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Disney CEO Bob Iger prefers immersion to VR at theme parks

star wars land concept art.

Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger has revealed that the company doesn’t plan on pushing virtual reality (VR) at its parks, instead opting to create immersive themed lands.

Speaking at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit on Tuesday (May 14), Iger opened up about Disney theme parks and technology.

“We’re not trying to fake immersion,” Iger said. “We’re trying to make it as real as possible with as much scale as possible.

“We think that as you enter one of these lands, with rock formations that are multiple storeys high and real characters walking around that you can actually interact with, and experiences that you can travel through, that there’s a wow factor there that is much greater than we can ever achieve with VR.”

Iger has previously said that he prefers to explore AR technology rather than VR.

Interacting with characters at Galaxy’s Edge

star-wars-galaxys-edge-ogas cantina star wars food and drink

On the upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Iger said: “It was just staggering what we’ve done. We actually give you the feeling of being in a place at the other edge of the galaxy.

“And you can go into a bar – that’s the cantina – and order a drink with characters walking around that you’ve seen in the movies.”

Iger referenced other expansions, including Cars Land at California Adventure Park and Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom park in Orlando.

Real experiences pay off for Disney

Rise of the Resistance Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Last week, Disney reported earnings for its second quarter, ended March 30, revealing that its theme parks are thriving – and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge isn’t even open yet.

As technology becomes increasingly integral in creating unique and memorable visitor experiences, Blooloop has predicted six attraction tech trends as ones to watch in 2019.

We’ve also highlighted five key VR experiences currently drawing the crowds, from virtual paragliding to an immersive Victorian Nightmare.

Images: Disney

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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