immersion, guest interaction, multi-branching narrative, decision trees, repeatability, themed experiences


Although ‘immersive experiences' and ‘immersion' are popular keywords in the themed entertainment industry today, they lack clear definition and criteria in their design and application. Nevertheless, there has been an increase in guest demand for these types of experiences and for these spaces to develop innovative methods that increase the degree to which audiences are able to engage with them. This thesis iterates cohesive design criteria for immersive experiences as they continue their trend toward increased engagement, interactivity, and guest agency in physical manifestations of imaginary worlds. This trend is explored through contextual references from the industry and an assessment of their implementation of the criteria towards increasingly immersive spaces. However, the current trajectory of these experiences does not demonstrate holistic consideration of the various elements required to progress towards true “advanced immersion” for the future of themed design. A new design practice is put forward for practitioners: “Immersive Exploration Experiences.” This framework progresses towards advanced immersion by considering varied guest roles and offering personalized, branching narrative structures as a key tenet. The Immersive Exploration Experiences concept is further illustrated with example design implementations accompanied by exploration tree diagrams that show the combination of dynamic, interactive, and engaging elements. The intent of this thesis is to provide a template for creating next generation immersive experiences which are built upon dynamic guest roles, transformative spaces, repeatable narratives, and other advanced elements that give every guest an opportunity to create their own path through an imaginary world.

Completion Date




Committee Chair

Weishar, Peter


Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program

Theatre; Themed Experience





Release Date

June 2027

Length of Campus-only Access

3 years

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)

Campus Location

Orlando (Main) Campus

Restricted to the UCF community until June 2027; it will then be open access.