Dutch theme park Efteling have introduced a VR version of its popular dark ride so wheelchair users can experience the ride.
A rising number of theme parks around the world are incorporating virtual reality (VR) into their attractions, either as an attraction in and of itself or to enhance existing rides. A theme park in the Netherlands is using VR to give disabled visitors the ability to experience its Droomvlucht ride.
The Efteling theme park is home to a popular dark ride called Droomvlucht, which for safety reasons has been off-limits to visitors who are wheelchair users. This has changed with the introduction of Virtual Droomvlucht.
Virtual Droomvlucht replicates the original ride from within VR, offering guests the same experience by connecting wheelchair-using guests with friends on the ride using headphones and microphones so they can see and hear the same sensations and properly share the experience.
Fons Jurgens, president and CEO of Efteling said: “Until now, VR has often been used for individual experiences. With the use of other techniques such as audio equipment, we have created a group experience that completely stands in line with Efteling and the theme park’s values.”
The virtual Droomvlucht has been trialled with the help of some regular visitors. One such visitor, Annemarie Verbunt expressed her enthusiasm about the virtual ride: “I am so happy to be able to experience this,” she said. “I’ve been looking forward to the day that I could experience Droomvlucht for 25 years. Virtual Droomvlucht really is a complete sensory experience, thanks to the smell and wind effects but also the contact with my friends who are on the gondola.”
It has not yet been confirmed when the Virtual Droomvlucht will go into regular operation. Efteling now joins other parks who have rolled out VR attractions, such as Alton Towers with Galactica, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and Six Flags Great Adventure.