For this blog post I have decided to review Disney Spring’s VR experience called The Void. I was recently in Orlando for a job interview and spent some time at Disney Springs. When I saw they had a VR experience, I had to check it out. The Void describe their business as a chance to experience “hyper-reality” a “whole-body fully immersive VR experience.” Tickets for each experience were $29.95 a person and I went in with a team of 3 other people.
What the Void does is blend actual reality with a virtual reality experience. When you walk into the building, you choose what story you want to experience, and an employee escorts you to that part of the building. The best way I could explain what comes next is if you blended laser tag, an escape room, and virtual reality. I chose to experience the Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire story. They suited me up with a haptic vest, headset, and a fake blaster and sent me into the experience. This was different than anything I’ve ever remotely experienced in VR. The location you walk into is pretty much a blank environment that mirrors what you’re seeing in your headset. You can reach out and feel the walls, open doors, you can feel wind rushing past you, different temperatures, and even rumbles beneath the floor you’re standing on.
Star Wars: The Secrets of the Empirehttps://youtu.be/KfD28LYYwWM
Since you’re equipped with a haptic suit, you feel like you are truly immersed. In the Star Wars story, you are written into the story as an undercover agent for the Resistance disguised as a storm trooper. There are multiple rumble packs on the chest that vibrate when you’re being shot at or get pushed. The blaster I was given worked pretty much like a controller where I could pull a trigger and shoot down enemies as I made my way through the story. The headset can track your movement throughout the environment through motion sensors on the front of the eye piece. It can even see your hands and track where you place them in the area around you.
The headset itself is a modified version of the Oculus Rift. This is the starter they use for all of their headsets. However, these are customized for The Void and include the extra advancements that go along with what is needed to connect the environment to the scenes in the virtual world.
Wired Review of The Void:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUs5qi_RFnM
This is where I see the future of VR being really successful. The Void is a third party that has partnered with Disney in both Anaheim and Orlando, but they’re centered outside of Salt Lake City. They also have an insane amount of locations in heavily tourist popular destinations like Santa Monica, Las Vegas, and Toronto. Based on the popularity of escape rooms, I can only see growth for this company as they have the ability to franchise in more and more cities. There is a limited amount of stories you can have in one location and some could consider that a drawback, but I see that as a better business move because as you phase older experiences out and newer experiences in, it brings returning customers back. The experience wasn’t perfect. There were moments where you felt a little like you were walking around blind because you had to find an interactive element in the room, but the headset could always keep you in the general area. Above all, this was something I have never experienced anything like and I’m excited to return again when I live in Orlando this Fall.