The Orlando Sentinel has an interesting article about a new offering that is being tested at the Disney theme parks in Florida. (Transparency — I work for the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division, but far removed from marketing. And I read about this on the Sentinel web site like everyone else.) It’s an interactive game themed around Kim Possible, where guests try to solve a mystery using clues they receive in the park and by interacting with Disney Cast Members. You can read more about it in the article.
I love the concept, though I haven’t been able to experience it personally. I play plenty of World of Warcraft (and I’ve played a few other MMOs before that). I’ve often had the though that playing a game like WoW was a little like visiting a theme park. You’re in a different world, visiting the attractions (kind of like the Instanced Dungeons in WoW) with friends, just generally having fun. What was really missing from the analogy was the quest giver characters who give you things to do and then provide some reward when you complete them.
Disney has already done some of that by tying their own MMO, Virtual Magic Kingdom, into the theme park experience by having people complete quests in the parks for schwag in the game. It’s kind of a neat little tie-in — they used to call things like this synergy, but I think that term has hit the tired list — and the idea intrigues me. I’ll be interested to see what other quest offerings we see in the future.
Just as long as I don’t have to bring back 12 Pooh Bear ears for a chain mail vest…too hot in Florida for a chain mail vest!
Here’s a couple of interesting articles from Wired on the subject: