Growing up in the time period and being fascinated by the Disney-esque engineered experiences  described in The Experience Economy, it's interesting to put the now 14 year old reading in context of how experience design has evolved. Many of the experiences described in the reading have now since died or been substantially modified. Perhaps because the balance and expectation of entertainment and engagement continues to evolve.

Experience Realms

My evaluation of this reading is based on personal experience of working in an environment described in the reading, where work was a stage. Being part of the of experience from the perspective of a guest & a cast member, my interest remains most focused on these 'escapist experiences.' They seem to be able to encapsulate the best of the education and entertainment worlds and provide many more opportunities for active participation.

The author writes, "competittion for the retail dollar demands that we create a rich retail theater that turns products into experiences." Back around the early 2000's, I believe we were in the hay-day of this execution. Back in Southern California, there are too many of these experiences to count. The Block at Orange, Ontario Mills, The Americana at Brand, The Grove, Universal City Walk & Downtown Disney. The experiences that accept and admit being fake have not faired well, Universal City Walk, [most] Rainforest Cafe's & The Block at Orange in particular. The extremely immersive, less industrial, 'real-fake' experiences continue to succeed (Downtown Disney, Americana at Brand, etc). Partly too I believe this has to do with priming.

Visiting a resort or a theme park, you have an expectation of leaving reality behind. There is time and space (generally) to help separate the experience from day to day life. When too much of the 'real world' leaks into these experiences, or there isn't sufficient buffer between the real world and the experience, they seem to eventually fail. Escapist experiences such as DisneyQuest (locations outside of Orlando, Philadelphia & Chicago), Club Disney, Universal CityWalk (Los Angeles, at least) and different plane, Discovery Zone, even Chuck E. Cheese's all seem to have declined or been closed, perhaps because of a lack of priming or perhaps guest expectations have changed.

 

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