Dreamscape Virtual Reality Attraction Opening at Easton
Los Angeles, Dallas, Dubai and now, Columbus. Dreamscape — an immersive virtual reality attraction co-founded by former Disneyland and DreamWorks Pictures leadership, among others — is opening at Easton on Friday, Feb. 28.
The Columbus attraction, in partnership with AMC, is located at one of the company’s most successful locations: Easton Town Center. Dreamscape took two of AMC’s theaters and created an immersive, full-body VR experience that suits up guests with head, back, hand and foot trackers and takes them through vividly imagined worlds to complete adventurous missions.
The immersive experience plays on the strengths of its entertainment industry veteran co-founders.
That includes Bruce Vaughn, former chief creative officer of Disney Imagineering and former chief creative executive at the Shanghai Disneyland. His background is in designing and building theme parks, cruise ships and hotels, and that experience has influenced small details to integral parts of the Dreamscape experience. From cases in the lobby featuring “artifacts” from each experience, to guests having “departure” times rather than show times, all of it contributes to the background storytelling and narrative building that complete the attraction’s overall feel.
“It’s really about the storytelling and stepping into the narrative of the story,” said Vaughn.
Vaughn said Dreamscape plays into a feeling of walking into a movie, literally in the case of “Curse of the Lost Pearl,” one of three titles at Dreamscape. Guests see a black and white film projection they later walk through, there entering a full-color, fictional Indiana Jones-inspired film. Hollywood film score composer Hans Zimmer is an investor and oversees music scores for Dreamscape, adding an emotional impact to the immersive experience.
Along with co-founders like Walter Parkes — who has produced over 50 films including Gladiator, The Minority Report and the Men in Black franchise — Dreamscape’s investors also have ties to Dreamscape’s titles and projects.
One investor is Steven Spielberg, who is a co-owner of the Men in Black series. A Men in Black VR experience is currently in the works, where guests can become Men in Black agents themselves. And Dreamscape’s first title, “Alien Zoo,” was inspired by a project by Spielberg and Parkes — also a former head of DreamWorks Motion Pictures — that never got the movie treatment.
Vaughn said another key part of the Dreamscape experience is pushing away from technology.
“The core people who lead it now are not technologists. We’re entertainment people,” he said. And unlike other location-based VR spaces, Dreamscape tries to deliver experiences that don’t just speak to the male gamer.
In that way Dreamscape is four quadrant — a movie industry term Vaughn used, meaning it appeals to all four major demographic quadrants: male and female, and both over and under 25. It’s also a social experience, where up to six guests can interact with each other and the world around them as their chosen avatars.
Vaughn describes it as “Story-driven experiences where you feel like you’ve stepped in a movie, but have all of the physical experience of a theme park attraction.”
Dreamscape’s founders may be entertainment veterans and storytellers, but the technology still aims to surpass the virtual reality space. Vaughn says Dreamscape is unique in that it tracks full-body feet, hands, back and head. Eventually, Dreamscape will see technology upgrades to guests’ avatars where eye, mouth and finger movement is possible, assisting in the immersive storytelling that makes Dreamscape a palatable entertainment space for “adventures that transcend time, space and dimension.”
Dreamscape will soon see new titles, including an experience based on the Universal DreamWorks franchise How to Train Your Dragon where guests ride on the back of a dragon, as well as the Men in Black title currently in development and a number of others. Titles cycle through Dreamscape between eight months and a year, giving guests enough time to go through each, bring their family and friends, and catch things they didn’t see the first time.
“Our goal is just to bring mainstream entertainment to places like Easton Town Center and malls and just blowing people’s minds is what we hope,” said Vaughn. “And social experience, something you can share together.”
General admission tickets are $19.99, with weekends and holiday season pricing at $21.99 per ticket.
For more information, visit dreamscapeimmersive.com/find-us/columbus-vr-easton-town-center.