollercoaster and dark ride experience known as Primordial. Planet Attractions speaks to Ernest Yale and Nol Van Genuchten about the experience and how its team brought the first-of-its-kind attraction to life






A new attraction at a regional theme park in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been turning a lot of heads.

Described as a ‘next-generation’ development, Lagoon Park’s one-of-a-kind Primordial is a ride seven years in the making. Offering new innovation, the hybrid combines a three-level rollercoaster and a dark ride, with the attraction offering interactivity, including a shooting element, and a ‘fork-in-the-road’ that changes how the experience reaches its dramatic climax.

Dark ride specialists Triotech provided design, story, show, theming, audio and special effects, for the attraction, as well as the development of a new blaster concept that can withstand the turns and falls of the ART Engineering-manufactured coaster.

“We do a lot of dark rides,” Ernest Yale, Triotech’s president, CEO and founder tells Planet Attractions. “Coasters bring people to amusement parks because they have the biggest drops in the world, or they are the longest, or the fastest.

“The reason we like dark rides and that combination is because there's a story involved and there's competition. Primordial at Lagoon Park is a mix of dark ride and rollercoaster. It's fully interactive and it uses a videogame engine to bring you into the story.”

Made up of eight media-based scenes and built into a man-made mountain, the attraction offers both an indoor and outdoor coaster and dark ride experience, with Primordial playing out over 6,600sq m (71,000sq ft).

“We jumped right in,” Nol van Genuchten, Triotech’s head of creative, tells Planet Attractions. “The park is very much a family-oriented operation, and it was very important for them to develop a project that had family appeal - something that could be experienced by young kids but had enough thrill that the teenagers would want to ride. It also needed enough depth so that the parents or the older generation would feel good about it.”

According to Yale, Primordial represents a “dark ride on steroids”, with the powerful storytelling experience of the traditional dark ride combined with the thrill seeking highs a rollercoaster can offer.

“First you do the coaster and then it becomes a dark ride, which offers a real wow factor,” he says. “It's a unique combination of what I think are the two richest experiences in amusement parks. Rollercoasters offer a physical aspect and dark rides offer storytelling and competition. When you think about things like Ninjago, Spiderman, Star Wars, these are all great dark rides but Primordial is a more unique combination, which has not been seen, certainly not in a regional park.”



Since debuting in September 2023, Primordial has garnered a lot of interest. Offering a high visitor throughput, as well as encouraging repeat visits thanks to playability and its alternate playthroughs, the ride is certainly a step up for what a mid-sized regional theme park can offer at a competitive budget.

“Lagoon is a family-operated park, so they're very close to their community in Salt Lake City,” says Yale. “It's a small state, but they have a lot of visitors. It's a park where everybody goes every year, with people from the community going multiple times. So management at the park wanted to innovate and bring something that was unexpected in a regional location like that.

“The park’s owners saw the Mountain's Guardian dark coaster we installed in 2014 at Canada’s Wonderland. They liked the concept but wanted us to bring it to the next level. We came up with this concept and they opted to build a whole mountain and accompanying coaster, which for this and more reasons really makes this offering next generation.”

Using a large constructed mountain as its backdrop, the impressive looking attraction sends riders on a journey to free Dragnor the dragon and the mystical Owl Astradir, in turn, restoring harmony to the Kingdom of the regal lynx, Queen Azdra. Playing through this story is the experience of the rollercoaster and that of the dark ride, bringing both parts into one cohesive story.

“When you see the coaster disappearing into the mountain from the outside, that's where the interactive journey starts,” says Genuchten.

“We had to come up with a way of sequencing interactive sequences and then intertwining those with gravity-fed sequences, so we could continually play off of elements of surprise where you're into gameplay and all of a sudden your car drives away and now it goes backwards through this tunnel with all of these arches. Then you land in another scene in front of a screen and have gameplay again.

“We interlaced that rhythm of coming to gameplay and then having a coaster moment again and then another gameplay moment. We worked very closely with our partners, ART Engineering in terms of how we maintain control of the vehicle, how do we know how fast it's going in the gravity moments, when it arrives at the scene etc.

“There are moments where the coaster is just running on gravity and there are other moments where we're controlling it like a dark ride. Making those two systems talk to one another was quite a journey with not only the creative team, but also our software team, our engineering team, and then the partnership with ART and Actemium.”



Because of its combination as both a dark ride and a rollercoaster, Primordial called for a blaster concept never-before-seen in attractions - something that was safe for the visitor and durable through all the turns and twists, as well as the sudden drops, that a coaster experience brings.

“We had to design a new type of interactive gun blaster, which sits on the lap bar,” explains Yale.

“There's a high element of safety involved. Not only are you on a rollercoaster, but during the drop, which is a surprise drop, you're shooting and then you're dropping. The gun has to be locked in place so it doesn't fly in the air and hit you.

So we innovated our blaster, which is unique and is now available to put on lap bars for other coasters.”

Not only did the blasters have to accommodate a rollercoaster experience, but they also had to perform accurately and decisively during the shooting segments.

“The targeting device was a whole journey in itself,” adds Genuchten. “We had to develop something that bridged all of those complexities. The end result is a one-of-a kind addition.”



The Primordial story tells the tale of two mythical creatures who bring balance to the kingdom. When they are captured, the world falls into disarray. As a rider, you end-up on a quest to save one of the main characters, which will result in a certain outcome, including an end result with either a straight drop, a downward slide or a backwards slide.

To tell this story, in the attraction, an animatronic Queen Azdra calls upon riders - her loyal servants - to liberate the two creatures to restore harmony.

When you enter the dark ride portion of the attraction, you are presented with a number of options and the opportunity for a final battle in a 360 degree screen setting, which synchronises the media camera animation with the rotation of the vehicle. That leads to a final boss battle where riders will liberate Dragnor or Astradir.

“There are three mechanical endings that can each feature two different media contents, making the total of six,” explains Genuchten, who adds that the reason for giving the possibility of different endings is not only for replayability, but also for efficiency.

“These mechanical endings have a certain amount of reset time,” he says. “Dropping a vehicle is really fast, but then bringing the track back into place and making sure that it's ready to receive the next vehicle takes a certain amount of time.

“Out of that came the idea of having a fork in the road to alternate. Because we were creating this fork, we decided to give each path its own mechanics. That's how the drop and the slide were born. Then because we can rotate the vehicle, we then had the option of sliding forward or backward.

“With these endings, we had the opportunity to really play with the idea of replayability and return visitors. Leveraging those various mechanics into creating unique experiences with unique story elements drives people back to the ride and gives an element of surprise and gives a reason to do the ride again and again.”

Adding to this, Yale believes such an attraction could become commonplace in the future.

“Because you have two possible story endings and three physical endings, when you talk to your friends, there are six possible combinations as to how your friends will have experienced the attraction,” he says.

“It creates replayability with a different way of experiencing the ride on top of it being interactive and the scoring aspect. We can also ask and look at what the ride can become in the future and how it can evolve.”



Another bonus of the dark ride coaster system is the ability to upgrade the ride as new technology emerges to keep it looking and feeling up-to-date.

“Typically we would upgrade these systems every five years,” says Yale. “We've done it already at Canada’s Wonderland with an upgraded projection system for Mountain’s Guardian.

“Whatever projection system we have right now, we can upgrade it in the future. Eventually it's going to be a move to LEDs or brighter projection. If you looked at this at home, think about upgrading from a PlayStation 4 to a PlayStation 5. Not only do you get the enhanced system but you know down the road there will be a PlayStation 6 to replace that new system.

With certain technologies ever-changing and others being used to sell experiences, adapting and upgrading technology can also benefit popular trends and help to improve operations.

Yale adds: “There's a movement for using better and brighter projection systems but in 2D rather than 3D. On an operational aspect, it's much simpler because of the need to clean 3D glasses.”



With seasonal events proving ever more popular for theme parks, often proving to be their busiest times of year, alongside the ability to upgrade comes the ability to change the story, whether that be permanently or temporarily.

“An aspect which I think is going to be more and more popular is parks are trying to open more days in the year, so seasonal content is definitely an option,” says Yale.

“An attraction like this could be run in other climates year round. The idea is to bring people more than one time throughout the year.”

Yale points to the former Triotech-designed Voyage to the Iron Reef at Knott’s Berry Farm, which the company replaced with a reimagined Knott’s Bear-y Tales attraction. In that instance, Triotech retained the vehicles from Iron Reef, upgrading them with new technology and enhancing their look to fit the new theme of the attraction, which took inspiration from a ride that sat in the same place 34 years earlier. For Primordial, with technology constantly evolving, the possibilities are endless.

“At Knott's Berry Farm we had the Iron Reef ride, which we completely rebranded and redesigned a new ride,” says Yale.

“For Primordial we could have seasonal software or we could do an update in the future where we add an element to the story. Because we used a media-based videogame engine, the attraction is going to evolve over time and I think in 2023, you have to consider this.

“Everyone tells us that Halloween is their busiest season and where they make their highest revenue. It's a huge opportunity to create whatever story you want for a time like that without changing the hardware.

“We've also had requests for seasonal content at periods like Christmas. There are many more depending on where in the world you are in the world. In Asia, for instance, you could be creating content for something around Chinese New Year.

“From Triotech's side, there are going to be more and more of these types of rides in the future - ones with the option of introducing seasonal content and enhancing the existing product.”



Not only does the hybrid offer the ability to adapt and enhance, but it also offers a premium product at a cost affordable to regional parks. This, says Yale, will see the approach to new developments in such attractions change as they aim to bring the same visitors back time and time again.

“The business model of regional parks in the future I think is going to be bringing attractions which are not expected to their parks,” he explains. “For Salt Lake City, guests are going to experience something unique. The only way they would experience something like this otherwise is to travel to Disney or Universal, which would require plane tickets, hotels, and more. Now, they can experience that locally every weekend. That whole approach is going to be used in more and more regional parks. That's what we see for the future.”

Exploring the popular trend of the “story coaster”, Yale adds that interactivity is what makes Primordial stand out and it's something Triotech is looking into further for such an experience.

“There's an approach which is just the immersive aspects of the rollercoaster but I really think that making it interactive adds life to the ride,” he says. “That could be blasters or other means of interacting. We're studying new interfaces. I think if the guests can participate in the experience, then that's a big plus. “It's going to be more and more important because we're installing these attractions which are going to be there for up to 20 years. So if you think about someone riding in a decade, if it's not interactive, then it's going to look like an old ride. Any ride opening in 2024 and beyond should have some sort of interactive component.”

Genuchten adds: “We're in an era where the public no longer wants passive entertainment. The idea of sitting back and relaxing and letting the stage do its thing is over. People seek forms of entertainment where they can be involved. They almost want to feel like they can be a character in the adventure.

“Interactivity allows us that part of the journey and allows us the ability to make the guest a central element of the experience.”



So what does the future hold for this type of ride and for Triotech?

“We’ve talked to a few operators,” says Yale. “A dark coaster is very appealing to indoor parks. We've also talked to a few locations that are not amusement parks, but are tourist locations. There's interest beyond amusement parks and this can be scaled to any size with more endings. The idea of having a coaster when it goes into the dark, having projections, a story and making it interactive, I think that's going to become more and more popular.

“In the past it was hard to do. You need a balance between high speed drop and then when you interact, it needs to slow down so you can understand what's happening. I've seen immersive components in other coasters where you barely have three seconds to see what's happening. The more rides like this that we develop, the better we'll be able to understand what makes it a good experience by tweaking the gameplay, the timings and how you interact.

Yale also adds that such a concept can really deliver bang for your buck: “Coasters are expensive. You can easily spend US$30m on a high quality coaster. With the dark ride approach, this makes a smaller coaster a much more appealing product. You can bring a medium-sized coaster which maybe isn't the highest or the fastest, but it brings it to the next level by adding this technology and in budget.”

According to Genuchten, the broad appeal that a hybrid attraction such as Primordial offers is the reason many operators are seeing something like this as a signature addition to their parks.

“I think both coasters and dark rides can be a little polarising,” he explains. “Rollercoasters have a lot of appeal, but there's also a lot of people for whom it's too much. It's too scary and they shy away from it.

“Meanwhile, dark rides don't always offer a high level of thrill. But by bringing these two together and leveraging the best of both worlds, we've created an experience or a product that has a much larger appeal compared to ‘just a coaster’ or ‘just an interactive dark ride’.

“For a park that’s incredibly important because ultimately they want to give as many people as possible a really exciting experience on that attraction. So by combining these two elements and really focusing on how we can combine them towards making a stronger product, we've created something that is thrilling and exciting enough for the coaster enthusiast. It's also immersive enough for the storytelling enthusiast and it's competitive enough for the gamer. As a result, we have a very wide appeal.

“For a park, you want to reach as many people as possible. And I think this does that.”

Yale adds: “We're pretty excited about the concept and also the combination of the best of both worlds and what it means to a park and also what it means to regional parks. They need to bring back the same people three, four, five times each summer, as opposed to a destination park. That's where the whole media base aspect makes sense for regional parks. Then, of course, the budget. We're talking about a much more modest budget. So that's where it's a perfect fit for them.”


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Next generation: How Triotech innovated a first of its kind attraction with Lagoon Park’s Primordial | Planet Attractions
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Next generation: How Triotech innovated a first of its kind attraction with Lagoon Park’s Primordial

September saw the debut of a brand-new addition to Salt Lake City’s Lagoon Park - a hybrid rollercoaster and dark ride experience known as Primordial. Planet Attractions speaks to Ernest Yale and Nol Van Genuchten about the experience and how its team brought the first-of-its-kind attraction to life






A new attraction at a regional theme park in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been turning a lot of heads.

Described as a ‘next-generation’ development, Lagoon Park’s one-of-a-kind Primordial is a ride seven years in the making. Offering new innovation, the hybrid combines a three-level rollercoaster and a dark ride, with the attraction offering interactivity, including a shooting element, and a ‘fork-in-the-road’ that changes how the experience reaches its dramatic climax.

Dark ride specialists Triotech provided design, story, show, theming, audio and special effects, for the attraction, as well as the development of a new blaster concept that can withstand the turns and falls of the ART Engineering-manufactured coaster.

“We do a lot of dark rides,” Ernest Yale, Triotech’s president, CEO and founder tells Planet Attractions. “Coasters bring people to amusement parks because they have the biggest drops in the world, or they are the longest, or the fastest.

“The reason we like dark rides and that combination is because there's a story involved and there's competition. Primordial at Lagoon Park is a mix of dark ride and rollercoaster. It's fully interactive and it uses a videogame engine to bring you into the story.”

Made up of eight media-based scenes and built into a man-made mountain, the attraction offers both an indoor and outdoor coaster and dark ride experience, with Primordial playing out over 6,600sq m (71,000sq ft).

“We jumped right in,” Nol van Genuchten, Triotech’s head of creative, tells Planet Attractions. “The park is very much a family-oriented operation, and it was very important for them to develop a project that had family appeal - something that could be experienced by young kids but had enough thrill that the teenagers would want to ride. It also needed enough depth so that the parents or the older generation would feel good about it.”

According to Yale, Primordial represents a “dark ride on steroids”, with the powerful storytelling experience of the traditional dark ride combined with the thrill seeking highs a rollercoaster can offer.

“First you do the coaster and then it becomes a dark ride, which offers a real wow factor,” he says. “It's a unique combination of what I think are the two richest experiences in amusement parks. Rollercoasters offer a physical aspect and dark rides offer storytelling and competition. When you think about things like Ninjago, Spiderman, Star Wars, these are all great dark rides but Primordial is a more unique combination, which has not been seen, certainly not in a regional park.”



Since debuting in September 2023, Primordial has garnered a lot of interest. Offering a high visitor throughput, as well as encouraging repeat visits thanks to playability and its alternate playthroughs, the ride is certainly a step up for what a mid-sized regional theme park can offer at a competitive budget.

“Lagoon is a family-operated park, so they're very close to their community in Salt Lake City,” says Yale. “It's a small state, but they have a lot of visitors. It's a park where everybody goes every year, with people from the community going multiple times. So management at the park wanted to innovate and bring something that was unexpected in a regional location like that.

“The park’s owners saw the Mountain's Guardian dark coaster we installed in 2014 at Canada’s Wonderland. They liked the concept but wanted us to bring it to the next level. We came up with this concept and they opted to build a whole mountain and accompanying coaster, which for this and more reasons really makes this offering next generation.”

Using a large constructed mountain as its backdrop, the impressive looking attraction sends riders on a journey to free Dragnor the dragon and the mystical Owl Astradir, in turn, restoring harmony to the Kingdom of the regal lynx, Queen Azdra. Playing through this story is the experience of the rollercoaster and that of the dark ride, bringing both parts into one cohesive story.

“When you see the coaster disappearing into the mountain from the outside, that's where the interactive journey starts,” says Genuchten.

“We had to come up with a way of sequencing interactive sequences and then intertwining those with gravity-fed sequences, so we could continually play off of elements of surprise where you're into gameplay and all of a sudden your car drives away and now it goes backwards through this tunnel with all of these arches. Then you land in another scene in front of a screen and have gameplay again.

“We interlaced that rhythm of coming to gameplay and then having a coaster moment again and then another gameplay moment. We worked very closely with our partners, ART Engineering in terms of how we maintain control of the vehicle, how do we know how fast it's going in the gravity moments, when it arrives at the scene etc.

“There are moments where the coaster is just running on gravity and there are other moments where we're controlling it like a dark ride. Making those two systems talk to one another was quite a journey with not only the creative team, but also our software team, our engineering team, and then the partnership with ART and Actemium.”



Because of its combination as both a dark ride and a rollercoaster, Primordial called for a blaster concept never-before-seen in attractions - something that was safe for the visitor and durable through all the turns and twists, as well as the sudden drops, that a coaster experience brings.

“We had to design a new type of interactive gun blaster, which sits on the lap bar,” explains Yale.

“There's a high element of safety involved. Not only are you on a rollercoaster, but during the drop, which is a surprise drop, you're shooting and then you're dropping. The gun has to be locked in place so it doesn't fly in the air and hit you.

So we innovated our blaster, which is unique and is now available to put on lap bars for other coasters.”

Not only did the blasters have to accommodate a rollercoaster experience, but they also had to perform accurately and decisively during the shooting segments.

“The targeting device was a whole journey in itself,” adds Genuchten. “We had to develop something that bridged all of those complexities. The end result is a one-of-a kind addition.”



The Primordial story tells the tale of two mythical creatures who bring balance to the kingdom. When they are captured, the world falls into disarray. As a rider, you end-up on a quest to save one of the main characters, which will result in a certain outcome, including an end result with either a straight drop, a downward slide or a backwards slide.

To tell this story, in the attraction, an animatronic Queen Azdra calls upon riders - her loyal servants - to liberate the two creatures to restore harmony.

When you enter the dark ride portion of the attraction, you are presented with a number of options and the opportunity for a final battle in a 360 degree screen setting, which synchronises the media camera animation with the rotation of the vehicle. That leads to a final boss battle where riders will liberate Dragnor or Astradir.

“There are three mechanical endings that can each feature two different media contents, making the total of six,” explains Genuchten, who adds that the reason for giving the possibility of different endings is not only for replayability, but also for efficiency.

“These mechanical endings have a certain amount of reset time,” he says. “Dropping a vehicle is really fast, but then bringing the track back into place and making sure that it's ready to receive the next vehicle takes a certain amount of time.

“Out of that came the idea of having a fork in the road to alternate. Because we were creating this fork, we decided to give each path its own mechanics. That's how the drop and the slide were born. Then because we can rotate the vehicle, we then had the option of sliding forward or backward.

“With these endings, we had the opportunity to really play with the idea of replayability and return visitors. Leveraging those various mechanics into creating unique experiences with unique story elements drives people back to the ride and gives an element of surprise and gives a reason to do the ride again and again.”

Adding to this, Yale believes such an attraction could become commonplace in the future.

“Because you have two possible story endings and three physical endings, when you talk to your friends, there are six possible combinations as to how your friends will have experienced the attraction,” he says.

“It creates replayability with a different way of experiencing the ride on top of it being interactive and the scoring aspect. We can also ask and look at what the ride can become in the future and how it can evolve.”



Another bonus of the dark ride coaster system is the ability to upgrade the ride as new technology emerges to keep it looking and feeling up-to-date.

“Typically we would upgrade these systems every five years,” says Yale. “We've done it already at Canada’s Wonderland with an upgraded projection system for Mountain’s Guardian.

“Whatever projection system we have right now, we can upgrade it in the future. Eventually it's going to be a move to LEDs or brighter projection. If you looked at this at home, think about upgrading from a PlayStation 4 to a PlayStation 5. Not only do you get the enhanced system but you know down the road there will be a PlayStation 6 to replace that new system.

With certain technologies ever-changing and others being used to sell experiences, adapting and upgrading technology can also benefit popular trends and help to improve operations.

Yale adds: “There's a movement for using better and brighter projection systems but in 2D rather than 3D. On an operational aspect, it's much simpler because of the need to clean 3D glasses.”



With seasonal events proving ever more popular for theme parks, often proving to be their busiest times of year, alongside the ability to upgrade comes the ability to change the story, whether that be permanently or temporarily.

“An aspect which I think is going to be more and more popular is parks are trying to open more days in the year, so seasonal content is definitely an option,” says Yale.

“An attraction like this could be run in other climates year round. The idea is to bring people more than one time throughout the year.”

Yale points to the former Triotech-designed Voyage to the Iron Reef at Knott’s Berry Farm, which the company replaced with a reimagined Knott’s Bear-y Tales attraction. In that instance, Triotech retained the vehicles from Iron Reef, upgrading them with new technology and enhancing their look to fit the new theme of the attraction, which took inspiration from a ride that sat in the same place 34 years earlier. For Primordial, with technology constantly evolving, the possibilities are endless.

“At Knott's Berry Farm we had the Iron Reef ride, which we completely rebranded and redesigned a new ride,” says Yale.

“For Primordial we could have seasonal software or we could do an update in the future where we add an element to the story. Because we used a media-based videogame engine, the attraction is going to evolve over time and I think in 2023, you have to consider this.

“Everyone tells us that Halloween is their busiest season and where they make their highest revenue. It's a huge opportunity to create whatever story you want for a time like that without changing the hardware.

“We've also had requests for seasonal content at periods like Christmas. There are many more depending on where in the world you are in the world. In Asia, for instance, you could be creating content for something around Chinese New Year.

“From Triotech's side, there are going to be more and more of these types of rides in the future - ones with the option of introducing seasonal content and enhancing the existing product.”



Not only does the hybrid offer the ability to adapt and enhance, but it also offers a premium product at a cost affordable to regional parks. This, says Yale, will see the approach to new developments in such attractions change as they aim to bring the same visitors back time and time again.

“The business model of regional parks in the future I think is going to be bringing attractions which are not expected to their parks,” he explains. “For Salt Lake City, guests are going to experience something unique. The only way they would experience something like this otherwise is to travel to Disney or Universal, which would require plane tickets, hotels, and more. Now, they can experience that locally every weekend. That whole approach is going to be used in more and more regional parks. That's what we see for the future.”

Exploring the popular trend of the “story coaster”, Yale adds that interactivity is what makes Primordial stand out and it's something Triotech is looking into further for such an experience.

“There's an approach which is just the immersive aspects of the rollercoaster but I really think that making it interactive adds life to the ride,” he says. “That could be blasters or other means of interacting. We're studying new interfaces. I think if the guests can participate in the experience, then that's a big plus. “It's going to be more and more important because we're installing these attractions which are going to be there for up to 20 years. So if you think about someone riding in a decade, if it's not interactive, then it's going to look like an old ride. Any ride opening in 2024 and beyond should have some sort of interactive component.”

Genuchten adds: “We're in an era where the public no longer wants passive entertainment. The idea of sitting back and relaxing and letting the stage do its thing is over. People seek forms of entertainment where they can be involved. They almost want to feel like they can be a character in the adventure.

“Interactivity allows us that part of the journey and allows us the ability to make the guest a central element of the experience.”



So what does the future hold for this type of ride and for Triotech?

“We’ve talked to a few operators,” says Yale. “A dark coaster is very appealing to indoor parks. We've also talked to a few locations that are not amusement parks, but are tourist locations. There's interest beyond amusement parks and this can be scaled to any size with more endings. The idea of having a coaster when it goes into the dark, having projections, a story and making it interactive, I think that's going to become more and more popular.

“In the past it was hard to do. You need a balance between high speed drop and then when you interact, it needs to slow down so you can understand what's happening. I've seen immersive components in other coasters where you barely have three seconds to see what's happening. The more rides like this that we develop, the better we'll be able to understand what makes it a good experience by tweaking the gameplay, the timings and how you interact.

Yale also adds that such a concept can really deliver bang for your buck: “Coasters are expensive. You can easily spend US$30m on a high quality coaster. With the dark ride approach, this makes a smaller coaster a much more appealing product. You can bring a medium-sized coaster which maybe isn't the highest or the fastest, but it brings it to the next level by adding this technology and in budget.”

According to Genuchten, the broad appeal that a hybrid attraction such as Primordial offers is the reason many operators are seeing something like this as a signature addition to their parks.

“I think both coasters and dark rides can be a little polarising,” he explains. “Rollercoasters have a lot of appeal, but there's also a lot of people for whom it's too much. It's too scary and they shy away from it.

“Meanwhile, dark rides don't always offer a high level of thrill. But by bringing these two together and leveraging the best of both worlds, we've created an experience or a product that has a much larger appeal compared to ‘just a coaster’ or ‘just an interactive dark ride’.

“For a park that’s incredibly important because ultimately they want to give as many people as possible a really exciting experience on that attraction. So by combining these two elements and really focusing on how we can combine them towards making a stronger product, we've created something that is thrilling and exciting enough for the coaster enthusiast. It's also immersive enough for the storytelling enthusiast and it's competitive enough for the gamer. As a result, we have a very wide appeal.

“For a park, you want to reach as many people as possible. And I think this does that.”

Yale adds: “We're pretty excited about the concept and also the combination of the best of both worlds and what it means to a park and also what it means to regional parks. They need to bring back the same people three, four, five times each summer, as opposed to a destination park. That's where the whole media base aspect makes sense for regional parks. Then, of course, the budget. We're talking about a much more modest budget. So that's where it's a perfect fit for them.”


 



© Kazoo 5 Limited 2024