Need to break from reality? No problem! Now you’re just a quick set of cheap international flights away from a visit to alternate planets, mythical civilizations, and historical communities (no time machine or rocket ship needed)!
Magical, paranormal, fantastical, or historical…these live-action, interactive and virtual worlds make it possible for you to go beyond your imagination and actually live in the very scenes you once could only conceptualize or see through a screen! With the smashing success of attractions like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, Florida and the recent popularization of the show Westworld (a science fiction–thriller HBO series about a wild west themed park, tended by robotic hosts), it seems like creative visionaries and amusement park imagineers are definitely joining the bandwagon with more and more of immersive attractions popping up in theme parks across the globe (a trend we’re totally into)!
So, if you’re looking to add “alternate reality experience” to your travel itinerary, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up a list of some of the most jaw-dropping, action-packed, hair-raising immersive theme parks all over the world. Take a look!
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Orlando Florida and Anaheim California
Picture this: You walk onto the Millennium Falcon, dressed like scruffy (but lovable) space smuggler and greeted by none other than Chewbacca himself. Under his guidance, you pilot the ship into hyperspace, dodge Imperial cruisers and blast into an epic space. This is more than just another a nerdy daydream, it’ll soon be a real life experience. The upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disney’s highly anticipated Star Wars-inspired theme park, is due to open in 2019 in both Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida (so you can join in on the action, from either coast)! Disney Parks’ chairman, Bob Chapek has promised guests will experience “total immersion” when entering the park, and with 14-acres of lush forests, rugged terrains (similar to the ones you saw on Endor in Return of the Jedi), cantinas, and live action battles, it’s bound to be an out of this world experience!
Awaji Island, Japan
Lose yourself in the world of Japanese cartoons at this Anime-inspired attraction on Japan’s Awaji Island. The natural beauty of the landscape combined with the latest visual technologies makes this first-of-its-kind, immersive, Anime theme park truly exceptional. The park is divided into three distinct zones. Mori no Zone (the Forest Zone) will feature a walking trail based on 12 popular manga titles, with scenes and visual experiences all along the way. The second and third zones are based on the Crayon Shin-chan anime franchise, which follows the adventures of five-year-old Shinnosuke “Shin” Nohara. Zip-line across the Showa-ike pond or get your adrenaline rush while adventuring across the warning states, making your way up levels, just like you’re in a video game! With an expansive glamping site and 23 upscale cottages to choose from, this park can also be the perfect retreat for those of you looking for a way to relax, unwind and become a part of the breathtaking landscape of the island.
Warner Bros. World
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Not 1, not 2, not even 3… but 6 immersive worlds?! On Yas Island in Abu Dhabi there are quite a few different attractions to choose from (water parks, rides, you name it), but this one-of-a-kind indoor theme park, set to open in 2018, will be one of the largest immersive attractions of today! Prowl through the streets of city where Batman reigns in Gotham City, look up at tall skyscrapers and take in the sights of Superman’s hometown Metropolis, take it back to prehistoric times and have a “yabba dabba doo” time with the Flinstones in Bedrock, enjoy a Scooby snack with Bugs Bunny under a cartoon sky at Cartoon Junction, stroll through the canyon with Loney Toon’s Marvin the Martian in Dynamite Vulch, and wind down in a old Hollywood style town brought to life at Warner Bros. Plaza.
Toronto, Abu Dhabi, Utah, New York
Tag a friend who loves #Ghostbusters! On this day in 1984, #Ghostbusters opened in American theaters. Now, 33 years later we’re still celebrating #GhostbustersDay. Don’t forget to step beyond reality and check out THE VOID’s Ghostbusters: Dimension if you haven’t yet! Get tickets at thevoid.com/reservations and check out our latest blog (link in profile) #VOIDVR
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Go beyond the limits of reality and plunge into the world of your favorite video game, TV show or movie with the Void. This immersive, virtual reality (VR) experience goes far beyond just VR goggles and 3D glasses and actually creates a real-time, interactive adventure that truly makes you feel like you’re stepping out of this world and into another! Engage all your senses as you feel the actual heat from the torch in your hands, interact with all the creatures and inhabitants within the world you’re living in, and watch your step as the ground beneath you literally rumbles and shakes! Right now, in all four locations all across the globe, you can become a part of the hyper-realistic dimension of Ghostbusters! That’s right. Now you and your friends can strap on a proton pack, as you obliterate paranormal pests, save New York City from those pesky poltergeists and keep a watchful eye for Slimer. So now the only question is… who ya gonna call?
Puy du Fou
Les Epesses, France
Knights, Vikings, and Gladiators…oh my! If you’re looking for an interactive experience that goes beyond the imagination and 3D world, it’s time to book some cheap international flights to France! Nestled in the heart of the Vendée region, Puy du Fou attracts more than two million visitors every year! Watch a 20-meter long ship emerge from under the water as it reveals live Vikings that climb off the ship and overtake a village, pillaging away as the village goes up in flames. If that’s not thrilling enough for you, how does a Falcon whizzing past your ear or sitting in an 115-meter amphitheater, complete with gladiatorial combat and chariot racing, sound? Spend the night in Hotel La Citadelle, a medieval-style castle and sleep in a real oak bed, surrounded by 10th-century lanterns. With 26 different shows to choose from, complete with 700 performers, 200 horses and birds (among countless other animals), this park is nothing short of spectacular!
Pandora: the World of Avatar
Walt Disney World – Orlando, Florida
If you haven’t had your fill of immersion at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, head to the Disney Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida to discover the splendor of Pandora: the World of Avatar. Based off director James Cameron’s film, these 12 acres have been turned into a reimagined land of magical, natural beauty. Thrill-seekers can fly on the back of a mountain banshee to see the landscape of the land from high up in the clouds, hike through the Valley of Mo’Ara amid the glowing foliage and floating mountains, or embrace your inner musician and join a Na’vi drum circle! If you’re looking for a quieter experience, float down the sacred Kaspavan River on a reed boat in the depths of the bioluminescent rainforest. While you may be distracted on your journey surrounded by exotic animals and under a canopy of iridescent verdure, don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Shaman of songs whose powerful music spreads positive energy throughout the forest!
Whether you’re fantasizing about co-piloting the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca, floating along in a bioluminescent rainforest, or walking through Batman’s hometown of Gotham City, there’s a place for you to live out your alternate universe dreams! Why settle for experiencing a virtual reality through just a monitor, when you can actually live in it?
Have you been to any of these theme parks? Have more to add to the list? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!