Journey of Water

By the end of 2023, we will welcome several walk-through style attractions such as Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana at Walt Disney World and (hopefully) the reimagined Adventureland Treehouse at Disneyland. Illumination’s Villian-Con Minion Blast at Universal Studios Florida also did away with traditional ride vehicles in favor of a moving platform.

While we have had many great walk-through attractions in the past, we have not seen a focus on these types of attractions for many years. Are we heading into a resurgence in the creation of these types of attractions? More importantly, should theme parks shift their focus from traditional rides to walk-through-style attractions?

There Are Many Advantages to Walk-Through Attractions

Adventureland Treehouse
Image: Disney

Unlike traditional rides where visitors are passive observers, walk-through attractions demand active participation. Visitors become an integral part of the story, navigating their way through intricately designed sets, interacting with characters or features, and uncovering hidden details. The level of engagement within walk-through attractions allows visitors to influence the outcome of their own experience and enhance the feeling of immersion.

While traditional rides may offer some interactive elements, they are often constrained by the need to maintain safety and streamline operations. Walk-through attractions, on the other hand, can incorporate a wide range of interactive features, from puzzles and challenges to personalized experiences based on visitor choices.

Additionally, when it comes to most walk-through attractions, the pacing is controlled by the visitors themselves, allowing them to absorb their surroundings at their own pace and ensuring that no two experiences are exactly alike. This storytelling approach not only captivates the audience but also encourages multiple visits to fully appreciate the richness of the narrative. However, it should be noted that this control of pace shifting to the guest rather than the ride operators can lead to longer wait times than traditional rides.

Tom Sawyer Island
Image: Disney

Walk-through attractions also have the advantage of accommodating a broader range of guests. We saw many issues with inclusivity with the opening of TRON Lightcycle / Run earlier this year. While traditional rides are often limited by the mechanics of their vehicles, walk-through attractions can accommodate guests of any age, size, or ability. Some guests may have an easier time participating in Illumination’s Villian-Con Minion Blast vs. Men in Black: Alien Attack which offers a similar experience but utilizes vehicles. The diversity of attractions that aren't limited by a ride vehicle ensures something for everyone and provides an attraction that families can enjoy together.

Villian Con Minion Blast
Image: Universal Studios Florida

What The Future May Hold for Walk-Through Attractions

While traditional rides have their own merits in delivering quick thrills, walk-through attractions offer a profound and enduring connection with the theme park's world. As theme parks continue to innovate and push boundaries, it's likely that the popularity of walk-through attractions will continue to grow, providing visitors with an even more diverse range of entertainment options.

Mattel Adventure Park has already announced that Barbie’s Beach House will be in the park. While we know there is going to be a rooftop bar and restaurant, it has also been mentioned that guests will be able to explore Barbie's iconic closet and that there will be hologram technology utilized. We are excited to see what else is in store for this attraction when the park opens next year.

Mattel Adventure Park
Image: Mattel Adventure Park

Another attraction that has been teased is the inclusion of Casita, the eccentric house from Encanto. While it was only mentioned as part of a Blue Sky concept, there is no denying that Casita would make the perfect interactive walk-through attraction. Imagine stepping into each of the magical Madrigal’s rooms and watching as the house bustles with enchantment. This would be the ideal way for Imagineers to bring this beloved story to the Disney parks.

Do you prefer walk-through attractions or the thrills of traditional rides?  Let us know by voting in our poll or by leaving a comment below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.

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