mascot in theme parks

How Theme Parks’ Mascots Are Changing? A Deeper Look into the Future!

  • Rojan
  • 7 minutes read
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In the enchanting world of theme parks, mascots have been the heart and soul of the visitor experience for decades. But, as we step into the digital age, the landscape of these beloved characters is undergoing a profound transformation.

From pioneers like Disney’s Mario Kart characters and LEGO’s creatures to Hong Kong’s Ocean Park Whiskers and Lotte World’s Lotty, we delve into how these mascots are embracing the digital era. Plus, we’ll get a glimpse of their future with immersive technology.

mickey mouse Picture

Embracing the Digital Age: The Evolution of Theme Park Mascots

Theme parks are always changing, and mascots have gone from being static figures to moving, interactive beings that adapt to the digital age and completely change the way visitors experience them. Things weren’t always this way, though.

The Classic Mascot Adventures

In the past, theme park animals were usually just static symbols that people could only connect with in person at the park. Even though people loved these figures, they couldn’t transcend their physical forms and connect with guests on a deeper, more exciting level.
Disneyland and Disney World were the first parks to have mascots, with figures like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck becoming famous. But, these mascots mostly lived in the park, and their interactions were limited to live shows and planned meet-and-greets. So, if you didn’t live close to a theme park like Disneyland, it’d be really hard to meet Mickey in person (or character!).

The Classic Mascot Adventures-min

The Digital Revolution

When the digital age came along, it changed everything about theme parks. It made them think of their mascots in new ways that went beyond the physical world.
Animal characters at theme parks have changed a lot in the digital age. Hong Kong’s Ocean Park Whiskers is a great example of this. Whiskers has changed a lot over the years. At first, it was only used for basic park encounters. Combining new technologies and engaging features, Whiskers has grown beyond its original purpose, now including animation and a lively online presence.

Hong Kong's Ocean Park Whiskers

Immersive Technology and Redefining the Mascot Experience

So, Ocean Park Whiskers used to be a static figure in the park, but now he’s fully accepted the digital world. The official Whiskers and Friends website has a big picture of how the mascot has changed over time. You can see Whiskers go from being a clothing figure to a lively, active personality.

Whiskers & Friends

The website shows Whiskers doing different things, like visiting the park and talking to other characters. This digital change is more than just fun; it’s a move in how animals can become an important part of the theme park experience as a whole. Ocean Park has made Whiskers more popular outside of the park by using digital tools. This lets guests interact with the mascot in the way that works best for them.
People can experience Whiskers’ digital world on the website, where they can read engaging stories and feel more connected to the character.

And it’s not just Whiskers; You can get to know six other characters as well with an animated video intro on the website. Plus, you get a detailed backstory of each character along with their nicknames, “Personal Wonders”, dreams, personality traits, and catchphrases! All of these elements work together to create a real bond between you and your favorite mascot.

Lotty’s Family in Lotte World

Lotty probably started out as a flat image that represented Lotte World’s brand. Now, he’s changed into a living figure that draws people in with vivid graphics and interesting stories. This change makes sure that Lotty stays a central and changing figure in Lotte World, which helps the park live up to its promise of having a fun and memorable atmosphere.
Thanks to the positive public reaction to Lotty’s character, his family has grown over time. Now, you have Lorry, the loving, kind girlfriend of Lotty who spreads joy to visitors. Besides these two, the website features eleven other animated characters, each with their specific personality and skills.

Lotty’s Family in Lotte World

Lotty probably started out as a flat image that represented Lotte World’s brand. Now, he’s changed into a living figure that draws people in with vivid graphics and interesting stories. This change makes sure that Lotty stays a central and changing figure in Lotte World, which helps the park live up to its promise of having a fun and memorable atmosphere.

Thanks to the positive public reaction to Lotty’s character, his family has grown over time. Now, you have Lorry, the loving, kind girlfriend of Lotty who spreads joy to visitors. Besides these two, the website features eleven other animated characters, each with their specific personality and skills.

How Immersive Tech is Shaping Theme Park Mascots

Immersive tech can transform theme park mascots, merging physical and digital realms for interactive, captivating experiences, enriching visitor engagement profoundly. Disney and LEGO are two prime examples of this.

Disney + Snapchat

Disney is often at the forefront of theme park technology. But, one of these innovations kind of happened as a survival mechanism during the pandemic. People were hungry for joy and intimacy during those times, but couldn’t visit the park for obvious reasons.

So, since nobody could come to Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Disney decided to partner with Snapchat and bring the meet-and-greets to people’s homes with Augmented Reality (AR). Using a smartphone, you could take a picture with a lively version of your favorite character, shake hands, and even wear the famous ears cap.

Virtual Reality (VR) is quite popular in gaming and animation, but for some reason, people prefer AR storytelling to VR in theme parks because they still want to feel connected to the physical park and see their family members when they interact with the mascots.

Disney + Snapchat

Disney’s AR Mario Kart

Another big AR movement for Disney was the Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge. Basically, people get to the site by going through a green pipe at the base of Mount Beanpole, which is decorated in a goofy way. It has to be one of the biggest lines in the park to get into Bowser’s Castle. A huge figure of the scary Koopa is there to welcome you.

When you get there, you’re ready for an AR kart experience. But, first, you need to wear a headgear that looks pretty close to Mario’s famous cap. The headgear is easy to wear as it magnetically clicks into place.

Now, you’re racing with Team Mario, hoping to defeat Team Bowser. You’re closer than ever to these famous mascots, feeling heavily invested in the fate of your ride!

LEGO’S AR Creatures

Probably, there’s no brand in the world that can match LEGO’s creativity with AR. After a series of hit works with Snapchat, LEGOLAND decided to use AR for the journey through “Mythica: World of Mythical Creatures”.

This is where your phone’s QR code can push you down a rabbit hole where you meet LEGO versions of mythical creatures like a sky lion! You can interact with them and take pictures alongside them.

Also, people love the AR scavenger hunts. They basically go to the in-park staff and ask for a “pop badge”. To get the badge, they need to perform a certain action, like buying food at a certain part of the park. This is perfect for the theme park because visitors spend more money in the park to get a badge that can open up a “secret doorway” for them into the AR world.

Missed Opportunities: Presenting the Full Potential of Mascot Experiences

As theme parks embrace the digital age, there are still untapped opportunities to fully realize the potential of mascot experiences.

Back in 2017, Lotte World unveiled a VR game called “Survival Mortal Blitz”. Once you put on the headset, you’ll go into a 15-minute action-packed journey with a wide range of weapon choices to battle with the monsters and escape the collapsing building.

The players are not aware of their surroundings, but that only adds more intensity to the experience because it allows them to feel the adrenaline of running from zombies or the fear of falling from a skyscraper.

AR & VR in Theme Parks: A Win-Win Trade

So, for theme parks, adding new technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) could make the interactive part even better. Think about mascots that can have one-on-one talks with tourists or virtual reality experiences that let people enter the worlds of their favorite characters.

What’s great is that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel because there are many successful cases of VR/AR brand mascots like Play Station’s Astro Bot, Carolina Panthers’ Mixed-Reality Beast, and even MIT’s Tim the Beaver.

It’s a win-win situation: On the one hand, the technology can offer visitors a personalized encounter with the mascot, making the visit a memorable experience. On the other hand, theme parks can be sure that the customers will come back for more visits and even do word-of-mouth marketing for them.

Storytelling Integration-min

The Technological Revolution in Theme Park Mascots

Mascots have become an important part of theme park fun in the digital age, whether it’s through digital media, cartoons, or new technologies. The change from traditional to digital figures shows not only how technology has improved but also how tourists’ tastes have changed as they look for more involved and interesting forms of fun. As we look ahead to the future, we can see that theme park animals will continue to change, making future visits even more magical for people all over the world.

Despite the success stories, immersive technology in theme parks is still an unmarked territory, which means that you can get ahead of the curve and earn a notable competitive advantage by bringing your mascots to life.

Luckily, we at Dream Farm Agency and our animation studio can help you make this transition. You just need to get in touch and give us the idea in your head!

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2 comments on “How Theme Parks’ Mascots Are Changing? A Deeper Look into the Future!

  1. Hi,

    I represent the ownership team of Island Waterpark located in Atlantic City. We are looking to roll out a full mascot program. Would your team be able to assist with animation etc.

    1. Hi Moragn , Thank you for taking the time to read this. Nili (Our Account Manager) has been notified of your request and will contact you via email soon.


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