Every hotel and theme park or amusement park you have been to probably had an arcade or gaming area of some sort. This addition has been popular since the 1980’s. I personally remember plunking one coin after another into endless machines while my parents sat around and “relaxed”. These days the notion of gaming while on holiday/vacation has changed dramatically, and not just for kids.
Before we begin, let us quickly examine exactly what we mean by gamification. A game, in this sense is anything that involves guest and service interaction. For the sake of this particular article, we will be examining Walt Disney World, the current king of resort gamification.
We have been travelling to Disney World in Orlando for many years now and every hotel we have stayed at has always had the prerequisite arcade games room and most give out a “Hidden Mickey Hunt” on request from the concierge desk. As seen on the left, these hunts vary from easy to quite difficult and involve finding hidden Mickey Mouse emblems that imagineers and builders have added to the resort/hotel in the game. This is a relatively simple, self driven game but is a good place to start us off.
In keeping up with recent trends and shorter attention spans, Disney began introducing interactive games into the parks a few years back. EPCOTreceived the Kim Possible Adventure, which has now been converted to the Phineas and Ferb – Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure. The goal of the games on Agent P is to take on the role of an unpaid intern and take on Dr. Doofensmirtz and help foil his plans to take over the tri-state area.
Using your P.H.O.N.E. device that you receive from the recruiting stations, you follow the animated directions given to you via video and solve the puzzles, work out clues, etc. There are multiple games and a variety of options in the game to keep you coming back again for each country.
If you are a fan of the Phineas and Ferb cartoon, you will enjoy this as each game plays like an interactive episode of the show. If you are not a fan or have never seen the show you may not get all of the inside jokes but the game is still playable and surprisingly fun.
Since we a currently in EPCOTwrapping up our Secret Agent lifestyle, we can now move from the World Showcase over to Future World. From here we have a few choices. After many of the rides in Future World there are interactive areas and games that can be played using the information and details from the rides.
As an example; Test Track allows you to custom build a concept car prior to entering the ride and then using details of the car, you may track how well your car did on the test track. Following the ride, you may compare your stats and race your car with other drivers. Another option for gaming and interaction can be found in the Innoventions West Pavilion. Here you have a few options as well.
You can go the traditional route and play coming soon or currently available, Disney branded games on multiple platforms; or you can go for a more interactive experience at the two most popular games: Where’s The Fire and The Great Piggy Bank Adventure.
Where’s The Fire is an interactive game that pits two teams up against each other to find household fire hazards using specially made flashlights. As all members of your team shine their lights on the same hazards at the same time, you rack up points for safety. This one is very fast paced and quite fun.
The Great Piggy Bank Adventure takes the concept of saving for the future using a talking piggy bank and makes it interactive and interesting for everyone. Carrying your pig to a series of interactive stations, you play through a series of games to save money for a previously chosen goal (education, vacation, retirement, etc.).
Leaving Epcotfor the moment, we hop a Monorail over to Magic Kingdom (with a quick layover and train jump at the TTC). Now that we have safely made it to the Magic Kingdom, we enter the realm of true interactive gaming.
Disney has taken this concept to the extreme here in this particular park. In A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasure of the Seven Seas; adventurers take on the role of a pirate searching for gold with the help of Captain Jack Sparrow.
(click here for a write up about this game by guest columnist @Disparksfan)
Upon entering the Pirate Headquarters, you receive one of 5 maps and are sent out on your quest. Using your park ticket entry card or Magic Band, you bounce from location to location, interacting with a variety of built props that integrate very nicely with the theming of Adventureland. Before starting the game we had not even noticed the games props as they blended in so well with the surroundings.
Through a variety of scanning queues and clues, you are given audio from Captain Jack and company as well as some environmental lighting, sound effects and animatronics. Our advise would be to play this after dark as the lighting and animatronics are much more convincing and engaging, though it does make it a little harder to see the carvings you must find as you work your way through the maps.