Today’s entertainment landscape is as bountiful as it has ever been. With competition coming from new arenas like streaming services, theme parks have reimagined themselves to stay attractive. This change has not been accomplished solely through higher and faster rides, but by using the latest technological tools available.

“We have to change the way we’ve thought in the past. It’s not all about a big piece of steel in the sky that they (consumers) see miles away,” John Kageorge, Communications Director at Dynamic Attractions said. “You have to engage with people on a one-to-one level.”

Many parks are using intellectual property (IP) agreements to connect better with their audience. Brands like the Harry Potter franchise are being used to drive consumers through park turnstiles.

“We create these relationships that we have, fake as they may be, in our mind that we know Harry [Potter]. We’ve watched him grow up and we want to engage with him again. So, IP is very, very powerful,” Kageorge said.

These relationships also reinforce the point that park goers do not necessarily care for one type of ride over another, but that they are looking for the best overall experience, according to Kageorge.

“People are not driven by what kind of ride it is,” he said. “In fact, it’s about how to best engage the guests with a story.”

While the extravagant steel roller coasters will continue to play a major role in theme parks, their greatest value may come as the vehicles that let riders connect with their favorite brands and stories.

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