Under the supervision of Merlin Entertainments’ global creative and delivery arm, Merlin Magic Making, LEGOLAND is turning three of its existing “Project X” roller coasters into new high-tech virtual reality attractions called The Great Lego Race.
Using VR headsets, kids will be immersed in a complete LEGO brick environment where they can race as characters from the toyco’s popular mini-figure mystery assortment packs. Vehicles will include a rocket-powered surfboard and an espresso-fueled scooter. Before the headset experience begins, guests will walk into a new entry portal to the sound of roaring engines and queue up in a pre-race space, featuring pit crews for each of the five LEGO racers preparing for the competition.
Other interactive and hands-on experiences will also be available to entertain waiting riders.
The first park to launch the new experience will be LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort later this year, followed by LEGOLAND Florida Resort and Germany’s LEGOLAND Deutschland Resort in 2018.
Merlin Entertainments is currently Europe’s biggest visitor-attraction operator. It recently co-developed interactive experiences for UK aquariums with Technicolor based on the underwater adventure series The Deep.
The Great LEGO Race arrives as Nintendo is putting the finishing touches on its own VR theme park experience. The first-person Mario Kart racing adventure created in partnership with Universal Parks and Resorts is set to launch at Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Japan.
As theme parks continue to rise in popularity, roller coasters are also proving to be hot a commodity in the toy aisle. LEGO Friends Amusement Park Roller Coaster, for one, took home the coveted Toy of the Year award at the US Toy Industry Association’s 17th annual ceremony in February.
LEGO’s push into more experiences that merge physical and digital play patterns is part of the Danish company’s new direction under CEO Neils B. Christiansen following a revenue decline in the first half of 2017 and impending job cuts.