Thrill Ride

Virtual Theme Park Draws upon Schoolroom Skills

Disney World’s “Sum of all Thrills” personalizes the Epcot experience by allowing kids to dream up their own theme park attraction. The do-it-yourself, interactive approach hands users a touch-screen computer tablet and gives them free reign to sketch a bobsled track, roller coaster ride or airplane journey, and then take a virtual spin on their creation. It’s the latest example of a next-generation trend in amusement park, zoo and museum attractions geared to youngsters adept at video games.

If a kid tries to build something physically impossible, they’re asked to retool their ideas. “Our aim is to show kids how math and engineering make the things they care about really come to life and happen,” explains Kristin Hilf, a spokesperson for Raytheon, the ride’s corporate sponsor.

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