VR in rollercoasters, miss or hit? or something in between

Monday, August 14, 2017 3:23 PM

Since a few years the technology of VR founds its way to rollercoasters, and more and more parks are using it to "renew" a ride.

My first experience with VR on a rollercoaster was on Alpenexpress in Europapark, at that time it was free for users of their prepaid-emotioncards. I have riden the Alpenexpres since 2001 and also walked the inside of the indoorpart on many occasions , so for me there is not much new to see on that ride. The VR-version I did that first time was a story of Euromaus and his friend inside a mine, but when the train crosses the station then the you are seated ontop of a flying dragon. I liked the storyline of both parts and it is fun being to able to watch all around you (even noticing your mousefeet when you look down) and it it is different then a normal VR experience because you can feel the G-forces of the coaster.

Nowadays you have to pay € 2,- to be able to enjoy the VR version, on Alpenexpres they have 2 versions now. Version 1 is the Euromausmovie, Version 2 since 2017 is flight on a very old flying contraption as seen in the Voletarium-ride.

They also added VR on Pegasus using their Happy Family-theme ( Happy Family is a 4D movie where a family is turned into monsters.. later this year a 90+ minute version will come to regular movietheaters )

So from the expirience in case of both Pegasus and Alpenexpress I kinda liked it, on Pegasus it is too short, but since Alpenexpress goes twice over the layout it is better there.

In Europapark normally unloading/reloading trains goes faster then blinking your eyes.. ok not that fast but FAST! , not so with the VR... since VR the waitingtimes have gone up.. and a lot ! on Pegasus on the non-VR-side even above 60 minutes ( people have told me)

Now back to the reason of the topic, I have also noticed that some really big/fast rides have been converted to be a VRride of those sofar I have only been on Kraken.

With Kraken I don't understand adding VR, it is a big / fast / high rollercoaster were one want to see how high it is and see all the turns and inversions coming, or on those Intamin hypers... just the height and speed of the ride is my " thrill" why watch a screen as I go on that one? Also one of my favourite rides in the UK, the former A.I.R. I loved being to follow the terrain feeling like superman.. now it too has those VR-screens... I don't understand it.

So as a technology on certain rides I can understand, but in general and also being an upcharge I am not too big of a fan. Also when the dispatchtimes go up like crazy as on the Supermanride, no not a good idea.

What do you think?


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Monday, August 14, 2017 6:56 PM
Jeff's avatar

I still haven't tried one, and I'm not particularly interested. Honestly, I'm not interested in VR while not moving either. I have tried AR, with the Microsoft Hololens, and I can see the potential for that.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, August 14, 2017 8:41 PM

I had no interest and thought it was kind of a ridiculous idea. I did Iron Dragon VR last month and it was cooler than I thought it would be for sure, but nothing I would go out of my way to do again. The way CP does it with Iron Dragon works, limiting it to a few hours a night and only during the prime summer season. But when solid rides like Kraken at SeaWorld and Revolution at Magic Mountain get their capacity essentially destroyed to a point of the ride not even being an option to ride, I just don't get it.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017 11:37 AM

In the beginning I was also very sceptical about the whole idea. So for rides that are only VR and that have a rally bad use of potential capacity, then my answer is a full miss.

Jeff said:

I have tried AR, with the Microsoft Hololens, and I can see the potential for that.

I never heard of that, that looks kind,, so you see items in the space before you.

Mack rides had a ridesystem in the making called "hidden Reality" (but I don't see it mentioned anymore on their website), the idea was that you could see those extra items in a darkride.


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Tuesday, August 15, 2017 5:45 PM
LostKause's avatar

Augmented Reality will be a commonly used term in the very near future, just like the word Internet, or cell phone. AR will probably even replace much of the technology that we use today.

It sounds awesome, but as with all new technologies, it could be abused. What if those in power decided to use it to alter a person's reality so much that they didn't know truth from lie. What if over time it drove people insane because they couldn't tell what was real and what was altered.

I love this kind of stuff.

Last edited by LostKause, Thursday, August 17, 2017 1:27 AM
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Wednesday, August 16, 2017 9:00 AM

Perhaps that is maybe a good idea for a rollercoasters... a augmented reality in the surroundings you see.

With the VR I tend to think that park perhaps are making it too easy for themself by not theming rollercoasters anymore, which would take away a big part of the rideexpierence.

But what about suburb themeing and a few things addes per augmented reality? Like the Yeti in Expedition Everest, simply bring it back to life but as an augmented item.

For now I prefer theming over virtual things, and I think more people will go in that direction. Rollercoaster with an amazing theme to them give me better thrill then the biggest / fastet / most what-ever coasters. I love Black Mamba / Nemesis / Taron the Big Thunder Mountain-rides etc.


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Wednesday, August 16, 2017 9:07 AM
rollergator's avatar

For me personally, it's a solid "swing and a miss."

For parks - if implemented optimally, *perhaps* the reduction in capacity is worth it? There was a rush to VR at first, seems to have slowed considerably...maybe other guests' experiences are similar to mine...?


You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017 10:06 AM

I've said this before, but Europa had the best implementation of VR that I've seen. They used two family friendly rides for it, they dedicated only one out of two trains and then only half of that. Plus it was an upcharge, only a few Euros, but as we know, that helps to reduce long lines. And any seats that weren't taken up with VR riders were filled by non VR guests.
It worked really well with little delay for anybody.
I was there on relatively slow days in September, though. Maybe on busier days the scenario changes. But from what I observed it seemed ideal over the poor choices US parks are making with their VR implementation. I will never in my life ever understand taking a top draw like Superman and ruining everyone's day over it- non users and users included.
Sucks.

Last edited by RCMAC, Wednesday, August 16, 2017 10:07 AM
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Thursday, August 17, 2017 1:17 PM
sirloindude's avatar

I finally tried it on Freedom Flyer at Fun Spot last night and was wholly unimpressed. I'm only glad that I tried it for the sake of providing an informed opinion, but I wish I had just passed on it and ridden the ride normally. To their credit, they limit the use of it to the back of the train which, while still slowing down the loading, doesn't create the mess that I imagine it creates when it's available to a whole train.

I suppose I'm getting curmudgeonly, but coasters are fine enough on their own, and I can now say that having tried the alternative.


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Thursday, August 17, 2017 1:37 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

What I seriously want to know is - if you really don't like having that VR headset on your head on something like, say, Iron Dragon - and closing your eyes just isn't cutting it to relieve the motion sickness, can you take it off? I would have figured there would be something to lock it under your chin so it doesn't go flying on some of the more aggressive rides, which would freak me out.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Friday, August 18, 2017 12:33 PM

Rode Iron Dragon with VR the other day and there was nothing stopping me from taking the headset off during the ride other than common sense that I shouldn't, even though I wanted to so bad. Even closing my eyes didn't help. I did take it off as soon as we stopped on the brake run.

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Friday, August 18, 2017 12:46 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

Yeah, I have a feeling I'd have a panic attack. Ever since I was stuck on Raptor for an hour 2 years ago, I've been pretty weary about all things ride/restraint related - so I pretty much just avoid things like VR.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Saturday, August 19, 2017 10:29 PM

In the Six Flags VR implementation, there is both a chinstrap and a knob on the back to adjust the tightness of the headband. It needs to be fairly tight in order to hold the headset in place during a ride like Mind Eraser. There's nothing to prevent someone from loosening it and taking the headset off during the the ride, but that is technically not allowed and would require some effort to carry out while getting beat up on an SLC.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017 11:01 AM

Intresting about the chinstrap, I did not knew about that, and it makes perfect sense to make sure the VR-set stays in place on the more wild rides.

I have now seen that on Kraken and Galactica there holders on each seat to contain the VR-headset.

I wonder about that, with the VR-versions I did in Europapark you get your VR-set at entry of the ride and return them after use so they can can clean them using a fluid. The cleaning makes sense to me since everybody is wearing parts of the VR-set on their potentially sweaty skin.

How and when are VR-set cleaned for new use on rides with a holder on the seat?


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Friday, November 24, 2017 7:28 AM

From this Saterday Europapark will have a further VR-expierence on their Alpenexpress coaster.

This time it is IP-based

Paddington bear..

I will try to test it out as soon as I can, end of september 2017 they ended the VR on the Pegasusride at that same time they introduced an other VR-movie for alpenexpress... so now they have 4?

Last edited by Pieter Peeters, Friday, November 24, 2017 7:30 AM
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Saturday, November 25, 2017 10:20 AM

On Kraken, an operator comes down each row at the end of the ride and wipes down the headset before the restaints are released and packs it back into the holder.
While they're cleaning it, they ask how the ride was. My response was "it sucked" because the video was not centered. My wife's headset flew off so she really didn't know. At that point he offered us rerides and let us wait at the exit for the next train.
On the second ride, he made sure everything was correct. It worked like it was supposed to; everything synced up well from the drop into the water out of the station to the Kraken grabbing you on the brakes.
But I found it pretty lame. The ride is much better without it. And from watching the number of guests complaining after the ride, I think it won't be around long.
In my opinion, if you want to ride a good sim, Flight of Passage at Disney is the stuff. But leave it off of rollercoasters.


To being an "us" for once - instead of a "them".

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Sunday, November 26, 2017 10:44 AM

Can you ride Kraken without VR?


But then again, what do I know?

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Monday, November 27, 2017 8:48 AM

Only ridden VR at SFGA on Demon and Giant Drop. In both instances it was an annoying contraption that I did not enjoy. It wasn’t uncomfortable in a painful way, more a hinderence or annoyance, like a seat you just can’t get comfortable in. This was elevated on Demon, with its tight compartment seats and OS restraints. I’ve gotta believe this would be the same on any Arrow coaster, they are all pretty much configured the same in terms of seating dimensions.

With Giant Drop, it was just a matter of noticing the headset too much, taking away from the ride itself. ** This could be attributed to mild claustrophobia, as I hate feeling enclosed, and the headset definitely gives me that feeling.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017 7:59 AM
slithernoggin's avatar

I'm an old geezer, so maybe my age is showing ... but I just don't understand the appeal of riding a roller coaster with a VR device strapped on my head. If a coaster is so lame it needs a VR experience to make the ride enjoyable, why ride the ride in the first place?


Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
-- Groucho Marx

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017 3:55 PM

ShaneDenmark said:

Can you ride Kraken without VR?

Yep. They'll ask you at the station. And the line moves slow.


To being an "us" for once - instead of a "them".

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