“Not popping the bubble” is a crucial part of making a themed entertainment project work from the visitor experience viewpoint. What does this mean? The bubble represents the totality of the environment that the themed entertainment venue provides.
If as the visitor goes from one aspect to another – whether it is physical or intangible – and finds a consistency, the themed entertainment bubble remains intact, it does not pop. This is what the visitor pays for with themed entertainment – the privilege of existing within a complete and sustained environment that is true to itself. Attention to detail within a themed entertainment venue is therefore crucial to success.
The themed entertainment developer and themed entertainment designer must try to overlook nothing and envision everything from the customer’s point of view. Everything must support the creation and sustaining of the special themed entertainment experience. This necessitates some customization when blending in commercial elements – you don’t want the themed entertainment bubble to rudely pop when the guest walks into the retail area – you want a retail experience that corresponds in quality and content to the rest of the facility. This also necessitates staff training – and is the reason that some themed entertainment operators characterize their operatives as “cast members.” The employees must be aware of their role in keeping the bubble intact. How they look, dress, behave and speak to the guest within the themed entertainment environment must be consistent with the flavor of the particular themed entertainment experience that is being provided.
The themed entertainment bubble is also in danger of popping in such areas as the entrance gates or in the parking lot or in a queue line. These areas should be considered part of the themed entertainment environment and be designed and managed in a way to minimize any annoyances or delays. A long hot wait, a confusing series of signs into the parking area, or discourteous or abrupt treatment by the admissions staff, or an unpleasant wait in a poorly designed queue are all things that make it harder to create the themed entertainment experience bubble in the first place, much less sustain it.
Image above: CSI: The Experience , courtesy of Forth Worth Museum of Science & History
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