Week 9: Exploring Virtual Reality Through Childhood Memories

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I have always had a fascination with constructing my own realities; from building my own version of Polly Pocket World as a young girl, to later developing a more advanced virtual theme park from Zoo Tycoon as a preteen. It has always been a passion (and obsession of mine) to control and manipulate architecture. The ability to build your own, personal theme park gave me a sense of power and authority and ultimately led to my strong sense of leadership and decisiveness later on down the road.

As I took a trip down memory lane exploring the ropes of Zoo & RollerCoaster Tycoon again, I wondered if one of the most famous and successful theme parks in the world used the same technologies to develop their own infrastructure and park mapping plans. Disneyland, as I discovered, has an online site dedicated to the virtual representation of it’s sister park, Disneyland Paris Resort in 3D. Through Google Earth, users are able to tour Disneyland Paris at their own leisure and explore the park’s sites from every angle imaginable. The perspectives provided in this virtual reality are incredible; you can view the park through the eyes of a tourist on the ground level, or even as a passenger on any of the rides! I appreciate the immense respect to detail and the incredible precision that the engineers of this program created. Every color pigment, umbrella, drinking fountain, and tree are represented to an exact replica of the original park. I think it would be very valuable and to speak with the creators of this program to see how they constructed all the elements so accurately, what tools they used to create such a realistic experience, and to discover how long it took to construct the site from start to finish.

The presence of virtual realities online are a useful tool in exploring not only current, physical locations, but also, the future development of a theme park, office building, or other architectural site. It gives viewers are accurate portrayal of the dimensions of the land site, and offers a new and exciting way to see and imagine reality. In the near future, I can see these virtual maps taking over traditional paper maps in theme parks to help park-goers have a more realistic view of the park. This new technology has the potential to incorporate live satellite views to show other attendees a live representation of lines and waiting time. Using virtual reality technology can help to construct a better theme park experience…and this is just the beginning of all the possibilities.