Walibi Belgium’s Jean-Christophe Parent on the Thea-honored Popcorn Revenge
by Anja D’Hondt, Flower & Feet PR
ABOVE: Jean-Christophe Parent
Walibi Belgium is a TEA Thea Award recipient, with Outstanding Achievement honors for its Popcorn Revenge interactive dark ride, developed and installed by neighboring dark ride specialist Alterface. With Jean-Christophe Parent, Managing Director of the Belgian park, we look back at the first season and find out why this attraction earned such a prestigious award.
Bonjour et bienvenue, Jean-Christophe! Congratulations to you and the entire team! What does the Thea Award signify for Walibi Belgium park?
Receiving this award is a wonderful international recognition for our park and proves our renovation strategy pays off. We have worked really hard to upgrade Walibi Belgium and reposition it with new attractions and immersive areas, so it comes as a great reward to the entire team. Watching all the happy faces and enthusiasm of visitors leaving Popcorn Revenge during the first season, we can confirm it has been worth the investment, along with the many other awards and nominations we are still receiving!
Why did you choose to add Popcorn Revenge, instead of a more classic thrill ride?
We always strive to diversify our attraction offering and appeal to a wide audience. Popcorn Revenge is very innovative as it leads us into a new digital dimension with a video game type interface. As the first dark ride using the non-linear Erratic technology, it delivers a unique immersive experience, and the gameplay and the order of scenes vary per ride. Popcorn Revenge is a multilayered game with physical and digital thrills. It appeals to all ages, to play individually or with friends and family. It has a high repeat factor with players coming back to discover new elements and improve their scores. Furthermore, we can accommodate a large number of visitors on a relatively small area, and it is also an indoor attraction, important in a rainy country such as Belgium! We are very proud of it.
How did visitors respond to the first seasons of Popcorn Revenge?
Popcorn Revenge has certainly proven its value and entertained a large audience during the first season. It is mostly popular among families with children between 8 and 14 years, which is a key audience for us. As there are so many layers in the story and gameplay not everyone immediately grasps everything. But we consider this an advantage as it motivates competitive players to come back, while others can just enjoy the ride and storyline and interaction. Visitors are charmed by the popcorn characters, which they can relate to well-known superhero movie characters. This is evident in the popularity of the ride’s merchandising shop, which has significantly increased the park’s income.
Do you have any advice you can give to other parks who are considering such an attraction?
The only advice we can give to anyone who is interested in such ride is to experience it for yourself in our park. Seeing is believing! • • •
Popcorn Revenge will be showcased as part of TEA Thea Awards Digital Case Studies, on October 22, 2020 (www. teaconnect.org). For more information on Popcorn Revenge, see “Kernels of Truth,” InPark issue #79, 2019.