Virtual reality roller coaster ‘The Great Lego Race’ opens in Florida

It should come as no surprise that amusement parks have embraced virtual reality technology in a big way, adding another layer of “thrill” to their rides. But The Great Lego Race Coaster, which just opened at Legoland Florida, may be the most ambitious and amazing VR roller coaster yet.

Previously known as Project X, the roller coaster is unchanged, but the VR veneer drops riders into a wacky and colorful race reminiscent of a Mario Kart game. “The Great Lego Race was inspired by the way kids play with Lego toys at home,” Candy Holland of Legoland said to Attractions Magazine. “It’s a unique Lego adventure that lets kids enter an epic, imaginary would made entirely from Lego bricks, featuring a host of different themes and fun Lego characters all mixed up together.”

“What we did is painstakingly map out every inch of this roller coaster,” Keith Carr of Legoland told the Orlando Sentinel. “What you feel and what you see are actually in sync with each other. That’s what makes the virtual reality work. What we wanted to do was take and enhance the drops and take and enhance the turns, and that’s what the VR allows us to do.”

The VR headsets — adorned with googly Lego minifig eyes — are optional and you can ride in “reality mode” if you want, but why would you do that?

The ride begins with an intro video showcasing a wizard, surfer, pirate, pharaoh, and other racers and characters you’ll encounter. You’ll also get instructions on attaching the VR headset, which is cleaned before each use. The coaster is catered to children under 12, so don’t expect any inversions or high-speed helix turns.

Once strapped into your four-person go-kart, the race twists and turns through a variety of detailed Lego landscaped, smashing through walls and taking unexpected detours. The action takes place all around you in a full 360-degree view, so you can look behind you and see the destruction you’ve caused.

For an at-home preview of The Great Lego Race, as well as other cool theme parks around the world, you can download MackMedia’s Coastiality mobile app for Android, iOS, and Oculus.

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