Angry Birds Land will Open in Finland
Angry Birds Land theme park opens in Tampere, Finland later this summer, and is the first official Angry Birds theme park in the world. Rovio Entertainment’s Executive VP of Licensing and Merchandising Harri Koponen says this is just the beginning and more Angry Birds themed amusement parks are planned to open around the world. The theme park is part of Särkänniemi, one of the premier amusement parks in Finland. Särkänniemi opened for the summer season the past weekend, but the cold weather in Finland slowed down the construction work for the Angry Birds Land this spring and the opening of the Angry Birds Land had to be postponed.
Angry Birds Land will officially open its doors to visitors on June 8th.
There has been extreme excitement over the theme park worldwide, and the amusement park Särkänniemi is hoping to gain more international visitors. Now Särkänniemi attracts half a million visitors a year, and only around 25,000 from outside Finland. Rovio is confident in their Angry Birds branding, and that the birds and piggies will draw an international crowd to Tampere, the third largest city in Finland after the capital area.
”Who knows, maybe people will one day travel with charter flights to Tampere in order to visit Särkänniemi Adventure Park. Never think too small”
says Koponen from Rovio.
Finnish newspapers like Iltasanomat hype that Angry Birds Land is one of the most interesting news in the theme park news in the world, and journalists from all over the world visited the theme park this weekend.
Rovio tells that the theme park has been built with Finnish know-how, and new innovations. The planning for the entire theme park project started late last summer, and the Angry Birds Land is opening its doors to public less than a year after the negotiations started.
Hype or The Real Deal?
Don’t dream of that charter flight to Tampere just yet, the reviews of the local visitors who got a sneak peek of Angry Birds Land this weekend are not too positive reading the online communities and the comments in the Finnish newspaper websites this week. A few visitors said the theme park is more like an Angry Birds playground, and the older children were not too excited about it.
According to Rovio one of the main messages the Angry Birds Land wants to communicate to the visitors: get outside and play outdoors, instead of just playing video games indoors. I think visitors should be aware that the Angry Birds Land is more of a very traditional children’s playground or a small theme park, with only two rides, and not comparable to world-class theme parks like what Disney has.
Rovio tells that the entire point is that families get outdoors and experience the playground. The Angry Birds Land is more geared towards the smaller children in the family, and the main attraction is the playground built to be an exact copy of one the game screens in the Angry Birds Classic. The playground is built by Lappset, a Finnish playground company, which also sells Angry Birds branded playgrounds in smaller scale to the playgrounds around the world.
Does Size Matter?
The theme park will have total of 12 attractions but only two new rides and it’s not entirely new construction. The Angry Birds Land is built in one corner of Särkänniemi, formerly known as Ipanaario. The new rides are called Angry Bids Ride and Majakka. Angry Birds Ride is modeled after Disney’s Dumbo-ride and the Majakka is a traditional drop-down ride painted to look like to the lighthouses in the Angry Birds game. In addition the area will have Angry Birds Shop, and restaurant and food spots built around the Angry Birds branding. The area will also have spots for playing the Angry Birds game and sometime during the summer the visitors can also interact with the real Red Bird.
To really get a picture how large the Angry Birds Land actually is, let’s compare its size to other amusement parks. The Six Flags Great Adventure park between New York City and Philadelphia is 2200 acres (8.9 km²) . Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the smallest of all of the several parks in the Disney World in Orlando, and it’s 135 acres (0.5 km²) in size. The Angry Birds Land is small and mighty and sized 53 000 square feet (4923 m² / 0.0049 km²) (according to a local newspaper Aamulehti in Tampere, Finland).
To compare: Oprah’s house is half of Angry Birds Land – and the land around Tom Cruise’s mountain cabin in Colorado is over 248 acres (1 km²), that’s about 200 times the size of Angry Birds Land. But truly to get the sense of the size: you could fit TWO Angry Birds Lands inside an average Walmart, and probably two more on the parking lot. The average Walmart store size is 108 000 square feet (10033 m² / 0.01 km²).
I hope Rovio already didn’t think too small to be able to compete for the international tourists. Tampere is a great summer city to visit and there is more to see in Särkänniemi too, like the aquarium – but I don’t recommend booking that overseas flight yet just to see Angry Birds Land.
The theme park is rumored to combine a digital world and physical world in a new way and to get children and adults moving. When I hear “new innovations combining gaming and physical activity,” I immediately think of Kinect motion sensing device and what you can do with that technology, or something like Disney’s Soarin’ with more physical interaction. I haven’t read Angry Birds Land having any this type of real innovations or even using the technology already in hand to create any interactive experiences that would create a new type of physical activity.
Who knows. I was not sure if Disney Dream cruise ship were able to impress me more than the previous cruise ships, but Disney blew my mind away with the usage of technology like face recognition, and with their virtual portholes among other new features. Maybe Rovio and Särkänniemi will surprise me. I hear that the area will include “Magic Places”, where activities and the gaming world meet and gamers who visit the theme park will be able to download new game levels only available for the visitors of Angry Birds Land. As of now this might be one the most thrilling reasons to visit Angry Birds Land. For me personally it’s that my sister lives close by.
photos: LA Times, ComputerWorld, Lappset.
sources: Aamulehti, Six Flags, Walmart, Särkännieni, Iltasanomat