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How Nostalgia Shapes Theme Park Visits

Posted by Elizabeth Alton on Thursday, August 4th, 2016

The nostalgia advertising developments which are in all places this summer time are bringing many people straight again to the 1980s and 1990s: Pokémon, Lego, the Full House reboot. Major manufacturers capitalize on nostalgia to emotionally interact Millennials and build deeper model connections.

All of this obtained me considering: what’s the connection between nostalgia and theme parks? How can entertainment design buffs revisit their favorite parks without shattering treasured childhood reminiscences whereas additionally appreciating the newest additions? And perhaps most of all, should theme parks be jumping on the nostalgia development for their own advertising and design efforts?

The Position of Nostalgia in Fostering Our Love of Theme Parks

For most people on the planet of leisure design – and even those who simply contemplate themselves Disney fans – it’s often rooted in childhood. A household journey where you experienced the Tower of Terror for the first time or floating via the absolutely immersive Jungle Cruise, for instance. No matter that second was for you, something related, fired up your imagination, and drew you into the story. From that second forward, just interested by or spending time in theme parks evoked a cheerful reminiscence. As time goes by, reminiscences turn into nostalgia.

What precisely is nostalgia, anyway? Writing for Scientific American, psychologist Clay Routledge describes a research where scientists asked individuals what they have been nostalgic about and then analyzed the answers. He writes, “Results from these coded narratives indicated that nostalgic memories tend to be focused on momentous or personally meaningful life events that prominently feature close others (e.g., friends, family, romantic partners). Family vacations, road trips with friends, weddings, graduations, birthday parties, and holiday gatherings with loved ones are examples of the kinds of cherished experiences that people revisit when engaging in nostalgia… Nostalgic memories are happy memories.” If nostalgia is predicated on comfortable reminiscences, it’s straightforward to see why theme parks have a starring position.

How we experience theme parks modifications as we grow to be adults, in fact. The individuals and the locations change. Our definition of what is momentous or meaningful evolves. But as adults, there are two related questions to think about: how can we revisit theme parks with out nostalgia being a hindrance to an amazing expertise? And may and will theme parks be utilizing nostalgia as a design software?

Ideas for Visiting a Theme Park to Recapture the Magic – Without Dropping the Spark

Nostalgia is about these good moments that are trapped in time, in your thoughts. There isn’t a reality to check these remembered experiences towards. Yet everyone has had the expertise of going to a favourite restaurant or place you visited as a kid. It’s larger than life, and you keep in mind how much enjoyable it was. Then, upon revisiting it as an adult, your impression modifications. Colourful turns into garish, well-loved becomes shabby, and groups of individuals having fun evolve into unbearable crowds. Understanding how nostalgia works might help theme park visitors manage their expectations and construction their visits to avoid this from occurring – and provide leisure designers with a framework to benefit from this aspect of the theme park experience.

  1. Earlier than you revisit, think about what you really loved.

Revisiting your favourite theme park without destroying your greatest reminiscences is the objective, right? If our yearning is concerning the fun and freedom and immersion  we felt, it is very important be clear about that. Begin by determining what these reminiscences have been. Dig deep to think about what you appreciated. More importantly, what did you are feeling? For some individuals, it is about closeness with family, pals, or perhaps a shared love of the experience with other visitors. For others, it is immersion within the story and the deep engagement with sure storylines or characters. By figuring out what created nice reminiscences years in the past, it’s attainable to angle a visit to permit you probably the most time to explore those things.

  1. Mentally break down the difference between the place and the individuals.

Nostalgia is usually as a lot concerning the individuals you experienced a destination with because the destination itself. It could possibly be carefree time with pals or the security of time as a kid with mother and father and siblings who at the moment are flung far afield. Even in case you are experiencing the vacation spot with the identical individuals, it’s more likely to feel totally different as relationships and other people evolve. Being psychologically clear concerning the totally different parts of nostalgia outlined in Routledge’s work will help you concentrate on the elements of your visit which matter probably the most.

  1. Revisit the belongings you love – but manage your expectations.

Earlier than your visit, make an inventory of what you need to revisit. Visitors who spend a while online can shortly determine what parts are nonetheless there and may keep away from in-the-moment disappointment which may damage a visit. If a favourite journey was scrapped years in the past, it is better to know that prematurely to manage your expectations.

Walt Disney with officials

  1. Purposely use your intel to create new reminiscences.

Use what you liked about theme parks up to now to seek out new points of interest to take pleasure in in your go to. For Disney fans who love parades, every day now gives multiple new parades to discover. Should you liked the story worlds, take a look at the newest variations of IP or on the most immersive darkish rides. Resurrect goals of plunging roller coasters by climbing aboard the newest document breaker. By desirous about what you really take pleasure in and what adds up to a terrific theme park visit, it’s attainable to map out the newest experiences which can assist create new reminiscences. Planning ahead and making an attempt new things balances nostalgia with discovering new passions and points of interest to be enthusiastic about.

  1. Indulge your nostalgia.

It’s typically the little things we get most enthusiastic about: the remembered taste of cotton candy or the music in a enjoyable house. Spending time revisiting those little particulars may help connect the present second to the remembered past and create constructive feelings. The New York Occasions has reported that nostalgia may be good for you: it will possibly allow you to feel like you will have roots and continuity, counteract unfavorable feelings, and make you are feeling nearer to family members. A bit indulgence doesn’t need to be about wanting backwards at all – no less than not in a tragic, destructive, or wistful manner. Indulge your nostalgia and get a constructive mood increase.

Vintage Mickey Mouse

How Theme Parks Stability Nostalgia and Innovation

Leisure design is a subject which is, at its core, about innovation – creating quicker, greater, and more partaking rides or pushing immersion to new depths. Consequently, designers are wanting forward. What scorching IP is popping out that we will construct on to create the subsequent massive success? What applied sciences have gotten out there that may push the envelope in an entire new means?

“Disney Is In the Details”: A Disney Imagineering intern wrote a thesis referred to as “Disney Is In the Details.” That title superbly sums up an angle designers can take relating to nostalgia in parks. Typically, it is concerning the smallest particulars. For Disney, it may be that one iconic view of Cinderella’s Fort or a pair of mouse ears. Even when innovation is your precedence, you possibly can interact visitors’ fond reminiscences by including little Easter Egg fashion nods to the previous in your designs.

Generations of enjoyable: From a advertising perspective, many parks already do this. Mother and father who had nice experiences at certain parks typically need to share that same experience with their youngsters. Parks can play to this by focusing on advertising campaigns and special promotions which encourage families to visit and help individuals explicitly make connections between past reminiscences in a park and the brand new adventures they’re having there.

Don’t confuse vintage and nostalgia: The phrases classic and nostalgia are sometimes used interchangeably. Since we are likely to get nostalgic about issues in the distant past, it’s a natural leap; however it may be a fatal one for an entertainment designer who’s making an attempt to tap into this for visitors. Vintage principally simply means previous; nostalgia is about craving a connection with something which is each previous and personally significant to us. A classic Ferris wheel is simply exciting if we rode one ourselves, laughing with associates or sneaking a first kiss. As an alternative of anticipating particular gadgets from totally different eras to evoke robust feelings,  find ways to turn these influences into emotional levers for visitors.

Don’t overlook the “architecture of reassurance:” In a captivating piece for Harvard Design Journal, Tom Vanderbilt wrote concerning the architecture of reassurance at Disney. He writes, “the architecture of reassurance:” all these architectural and environmental touches, ranging from harmonious colour schemes to the absence of garbage (a Principal Road “newspaper” was discontinued early on because the discarded copies have been thought to muddle to the street), to the well-known 5/eight building scale (which “made the street a toy,” as Disney put it), which work together to supply an accessible panorama where Disney and guests alike might really feel immediately “at home.”  It is a sensible summation: the nostalgic visitor is looking for one thing acquainted, comforting, and finally reassuring.

Theme parks are an iconic American – and now international – expertise which is more likely to convey individuals fond reminiscences.. For guests or vacationers, there’s a deep emotional attachment which happens when feeling nostalgic, and uncovering the specifics may help benefit from visits. For leisure designers, understanding how nostalgia and feelings play a task within the theme park experience may also help find new methods to attach with audiences and build bridges between previous experiences and future innovation.

Photographs sourced courtesy of Wikipedia, Wikia, Pinterest