Could Evermore Change the Interactive Theme Park Experience?

Posted by Elizabeth Alton on Monday, May 26th, 2014

These days, most of the big discussions around interactivity and theme parks center on technology. But Evermore Adventure Park, a new theatrical theme park under development in Utah and set to open in 2015, is seeking to pioneer a different model. The 45-acre theme park is working to create something different: a truly interactive, immersive and ever-changing theme park.

The concept is big: developing a “create your own adventure park” that transports guests back in time to Victorian London. A fully themed setting recreates Victorian London, while costumed actors playing out seasonal narratives allow guests to immerse and interact with different storylines. Each attraction helps advance the storyline.

Preliminary details that have been released also promise familiar retail and dining experiences, with six themed retail locations and three high-end restaurants. As guests explore Evermore Park, they will encounter opportunities to purchase premium food, drink and merchandise inspired by and reflecting the Victorian Era.

The idea of the setting itself evokes a Harry Potter-esque experience, with a variety of buildings under construction to recreate Victorian London. The park is going to be set in Pleasant Grove, Utah and features a number of era-appropriate buildings, a lake, a large town square with performance areas, elaborate gardens and five attraction spaces. Overlaying the setting is a large cast of costumed performers to help bring the story to life. Themed lodging, in the form of a Victorian hotel, is also planned.

The park will organize its offerings by seasons. Ripper’s Cove is a fall and Halloween season event; Christmas Cove will be on offer during the holidays and winter; and the summer will be organized around a series of weeklong events, weekend celebrations, and weekly activities.

Evermore ComicCon Preview

“Ripper’s Cove” features a narrative that will transport guests to Victorian Era London. It’s based on a storyline created by New York Times bestselling author Tracy Hickman. Ripper’s Cove features 5 attractions, each illustrating a chapter in the story: Old Town Victorian London, 3D Steel Mill and Mirror Maze, Lake/Cove, Forest of Horrors, Hedge Maze and Governor’s Mansion. Guests will be able to take an exciting boat ride across Ripper’s Cove to explore the sunken city, and then climb aboard the Ghost Ship.

A full-scale, 3 decked, galleon ghost ship will float on the lake. The ship is known as “The Dementor” and appears to be wrecked on the rocky shoreline. The cargo hold of the ship is a tumble of wreckage consisting of many mysterious, ancient artifacts from around the world, that were to be delivered to the emporium in the town square. Only a few of the crew remains, and these men seem to be “changed.” The park then transforms into a magical, whimsical Charles Dickens Christmas setting.

“The creativity of doing an immersive entertainment place like this had been a lifelong dream,” said Evermore founder Ken Bretschneider in a local media interview.

Evermore is an exciting project for a variety of reasons, and the timing couldn’t be better with the soaring popularity of shows such as Penny Dreadful and Downton Abbey. What stands out for us, though, is the audacious vision for an independent park that’s just starting. As a $100 million project, significant resources are being brought to bear on the project. We’re excited to see this highly immersive concept in action, and hope that it marks the start of a trend where more theme parks explore how theming, storytelling, costumed actors, and more can be combined to create a 360 degree visitor experience.


5 responses to “Could Evermore Change the Interactive Theme Park Experience?”

  1. Jane Robinson says:

    I think this is going to be wonderful! What a great theme park. I do think, however, naming one of the attractions after a horrific insane murderer is a TERRIBLE idea! I really believe you could find a much better name that is more positive!

  2. I have chatted with a few from Evermore and things they have told me are amazing.
    My main concern was will it be truly “immersive” and will they be able to keep it up. I was an actor for World of Potter at Universal for the first 3 years. The only area that seemed to care about the original concept of making the guest feel realism and as if they are actually there is the talent.
    In the beginning, all employees hired to work on the project had to have knowledge of the world and be prepared to act as villagers per the request of J.K.Rowling and Warner Bros. after a few months and even on pre-opening events, things began to slack off because management began going back to their generic theme park ideas. It is fun though, to watch management panic when the find out that WB or Rowling’s people have sneaked into the park and they run around trying to cover up what they haven’t fixed yet or altered to suit their needs.
    There is a small town, somewhere in the northeast U.S., that every Christmas season transforms itself into a Charles Dickens village. Everyone plays along. They do much better job at “keeping-it-real” than the Universal folks.
    Evermore has assured me that they will be a truly immersive experience once you step through the gates and will continue to be so…evermore.

  3. Kelsey says:

    I think it’s fantastic! I can’t wait to be a part of it! It will be interesting to see how authentic and sophisticated it is. I do hope it doesn’t come off kitschy, but from what I can tell the design team is made up of some stellar talent.

    @ Jane Robinson, the Ripper’s attraction is for the Halloween season only, I believe. So the character is an appropriate period tale. I don’t believe it’s the tone meant for the whole park, or the whole year. I think it’s a better choice than the generic chainsaw chasing, mask wearing genre. Although, it would be easy to do an Edgar Allen Poe theme…Just throw an “N” before the park’s name and put some ravens in there.

  4. Jojo says:

    Seriously, Jane? That was almost 150 years ago, and besides, I bet the ‘story’ is something of a murder mystery.

  5. Alice says:

    I am very interested to see how this turns out. I adore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and while this will have a more realistic theme, it could be a great place to get away from it all.

    I must say, though, that I was also taken aback by the name “Ripper’s Cove”. That name no doubt brings to mind an atrocious serial killer that mutilated women. The fact it was 150 years ago does not lessen the barbarity of these acts, especially since this theme park is meant to figuratively take you back in time. The idea of that section sounds fun, but, if the creators are reading this, please strongly consider a different name. One may as well name an area of a theme park Bundy Park.

    That aside, best of luck on this endeavor!

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