Pyramid screams in Vegas
Luxor casino resort adds new attractions
I had the pleasure of chatting with Dan Heaton on his “The Tomorrow Society” podcast. We talked about how I found my way into this crazy, but wonderful gig and what I’m doing now at About Theme Parks. Then we discussed new attractions at the Disney parks and other developments in the industry. Dan is a great conversationalist and very knowledgeable. Give the podcast a listen.
In the 1990s, Las Vegas tried to recast its Sin City image by offering family-friendly attractions. In quick succession, the MGM Grand Adventure theme park, Star Trek: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton, the Adventuredome theme park at Circus Circus, the wacky rides atop the Stratosphere, the Desperado hypercoaster and other rides at Buffalo Bill’s, Speed- The Ride coaster at the Sahara, the Big Apple Coaster at New York, New York, and more opened. The response was less than enthusiastic, however, and the gambling mecca soon leaned back into its naughty adults reputation with the wink-wink “What happens here, stays here” marketing campaign. Only the Adventuredome, the Big Apple Coaster, and the Strat rides remain today.
But the city, which is constantly reinventing itself, never really gave up on attractions. Instead, Vegas has been recasting them for more mature audiences. Adults are flocking to AREA15, for example, to check out next-gen immersive experiences such as Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart and the Psychedelic Art House. These aren’t conventional theme park attractions, per se, but they are certainly park-adjacent and fall into the themed entertainment genre. Joining the fray, Universal will be bringing its PG-13 horror histrionics to the AREA 15 entertainment complex. Up the Strip, folks are getting wowed at the massive Sphere, which boasts the world’s largest and highest-resolution LED display.
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Luxor, which opened in 1993, originally featured a boat ride along the “Nile River” and a trilogy of interconnected Egypt-themed attractions that included a wonderful motion simulator ride. Like most of the aforementioned Vegas attractions from that era, they have all been shuttered. However, the distinctive, pyramid-shaped casino resort is getting in on Vegas’ adults-focused attractions trend with two intriguing new offerings.
This March, Luxor will debut Particle Ink. It will incorporate projection mapping, special effects, augmented reality, and other themed entertainment sleight-of-hand to transport participants into what the casino calls the “2.5th dimension–like stepping into a graphic novel come to life.” Consider me intrigued.
Interactive elements will allow guests to have control over the experience. By day, Particle Ink will present The Wanderlust Experience. At night, the presentation will be the more elaborate House of Shattered Prisms. Apparently taking inspiration from Cirque du Soleil and audience participation shows such as “Sleep No More,” the 75-minute live performance will blend actors and acrobats with the immersive media and interactive tech. Particle Ink looks to be quite trippy.
This month, Luxor will also be opening PLAY Playground. Instead of high-tech chicanery, the 15,000-square-foot space will feature more old-school fun. Guests will break into teams and vie for points and prizes by engaging in physical challenges, solving elaborate puzzles, and going head-to-head in TV game show-like competitions.
All ages will be invited to PLAY Playground during the day. But it’ll be adults only playing in the evening hours. It sounds as if the experience might be something like the classic Nickelodeon game shows–if they were reconfigured for Nick at Nite. To help keep the competition lively, the attraction will prominently feature a bar.
To be sure, some things that happen in Vegas should stay in Vegas. But here’s hoping that the themed adult attractions trend that is happening in the neon-infused city takes hold in other locations as well. Based on the success of AREA15, which is expanding, it would seem to be a safe bet.
Have you experienced any attractions that are geared more to adults such as Omega Mart or Particle Ink? What do you make of the immersive adult attractions trend in Vegas? Might you plan a visit to the city to experience attractions such as those coming to the Luxor?