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Virtual Dreamflight gives disabled access at Efteling

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efteling dreamflight dark ride entrance

The Dutch amusement park Efteling has evolved a new version of the popular Droomvlucht (Dreamflight) dark ride to cater for its guests with disabilities.

Dreamflight was the only major attraction at the fantasy-themed amusement park, Efteling, that was not suitable for guests with disabilities.  From spring 2018 that will no longer be the case, thanks to a virtual version of the top attraction.

Guests will see, feel, smell and hear exactly the same sensations as their friends.  They will be connected by means of a headset and microphone so they can experience the attraction together.

The idea for the Virtual Dreamflight came from an Efteling employee, Freek Teunen. “So much is possible these days, thanks to current digital developments,” he says.  “I wondered why we did not have an alternative to Droomvlucht for our guests with a disability and then this idea came into being.”

Dreamflight accurately simulated via VR

He worked up plans for the ride in detail. “It is great to see how enthusiastic employees contribute,” says Fons Jurgens, Chairman of the board at Efteling. “They are in direct contact with our guests and can therefore properly assess where the need lies. I am proud of Freek and I think it is great that we are going to do this.”

The Dreamflight experience is accurately simulated via VR. Other techniques are used to ensure that all the senses are stimulated.  Guests with a disability not only see what is going on, they also feel the wind in their face and smell the scents of the attraction.

“We think it is important that everyone can enjoy a day at Efteling, including those with disabilities,” says Jurgens. “VR has been an individual experience previously but we use other techniques to create a group experience. Due to digital developments in 2017, there are more possibilities and we also use auditory equipment so that guests can be in contact with each other.”

Efteling is based in Kaatsheuvel in the Netherlands.  It opened in 1952 and its attractions are based on features from fairy tales, fables, folklore and ancient myths and legends.  Dreamflight (Droomvlucht) is a dark ride in which unicorns and forest animals come to life in an enchanted forest.

Image courtesy of Efteling.

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