A destination attraction can employ one of two business strategies. One provides a static entertainment package that, to the extreme, can be the same menu week after week, such as mechanical animal shows for children and the same waterfeatures year after year. The other offers a slowly changing mix of old and new, plus additions to maintain freshness — and encourage repeat visits.
Our Dream Facility destination resort, the Lodge of the Five Senses, uses this model to create a waterpark resort that also will be a successful business. To do so, our business plan focuses on repeat visits by guests, their friends and relatives. As the name of the resort implies, we accomplish this primarily by offering a variety of experiences for all five senses.
Our enclosed waterpark features a roof that retracts up to 30 percent to release humidity and sound, and to change the quality of light. But the real visual excitement comes via theater-style projection technology that changes the “vista” with the four cycles of the day: sunrise, midday, sunset and nighttime.
For instance, an image can be projected onto the ceiling of the enclosure that simulates a Colorado sunrise over a mountain range, or a Mexican sunset with a brilliant crimson cloud formation created by a sky-filling scattering of ash from a nearby volcano. The nighttime cycle is a beautiful celestial show made possible with a planetarium-type projector that produces a sky full of stars, planets and a pale crescent moon. This illusion creates a romantic setting in the bistros, balconies and suites under a clear night sky.
The focal points of the night scenes are the giant fountains, which operate 24 hours a day. With their changing patterns and colors, these programmed waterfeatures are the visual anchors of the space. And when the sun goes down, guests can still use the wave pools, river and plunge pools with their underwater lights because lifeguards are equipped with lightweight, night-vision goggles.
No matter what time of the day, other senses are engaged through atmospheric changes that occur six times, beginning at sunrise through sunset into nighttime. “Satellites” suspended from the ceiling draw guests’ gaze to the dome’s 150-foot apex. Water-propelled elevators whisk adventurers to the cavernous ceiling. Once there, the more daring can hop in boatswain chairs that are attached to rapelling lines and drop rapidly into the pool below, with safe splashdowns.
In this sheltered water garden, H20 comes in many forms: moving water, falling water, and cold, warm and hot water. People also can walk on water-covered surfaces and dry surfaces, sit in slides, on furniture and on the deck, often with the wind to their backs.
That is, unless they’re screaming down either of the waterpark’s two giant slides. The slides — 190 feet and 250 feet long — are accessed via a concourse to an enclosed stair tower and splashdown pool. The enclosed raft slides snake their way outdoors and then enter the indoor splashdown pool next to the stair tower.
Entertainment comes in other forms as well. Because changing features frequently is more costly and time-consuming than changing live entertainment, our park features liberal use of the latter, which provides flexibility at a minimal cost to the operator. Live shows are performed on the pool decks during the nighttime segment, changing every night with a three-day cycle.
Other sounds fill the air as well. Jungle bird calls and animal cries piped in through hidden speakers suggest a visit to the dark recesses of the Amazon. But these creatures soon withdraw when the night is filled with gentle melodies reminiscent of Polynesian, South African and other cultures. Meanwhile, the sweet smell of tropical flowering plants wafts over the area, creating a pleasant recognizable memory association for future visits.
Another part of the experience is the resort aspect. Ours features a bank of rooms that offer premium views of the park. Like sky boxes at a professional sports stadium, these preferred rooms and suites overlook the indoor waterpark with its soaring dome, brilliant nighttime view and, of course, the movement of guests in the pools during all hours.
Naturally, the waterpark resort is open year ’round. During summer months, the resort provides an outdoor activity pool complex with leisure pool, spraypark and endless river, plus an action pool with a geyser fountain and water-play features. This relaxing poolscape, which provides a break from the indoor activities, is surrounded by liberal deck areas offering a panoramic view of a beautiful lake beyond.
All in all, it’s an experience guests will return to again and again.