The Biggest Challenges of Attraction Design

Image showing a visitor on a ride
Image showing a visitor on a ride
28 January 2023
The Biggest Challenges of Attraction Design

The delivery of high-quality attraction design services always poses its fair share of challenges. With high amounts of foot traffic, and an expectancy that they will be in use throughout many (if not all) the months across a year, attractions have to be designed and built with a great deal of care and attention to detail in order to ensure a positive experience for all. At Scruffy Dog Creative Group, we are used to circumventing these challenges and provide our expert attraction design solutions across the fields of theme parks, museums, zoos, aquariums, and many more locations; read on for some of the largest and most common challenges that we face in the delivery of our attraction design services.  

Responding To the Covid-19 Pandemic

While the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has reduced in recent months, the effect it has had on the theme park and attraction design industry is expected to be a long-lasting one. With threat of popular attractions becoming ‘super spreader’ zones, many locations were shut down entirely or at the very least faced major changes in their day-to-day functionality being required to greatly cut down on visitor numbers or segment different areas to combat cross contamination.

Toward the end of 2022 and in early 2023, we’re seeing many attractions start to reopen or at least offer more accurate dates of when they can be expected to be available to the general public. There’s a great deal of pent-up demand and it’s expected that attraction visitor number will make a full recovery; however, the pandemic has led many attraction designers to think more deeply about how a theme park or other leisure location can be adapted to better prioritise the health of visitors or staff. Ideas for this include:

  • Additional cleaning facilities and hand washing stations.
  • Better management of foot traffic through zone segregation or additional footpaths.
  • Implementation of technology for food ordering or ticketing.
  • Adapting queueing lines to allow for social distancing.

Technology Scalability

From the Lego Movie Masters of Flight flying theatre to the Ghostbusters 5D dark ride, there are a plethora of attractions across the globe that utilise technology to boost their immersion and provide a memorable experience for visitors. As advancements are made in technology, we often see these mirrored in the theme park, museum, aquarium, and zoo industries with new high-tech attractions being regularly designed and built. With the speed at which technology develops and is being made available within the commercial space, scalability is a key factor in the attraction design process with locations needing to be versatile enough to offer room for implementation of additional features alongside the honing of current ones.

Merging modern technology with traditional attraction operations is very much the future of the industry with the main challenge being faced within some – generally older – attractions being a lack of adaptability in the implementing of new features. New tech such as VR and AR is now being utilised to provide innovative visitor experiences and can serve to help an attraction stand out and attract its own niche following.

Managing Seasonal Interest

Even the most popular tourist attractions have their peaks and troughs when it comes to visitor traffic. One of the most popular theme parks in the world – Tokyo Disneyland, is no exception to this with daily attendance in 2017 averaging in at nearly 80,000 during the Autumn months but dropping to a fraction of that – only 10,000 during the winter. While there isn’t really a way for attraction designers to control the weather, if well designed, locations can be made to be functional even during those harsher winter months. Alternatively, some attractions (such as outdoor waterparks) that can’t really function below certain temperatures need to be designed in a way that allows for easy packing away for when they are no longer in use.

Creating Unique Experiences

One of the greatest challenges for attraction designers is creating something truly original. Visitor expectations are constantly evolving, so attraction designers must stay ahead of the curve in terms of technology, aesthetics and interactive elements. In addition, attraction designers need to consider how best to present their attraction within its particular setting; an attraction can vary drastically depending on whether it’s placed in a theme park, shopping mall or museum environment.

Attraction designers must also ensure that their attraction is easy to use and understand. Attractions should be intuitive and user-friendly, with clear signs and instructions encouraging visitors to explore the attraction further. Additionally, attractions should be designed in a way that appeals to everyone, regardless of age or physical ability. Only once these basic fundamentals are met can an attraction start to set itself apart with interesting theming or innovative experiences.

Resources and Land Made Available

The attraction design process is highly dependent on the funding and land available. If a business or attraction does not have an abundance of either, then the attraction design process can become much more complex. Without sufficient funding, attractions may be limited in terms of what they can include, how many staff members they can hire and how up to date the attraction’s technology will be. Similarly, without access to enough land, attractions may need to make use of compact designs that rely on multiple levels or low-ceilinged areas in order to fit everything into a smaller space. Attraction designers must take all these factors into account when beginning their creative process. Therefore, having adequate funding and land is crucial for any attraction project – both are necessary components in bringing an attraction to life. Attraction designers must be able to think of creative solutions in order to make the most out of any given area and budget.

Contact Scruffy Dog Creative Group

For attraction design solutions bound to deliver unbridled joy to visitors of all ages, get in touch with our team at Scruffy Dog Creative Group today. Click here to fill out our ‘Contact Us’ form, give us a call at 02034684220, or drop us an email at