Invited by Futuroscope, we had the opportunity to discover their latest attraction: a true marvel of technologies and sensations.
On Saturday July 2, Futuroscope finally inaugurated its latest attraction: Tornado Chasers. The result of several years of work, this new addition, bringing the futuristic Viennese park to the number of 40 rides and experiences of all kinds, is a real surprise in the landscape of theme parks in France.
With this veritable compendium of technology pushing the limits of experiences of the genre, Futuroscope once again shows that it is ready to enter a new era and stand out from what is offered elsewhere. The very essence of the destination lies in its attractions combining innovation and wonder to bring strong and unique moments to life. Far from a need for adrenaline, what the park offers us generates sensations that go hand in hand with emotions. And on that side, Tornado Hunters is a real winning bet.
Narration and immersion in key words
An attraction generally finds its interest in the experience it offers. Thus, a rollercoaster is used to satisfy fans of thrills while a dynamic cinema offers a moment transporting visitors to scenes more real than life. But regardless of the type of attraction, if it is linked to a strong story and a believable staging, the emotions will only be multiplied and the overall experience will be even more pleasant.
Disney and Universal parks around the world are true kings of this practice and have succeeded in standardizing it. Theme park visitors always expect more immersion to live a moment out of time and the usual barriers of reality. Thus, many parks are beginning to offer real narrative frameworks to their attractions, making these rides almost a character or a universe in their own right. Tornado Hunters is no exception to this rule, and it’s a real hit for Futuroscope.
From the first steps in the attraction queue, we are transported to the Center for Extreme Weather Studies (also called the CEMEX) which offers an open house just for visitors to the park. Along the way, the sets follow one another and we learn more about this center and its main employees: Mélanie Melville, director of the center and scientist as well as Alex Faure, emeritus tornado hunter.
The queue is an integral part of the attraction experience and prepares visitors for the adventure to come: Mélanie and Alex discover a tornado heading straight for Poitiers. The pressure is mounting, the employees are sheltering us in a conference room, but of course everything is not going to go as planned…
A whirlwind of technologies
To bring this story to life, Chasseurs de Tornade embeds its share of technology from the queue to the “conference room” which turns out to be a cylindrical cinema of record dimensions! With a substantial budget of 21 million euros, the efforts are felt throughout the attraction. Before embarking on a cataclysmic road trip, the tone is set by the scientists in the laboratory: an F5 tornado is about to destroy everything in its path.
The characters of the attraction then appear to us thanks to a well-known sleight of hand in theme parks: a “pepper’s ghost”. Also called holographic theatre, this technique consists of reflecting an image on a transparent film stretched at 45°. However, the charm of Tornado Hunters also lies in the presence of real actors bringing the scenes to life. The character of Alex is then able to break out of the lab to a startling effect on visitors.
Once the queue and this “preshow” completed, the experiment continues in the conference room. The cylindrical cinema is of such quality that on arrival in this room, the effect is to be mistaken: it looks like metal walls. With a diameter of 17 meters and measuring no less than 8 meters high, the Futuroscope holds the largest cinema of this type in the world. 800 LED tiles displaying a resolution of 21k deceive the eye and then show images that seem very real.
The attraction crowns it all with a platform of 120 places and 11 meters in diameter which will be used to create the sensation of movement throughout the experience. Able to lean and turn on itself up to 30km/h, the combo-screen platform transports us to the heart of this tornado hunt to save Poitiers and Futuroscope. Visitors can also count on 40 fans stationed on the ceiling as well as misters to simulate the meteorological cataclysm at best for a mind-blowing experience.
A breath of fresh air at Futuroscope
Much more than a simple novelty, the arrival of Chasseurs de Tornades in the Poitiers amusement park also marks a new turning point for it. It is one of the first steps ofa major development plan which plans to change the perception of the destination by visitors. As Rodolphe Bouin, president of the park, explained during a press conference given on the occasion: “Futuroscope is expanding and we want people to come from further afield and stay longer. It takes a lot of projects to send that signal to the market”.
In 2022, Chasseurs de Tornades and the Cosmos Station will spearhead this new dynamic. We were able to discover this hotel during our stay and there too the immersion is total. Theme hotels are now the standard for parks, and the Futuroscope is strong with an establishment with decor straight out of our favorite science fiction films. The park takes on the air of a premium destination and that’s not to displease.
In the near future, the surroundings of the park will continue to expand to offer a real resort that has nothing to envy to its competitors. From this summer, the Futuroscope Arena will begin to receive large-scale shows, starting with the internationally known Slava’s Snow Show. In the coming years, a third nature-oriented hotel will offer modern mini chalets on an artificial water point and a second park will open. bearing the name ofaquascopethis unique water park in the world for its use of state-of-the-art technologies seems to promise a magical and fun experience.