The Walt Disney Company announced at D23 that Muppetvision, a 3D show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, would be getting a facelift, including an extended queue line area and higher quality video. Yesterday Universal Orlando announced it would be adding an IMAX to the theatre at its CityWalk complex. This leaves me asking if 3D movies are now outdated in theme parks?
Many cinema complex’s around the world now feature IMAX 3D screens and many movies are now being released in 3D. In fact just this week Toy Story was re-released in ‘Disney Digital 3D’ further proving the point that 3D movies are becoming less and less unique. As people become more used to seeing 3D movies in day-to-day life is it really plausible to pass a 3D movie, such as Muppetvision, off as a unique attraction at a world-class theme park?
The answer really depends on where you’re looking at it from. Many attractions at the bigger theme parks in the world may feature outdated 3D shows that really aren’t up to scratch and wont please today’s technology-obsessed audience. I’d argue that Muppetvision is one of those attractions. It’s key feature is that it’s in 3D, without the 3D effects it is simply a rather short episode of The Muppets. No one will want to wait five minutes for that, nevermind the twenty minute waits that Muppetvision sometimes gets. For me this attraction shows that 3D is outdated, and probably doesn’t deserve a place in Disney, Universal or any other major theme park around the world.
There is another side to the story however, one example just across the park from Muppetvision. This attraction would be family favourite Star Tours, which is about to be updated to include 3D videos. This kind of 3D attraction offers something a little extra on top of a standard 3D movie. Star Tours 3D offers the motion simulation, to add excitement to the 3D movie, it gives riders a thrilling experience they will enjoy time and time again, something that Muppetvision cannot boast. The same goes for Terminator 3D in Universal Studios Florida. Terminator may have a conventional 3D film but it mixes that with live-action, explosions and tons of special effects. Even if the attraction is getting on in years it still provides that extra factor which makes it more than just a 3D movie.
So, to summarise, I feel that there is still a place for 3D movies in theme parks, just not in the conventional way we may be used to. Theme park companies need to ensure they provide something extra on top of the 3D movie to ensure that it survives the test of time and doesn’t fade into obscurity, as many 3D attractions today are.