Few brands are more excited about augmented reality than Lego, which has now expanded its AR experiences from toys to theme parks.
The brand recently opened a new attraction, called Mythica: World of Mythical Creature, at Legoland Windsor in the UK.
Visitors who download and install the Legoland Windsor Resort app can scan four codes located next to the statues of Chimera, Alicorn, Hydra and Sky Lion. When scanned, the app opens virtual portals, where visitors can photograph the AR creatures, collect digital maps, and view each creature’s backstory.
In addition, the app, which is available for iOS and Android, facilitates a separate set of AR experiences in 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 about the park’s new attraction.
“Mythica is all about promoting creativity and sparking the imagination of children who are our true heroes,” Ash Tailor, vice president of global brand and director of marketing for Legoland, said in a statement. “The incredible flight theater experience, a first for the UK, and the magic of AR will allow us to bring this brand new world for kids to life like never before in Legoland Windsor and truly showcase the journey from Lego characters to mythical creatures.”
Lego relied on Zappar’s AR platform and the in-house AR team to build the AR experiences.
“This is truly a dream project to work on with such an iconic brand, location and new IP that lends itself so beautifully to augmented reality with its interplay between the real world and the Lego Mythica realm accessible through portals and vortexes” , said Caspar Thykier, co-founder and CEO of Zappar. “The challenge was to deliver spatial stories that can enhance and complement the incredible physical experience that is the cornerstone of a great day out at Legoland Windsor Resort, and to truly immerse family and children in this beautiful new IP in a new way. We hope it surprises and delights everyone equally.”
Lego’s AR activation isn’t the first instance of AR experiences built specifically for theme parks. This year, Universal Studios Japan has deployed AR headsets for its immersive Mario Kart Bowser’s Challenge ride in Super Nintendo World. Previously, Snapchat partnered with Disney Parks and Six Flags to bring geofenced AR experiences to various parks.
However, Lego has served as an innovator or early adopter of augmented reality at various stages of the modern mobile era. Apple invited Lego to the stage at WWDC 2017 to introduce ARKit’s AR capabilities and again at WWDC 2018 to demonstrate sustained multiplayer experiences for ARKit 2.0.
Google also worked with Lego as an early ARCore user, showcasing the brand’s work at the Pixel 2 launch event.
More recently, Lego was also an early access partner of Snap, with its Rebuild the World AR experience built on Snapchat’s new Connected Lens technology unveiled at the recent Snap Partner Summit.
Since the introduction of ARKit, Lego has launched several toy lines and associated mobile apps, including Playgrounds, AR-Studio, Hidden Side, and Vidyo.
Official brand partnerships have also brought Legos to life in AR, including a virtual pop-up store 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 operations, and the strategy can only become more relevant with the advent of consumer-grade smartglasses.