March 8, 2023

Dark Rides, The Next Generation (Part 2)

In an earlier blog, Dark Rides – The Next Generation – Part 1, we explained the importance of upgrading dark rides to meet increasing visitor expectations and explored the three key trends – gamification, personalization and datafication - offering operators the opportunity to upgrade existing rides without significant structural change.

Personalization allows for a more connected, heightened level of visitor experience so let's explore some of those enabling technologies in more detail...

Creating personalized experiences

Personalization is one of the most compelling trends in Themed Entertainment because it gives your visitors a unique experience and elevates the attraction. There's several technologies you'll want to know, here's a quick rundown of some of them:

  • RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology uses radio waves to identify and track objects or people. For example, in dark rides, RFID technology can track riders and personalize their experiences based on their unique preferences. For example, the control system could assign visitors to a specific ride vehicle, send personalized messages during the ride or enable personalized interactions with displays or other dynamic elements within the attraction space.
  • Motion and position sensors can track the movements or actions of visitors within a ride vehicle or at key points in an attraction space. This enables the ride control systems to respond with specific personalized actions, such as adjusting the ride's intensity or triggering unique special effects based on the rider's position or movements.
  • Interactive displays can create personalized experiences by providing riders different options or scenarios based on their preferences or actions. For example, interactive displays at the entry to the dark ride can allow visitors to choose their path through the ride space, creating a unique and personalized experience.
  • Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology can create immersive and personalized experiences by overlaying digital content onto the physical ride experience or creating entirely virtual environments for riders to explore. You can use AR or VR technology during the ride to provide visitors with personalized content and experiences tailored to their preferences. For example, riders can view shared content in the physical space, while the system can deliver personalized virtual content as an additional layer. 
  • Voice recognition technology enables personalization by enabling elements within the ride to respond to individual riders' voices or by delivering personalized audio messages based on visitors' preferences or actions.

Elevate your dark ride experience with multi-sensory technologies


Marvel Experience Thailand 2

Datafication underpins personalization and drives innovation  

Successful personalization is based on sound data collection and datafication. Data gathering is getting easier because visitors are expanding their 'digital life', leaving clues to their personality, values and attitudes.

By analyzing data from booking details, loyalty programs, behavior tracking and social media, you can create insights that can be used to deliver personalized experiences. However, it's important to remember that data collection and use must be carried out in line with relevant privacy laws. 

As well as personalizing rides, datafication can improve the overall visitor experience by tracking visitor behavior and measuring the impact of experiences. The information can then be used to make data-driven decisions to improve dark ride experiences and make them more engaging and impactful. 

The data can also help identify new innovation opportunities in understanding visitors' behavior and preferences; you can develop new products, services and experiences that more closely meet their changing needs and expectations.

Masha and The Bear Land of Laughter Turkey Next Gen 2


[See Electrosonic's work on Masha and The Bear at Europa Park]

Planning your next move

Upgrading an existing dark ride using data-driven gamification and personalization techniques can transform the guest experience quickly and easily compared to the long-term planning and development required to create new rides.

Electrosonic Consultants draw on 55+ years of experience developing award-winning solutions for theme parks bringing together the expertise of leading technology partners like Barco, Pixera and Smart Monkeys who provide the latest innovative technologies driving highly integrated dark ride solutions.

To help you plan your upgrade, it's essential to work with specialists who understand how these technologies come together to create the technology roadmap for the dark ride environment. Electrosonic's Executive Design Consultancy Service brings together technology, innovation and experiential solutions experts to help you identify opportunities and plan and implement your transformation initiatives.

Electrosonic's Executive Design Consultancy Service provide a free complementary Charrette discussion at the initial conceptual stage to help you reimagine your dark ride.


Dark Rides Masha and The Bear Land of Laugher, Turkey


Yiannis Cabolis

Yiannis Cabolis, Director of Technology Innovation at Electrosonic, shares the inside track on how technology drives innovation. He brings 30 years’ experience monitoring emerging technologies, developing best practices and driving Research and Development to solve challenges and help clients understand how to benefit from the latest engineered technology solutions.