Few brands have been more enthusiastic about augmented reality than Lego, which has now expanded its AR experiences from toys to theme parks.
The brand recently opened a new attraction, dubbed Mythica: World of Mythical Creature, at Legoland Windsor in the UK.
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Visitors who download and install the Legoland Windsor Resort app can scan four codes located adjacent to the statues of Chimera, Alicorn, Hydra, and Sky Lion. Upon scanning, the app opens virtual portals, where visitors can photograph the AR creatures, collect digital cards, and view the backstory of each creature.
In addition, the app, which is available for iOS and Android, facilitates a separate set of AR experiences at the park or at home. Users can open virtual portals to Magical Forest, Hidden Valley, Raging Seas, and Mount Lava, where they can find hidden items, acquire creature cards, and learn more about the park's new attraction.
"Mythica is all about championing creativity and firing the imagination of kids who are our real heroes," said Ash Tailor, vice president of global brand and marketing director for Legoland, in a statement. "Through the incredible flying theatre experience, a first for the UK, and the magic of AR we're able to bring this brand new world to life for kids like never before at Legoland Windsor and really show the journey from Lego characters to mythical creatures."
"This really is a dream project to work on with such an iconic brand, venue and new IP that lends itself so beautifully to augmented reality with its interplay between the real world and Lego Mythica realm accessed via portals and vortexes," said Caspar Thykier, co-founder and CEO at Zappar. "The challenge was to deliver spatial storytelling that could enhance and complement the incredible physical experience that is the cornerstone of a great day out at Legoland Windsor Resort and really immerse family and kids in this wonderful new IP in a new way. We hope it surprises and delights everyone in equal measure."
Lego's AR activation isn't the first instance of AR experiences built specifically for theme parks. This year, Universal Studios Japan deployed AR headsets for its immersive Mario Kart Bowser's Challenge ride at Super Nintendo World. Previously, Snapchat worked with Disney Parks and Six Flags to bring geofenced AR experiences to several parks.
However, Lego has served as either an innovator or early adopter of augmented reality at various stages of the modern mobile era. Apple invited Lego on-stage at WWDC 2017 to introduce the AR capabilities of ARKit and again at WWDC 2018 to demonstrate persistent multiplayer experiences for ARKit 2.0.
More recently, Lego also served as an early access partner with Snap, with its Rebuild the World AR experience, built on Snapchat's new Connected Lens technology, revealed during the recent Snap Partner Summit.
Official brand partnerships have brought Legos to life in AR as well, including a virtual pop-up shop on Snapchat for Kabooki and a web-based AR experience built with 8th Wall Web for the Lego Masters TV show on Fox.
Lego's latest AR experience shows that the brand is serious about the technology's role in enhancing its existing retail and entertainment businesses, and the strategy can only become more relevant with the advent of consumer-grade smartglasses.