The global market for virtual and augmented reality technology is on track to hit $20.4 billion this year, according to Statista, and theme parks have taken notice. As virtual reality technology has grown in popularity and improved in quality, parks have sought ways to incorporate the technology to broaden the guest experience.
Many parks have retrofitted rides using the technology, with varying degrees of success. Difficulties, including complaints of repetitive storytelling and increased maintenance costs and wait times, have led some early adopters to discontinue its use. No Six Flags theme parks will feature a VR-enhanced ride this year, though most had at least one such ride previously.
Fun Spot America in Orlando added the technology to its Freedom Flyer roller coaster in 2016 but removed it last year. Chief Operating Officer John Arie Jr. recently told the Orlando Sentinel that the ride’s wait times nearly doubled under the challenges of putting on and adjusting headsets and cleaning them afterward.