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Creating a location-based attraction to engage guests from physical and virtual worlds in a connected experience

This thesis project analyzes the origins of location-based attractions, as well as their future possibilities with the emergence of virtual worlds, immersive experiences, and the metaverse.


Considering the significant changes in consumer behavior and cutting-edge technologies, the project proposes the creation of a location-based experience that connects physical and virtual realities.


Guests will travel to the Physical and Spirit Worlds of Avatar: The Last Airbender and interact synchronously with participants located in different parts of the globe.


Thesis for the degree of

MFA Themed Entertainment Design, School of Creative Technology, SCAD




Savannah, US


Blue Sky & Concept



Experience Design

Graphic Design






Themed Parks

XR Experiences


Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Step 1

Research and Analysis

In this initial stage, I conducted comprehensive research focusing on location-based attractions, virtual worlds, immersive experiences, phygital experiences, and metaverse.


Using tools like Notion, I organized my references into a database, enabling efficient sorting and retrieval of information based on various properties such as themes, subjects, scores, and types. Additionally, I utilized Miro to transfer key data points from my research, categorizing them by themes to facilitate analysis.


Next, I created an analysis framework where I compared Themed Entertainment, Immersive Experiences, and the Metaverse based on their characteristics and opportunities. Using visual clues such as colored stars, I highlighted common themes and areas of overlap between these concepts.


I synthesized my findings and insights into a visually engaging poster, which I presented at the Themed Experience and Attractions Academic Symposium (TEAAS) during the IAAPA Expo. This allowed me to showcase my research to a relevant audience and receive valuable feedback.


Furthermore, I utilized the Consumer Trend Canvas, a framework developed by Trend Watching, to delve deeper into consumer trends related to my research topics. This guided me through the process of transforming insights into innovative ideas, ensuring that my analysis remained grounded in real-world consumer behavior and preferences.

Step 2

Design Goal

After extensive research, I identified that while location-based attractions excel in immersive storytelling and sensory engagement, there is untapped potential to enhance interactivity and customization by integrating digital overlays onto physical environments. Conversely, virtual experiences offer high interactivity and collaboration but lack the physical connection humans crave, as evidenced by the post-pandemic surge in attendance at physical events. Additionally, existing models often impose limitations based on participants' physical or virtual presence, hindering inclusive interaction.


Considering that, my design goal was to:

create an interactive experience that uses the real and virtual worlds to enable people to play together from different spaces and at the same time.

Step 3


For the development of an interactive experience where participants cross diverse realities with interconnected dynamics, I carefully selected the storyline of Avatar: The Last Airbender. This animated series portrays a world where individuals possess the extraordinary ability of bending, enabling them to manipulate one of the four elements: water, earth, fire, or air. However, the central figure, the Avatar, possesses the rare gift of bending all four elements, serving as the crucial link between the physical and spirit worlds. Charged with the responsibility of upholding harmony among the world's four nations, the Avatar's journey embodies themes of balance, unity, and interconnectedness, making it an ideal narrative foundation for the experience.


To thoroughly explore the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender, my research journey started with online articles and videos, which provided an overview of the series. To immerse myself deeper, I watched the entire first season, allowing me to absorb the narrative intricacies firsthand. To distill my observations, I created a visual board adorned with scene screenshots. On this board, I utilized yellow stickies to highlight significant narrative elements—such as character developments and thematic motifs—while using blue stickies to jot down initial design ideas inspired by the series. Additionally, I delved into supplementary materials like The Art of the Animated Series and Legacy books, which offered valuable insights into the creative process behind the show and further fueled my imagination.

Visual board with scenes from Avatar: The Last Airbender

Visual board with scenes from Avatar: The Last Airbender

Visual board with ideas for the experience

Visual board with ideas for the experience


Step 4


Guests in a theme park, visitors in a pop-up space, and virtual players located around the world will join together on an adventurous journey in the universe of Avatar: The Last Airbender.


Teaming up with one of the Four Nations (Water, Air, Earth, Fire), participants will travel across Physical and Spirit Worlds, discovering diverse peoples, cultures, and magical powers.


Their mission is to maintain harmony among the nations by defeating the Fire Nation — or even serve its ambitious army to conquer territories.

Step 5


Utilizing journey maps and diagrams, I iteratively developed and refined the guest experiences for both physical theme park and pop-up spaces, as well as virtual environments, aiming for a seamless and synchronized system. Initially, I conceptualized the overarching experience for all participants, ensuring cohesion across different platforms. Subsequently, I focused on crafting individual attractions, meticulously designing their game mechanics, interactions, and implementing cutting-edge technologies to enhance engagement and immersion.

Step 6



In the three locations (theme parks, pop-up space, and virtual platform), there are two types of attractions: exclusive and connected.

Exclusive attractions are those that are only available in one of the locations. For example, live shows can only be experienced by theme park guests.

Connected attractions are those that happen in at least two locations at the same time. For example, The Art of Bending is an attraction that requires the participation of theme park guests and virtual players synchronously.

As the objective of my work is to engage guests from physical and virtual worlds in a connected experience, I focused my work on developing the connected attractions (The Art of Bending, Spiritual Oasis: the portal to the Spirit World, and Tui & La: The Moon and Ocean Battle).

The Art of Bending

Each nation has its training center, where Masters employ a variety of training exercises to prepare their pupils in mastering their bending arts (water, earth, or air) to defeat the Fire Nation.

In this interactive class, you will manipulate one of the four physical elements through the motions of hands and feet and be surprised by your unknown magical abilities.

Theme park and Virtual platform

Rhythm-based action game: designed to teach and reward participants with some of the bending moves, inspired by martial arts


To become a bender, you are required to participate in The Art of Bending. So this is a must-stop if you want to find the special powers that sleep inside of you.

At the entrance of the training center, you will check in by scanning your wristband. Then, you will be directed to one of the rooms, where you will meet your Master [a virtual player].

You will have 10 minutes to learn four movements from your Master to conquer the mission. Watch how he grandly moves his arms and legs and replicate the movements — it is like an art; it takes practice. But it will certainly be very satisfying when you perform correctly and then manipulate the natural elements.


D-ticket attraction

10 minutes

Spiritual Oasis: A Portal To The Spirit World

Cross into the Spirit World, a parallel plane of reality that coexists alongside the Physical World.

You will meet various paranormal and supernatural entities that often embody different aspects of life and nature to bring peace or chaos to the world.


Theme park and Pop-up space

Walkthrough attraction with immersive and interactive rooms

C-ticket attraction

Free exploration



Wristbend, projection, audio-animatronic with artificial intelligence, sound effects, lighting effects, hologram, smart props, real-time tracking projection-mapping system

Real-time tracking projection-mapping system, remote control system