Will Interactivity Be a Game Changer for Water Rides?

Until a few decades ago, visiting an amusement and theme park was mostly about being a passive participant in a pre-defined narrative, where you made your way through queues, experienced rides, watched shows, created some fond memories, and went home in high spirits and lighter in mood.

As time went by, the experience evolved giving more control and agency to the guests. With the advent of technology, there emerged new ways of involving the guest in the story of the park and changing his/her role from being a passive participant to an active player. With the right interactive tools, today you can open your park doors to boundless possibilities, where you don’t need to follow a single narrative trajectory but can engage with guests and create unique and personalised adventures for each one of them.

The Power of Interactivity – Become the Star of the Show
Interactivity can rejuvenate an aging ride and make it fun. It can help you empower your guests to transcend the physical realm and experience new possibilities through customisable and immersive entertainment experiences. With the right interactivity tools, you can allow your water ride guests to unravel a whole new dimension of fun and adventure, in which they are the actors, not the audience.

There exist a host of interactive tools that can transform a conventional water ride experience: from tipping buckets, water guns, spray bollards, water bombs, water jets and waterfalls to shore canons, geysers, air blasts, to fountains and water curtains. Deploying such interactive tools, WhiteWater’s newest water ride, Raft Battle transforms the typical water ride experience by taking you on a memorable river journey, adding surprises and building into it a real-life water fight environment by creating different layers of interactivity between guest-to-guest, guest-to-spectator, ride-to-guest in a way that has never been experienced before.

What Goes into the Secret Sauce of Interactivity
Building interactivity is not as simple as it sounds, it needs to be woven into the ride experience. If done well, it can help you accentuate it and create personalised and ‘shareable’ experiences that your guests remember for years to come.

From a ‘human’ perspective, an interactive water ride experience can go a long way in nurturing the spirit of ‘Play’ providing a great platform for social interaction and self discovery. Enabling you to engage with friends and family, it can help you bridge inter-generational gap and strengthen the parental and sibling bond by equipping you with the interactive tools to create a natural play setting. Providing intellectual stimulation, it can help children put into practice the spirit of collaboration early on and help them explore new experiences, safely.

According to Nathan A. Jones, President, Park Attractions Division, WhiteWater, “When designing family attractions considerations must be taken for a wide-ranging demographic. Interactivity on water rides is no different. There will be those that want maximum thrill and the highest splash factor for interactivity in water rides, while others preference is storytelling adventure with interactivity only added to advance a narrative. Either way, our approach is to look at the ride attraction holistically rather than an individual ride or vehicle. This approach allows us to seamlessly blend interactivity into a memorable experience that provides maximum fun for guests.”

“Interactivity doesn’t have to be high tech; we have seen that simple shore cannons are hugely popular when it comes to water rides. In cases where the cannons are coin operated, they typically make their money back in a season or two. There is an emerging trend of operators providing interactive elements to non-riders – creating viewing platforms for the drops and splashdowns of flume rides. Rides with iconic splashes such as the Shoot the Chute often compel non-riders to come, stop and watch, making them an active part of the ride and allow them to experience the splash, just as the riders do,” adds Kelly Sall, Product Manager, Water Rides, WhiteWater.

Whether it’s Dudley Do-Right Ripsaw Falls flume ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, with shore guns drenching the guests as they wait to leave the ride or the magic of WhiteWater’s Slideboarding technology that creates a new experience layer to the excitement of sliding, interactivity can help you transform the ride experience, giving your guests superpowers, even if momentarily. While it makes the ride experience more engaging, it keeps guests visiting again and again, helping your park get the ROI, it needs.

The Future of Interactivity
As one of the recent interactivity innovations, Wuxi Sunac Water World’s new family ride experience in Over/Under uses technology overlay to create a gamified experience where guests play 6-person team Slideboarding at the start, their score determines if they’re winners and go ‘over’ or if they’re losers and go ‘under’. Creating a different experience for each ride, the ride experience is an exciting step forward in the evolution of gaming on attractions by WhiteWater.

To learn more on how to gain the interactive water ride advantage, reach out to us >