This article considers the dramatic adaptations that have occurred in themed immersive spaces as they have dealt with the challenging dynamics of COVID-19. As COVID-19 has been a respiratory disease, it has impacted the operations of theme parks, casinos, cruise ships, and other immersive spaces, especially as such spaces have relied, traditionally, on physical forms of entertainment and immersion. The writing begins with a consideration of the COVID-19 challenges noted in the theme park and cruise ship industries. OceanMedallionTM and MyMagic+ technologies are considered for their possible positive role in addressing the operational dynamics during the pandemic. Issues of guest accessibility, environmental design, and psychological and existential conditions of guests are also discussed. The second section of the article focuses on how virtual forms of immersive design may assist in the safe operation of immersive spaces. Included is an emphasis on virtual and augmented reality technologies of rides, including those at Toy Story Mania, Fear the Walking Dead Survival, and Swamp Motel. The article concludes with a discussion of home-based immersion, including interactive media, exercise technology, and virtual tourism. Case studies that are analyzed include Faroe Islands virtual tourism, NordicTrack/iFit exercise bikes, and the Void virtual reality space.
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"COVID-19 and immersion: physical, virtual, and home spaces,"
Journal of Themed Experience and Attractions Studies: Vol. 2:
1, Article 8.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/jteas/vol2/iss1/8