Touring Attractions: Inside The Marvel Experience
Produced by Hero ventures. The Marvel Experience is a first-of-its-kind city to city traveling attraction that features a 3-D stereoscopic Dome, a 4-D motion ride, and other fancy techno words like “augmented reality, multi-person gaming and RFID progress tracking.”
Your journey will take you through a 360-degree, 3-D stereoscopic projection Dome, where you’ll get closer than you’ve ever been to Marvel’s Heroes and Villains. You’ll also blast off on a state-of-the-art 4-D motion ride, where you’ll feel every twist and turn. The Marvel Experience utilizes the latest interactive technology, including augmented reality, multi-person gaming, and RFID progress tracking, so you can see yourself in action.
Check out this video of a Behind-The-Scenes look at what to expect!
Over the past weekend Jake, one of our reporters, visited this new traveling experience at the Dallas stop of the city -to-city tour. Check out his experience below!
*Warning! The Below Review Does Contain Some Spoilers*
The Marvel Experience is a new type of innovative travelling attraction where guests get the same overall immersive experience, but also have opportunities to try different interactive exhibits on their own. Upon entering the compound made up of large dome structures and surrounded by themed cargo containers and metal fences, the “New Recruits” are instructed to make a S.H.I.E.L.D. identification card.
The cards are a cool souvenir for any Marvel fan, though they’ll cost you an extra $12. You do however get a digital copy for free. I was a little disappointed that they weren’t used for any of the interactive elements inside the show though. Once your group has ID cards made, it’s time to head into the first dome.
The first dome is the pre-show room that sets up the entire experience. Tony Stark appears and introduces the new threat that could destroy all of mankind. Hardcore Marvel fans may find Stark’s representation in this event a bit too silly. The whole experience is clearly aimed at families and casual fans. Basically the largest demographic possible. After the brief pre-show played on multiple tv monitors overhead, it was time to move into the next dome where we were greeted by Nick Fury and a host of other Marvel characters who dove deeper into the story line. In this dome, there is some themed scenery and the characters appear around the room via projections on the inside of the dome itself.
The interactive part of the experience begins as you enter the third and largest dome. This is the training facility where the new S.H.I.E.L.D. agents can practice and hone their skills before having to save the world. Smaller interactive attractions make up the landscape of the room, each with their own queue as guests can pick and choose what challenges they want to play. There are multiple virtual fighting and movement games, utilizing motion capture technology. There is a laser beam maze, infinitely high rock climbing walls (like vertical treadmills,) and a 3D theater that allows about 30 people at a time to participate in virtual shooting exercises. There is also a touchscreen mining experience where you dig for scrap parts and shrapnel to build weapons. It’s almost identical in nature to the diamond mine game found in the queue at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in WDW’s Magic Kingdom. This entire dome is very much like an updated version of the Disney Quest interactive theme park, though everything has something to do with the Marvel Universe. After you’ve had your fill of training, you continue on the one way trip into what I thought were the best two elements of the event…
The next area was called the Simularium. You are given a pair of 3D glasses and told to prepare for a simulated battle. 14 projectors and numerous speakers in a total 360 degree arrangement create some of the most crisp and immersive 3D video effects I’ve ever seen. You can literally walk around this room and look anywhere and it’s like you are walking around inside the movie itself. It was a very impressive experience. Finally, you approach the final pre-show area. It is now time to go save the world and to do that, all agents must board a transporter. This pre-show area once again features an array of flat screens, however this time the screens are showing two different feeds that interact with each other. At the front of the room is a set of blast doors that must open so guests can board the transporter. This is where digital media and practical effects meet as The Hulk reaches in to rip the doors open so we can escape to the transport ship. The transport ship is actually a large motion base theater, once again utilizing multiple projectors on the ceiling of the massive domed structure. The motion base seats were fairly tame, but coupling them with the IMAX-style video made for a very convincing finale. It is like a smaller, travelling version of The Simpsons Ride at Universal. After saving the world from supervillains the road leads into the gift shop.
Overall, I felt the event was worth the $40 ticket. This kind of travelling, interactive experience is bringing types of entertainment technology normally only found in mega theme parks to cities all over the country. Similarly, travelling dinosaur shows have been growing in popularity the last few years. This could be the next big trend in family entertainment. Based on the fairly simple formula and setup of this event, could it be possible that we see other big name properties roll out travelling shows, such as Star Wars or Harry Potter? Time will tell. But in the meantime, if you get a chance to check out The Marvel Experience, I recommend it. ~Jake Farmer
The tour is scheduled to make stops in San Diego from Feb 7th To Feb. 22nd, and then in San Francisco from Feb. 27th to March 22nd. After that the tour is moving on to the East Coast for summer. All the East Coast stops haven’t been confirmed yet, so stay tuned for details.
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