Elevating the Experience
While Covid-19 has not completely been eradicated from our day-to-day lives, the ending of its global emergency status this year has gone a long way to ensuring the entertainment and leisure sector is on the rise once again. People around the world do not want to be sat at home and would rather be out experiencing the latest concepts and trying to beat the latest games with friends, family and colleagues.
LeisurUp is the leisure event dedicated to accelerating location-based attractions in lifestyle destinations including retail sites, urban areas, transport hubs and travel destinations. This year LeisurUp will be hosted by MAPIC in Cannes from 28 to 30 November. LeisurUp has been created by MAPIC in order to provide its clients with the right platform to turn traditional sites in modern lifestyle destinations into something new by building vibrant location-based entertainment experiences.
Attendees to LeisurUp this year will be in the best position possible to identify their next business partner, find new business models and learn about the latest and more unique leisure experiences. The LeisurUp exhibition area will feature more than 60 companies who will be showcasing the most dynamic leisure concepts, equipment and solutions in a dedicated area at MAPIC. The conferences will feature a full and dedicated program of six sessions covering the latest trends and new business models of location-based entertainment. Finally the leisure workshop will allow people to join leisure operators and other key leisure players for open talks about new business models and the latest locations-based entertainment trends.
Ahead of the LeisurUp at MAPIC event, over the next few pages RLI will highlight a selection of global entertainment concepts that are making a name for themselves in this new era of entertainment. A couple of them will even be exhibiting at LeisurUp later this month.
In four permanent locations across the US, Meow Wolf opens portals of possibilities, redefining the paradigm of art and storytelling to make a positive difference in the world. It all began in 2008 as a small collective of Santa Fe artists sharing an interest in publicly displaying their works and developing their skills together. This collaborative approach blossomed into Meow Wolf’s distinctive style of immersive, maximalist environments that encourage audience-driven experiences. From here, its first permanent site launched in Santa Fe in 2016, followed by Las Vegas and Denver in 2021 and the Grapevine opened earlier this year. Launched in July this year, reality is unreal-ing at the fourth permanent addition to the Meow Wolf universe, aptly titled The Real Unreal. When an ordinary family encounters the extraordinary, an inspiring tale of creativity, community, and the power of imagination unfolds within a mesmerizing, interactive artscape.
Launched last month by world-renowned celebrities Tiger Woods and Justin Timberlake, T-Squared Social is the golf and bar destination everyone has been waiting for. In a fairly unusual but welcomed partnership between the two, their new concept is complete with golf simulators, darts, duckpin bowling and 38 flat-screen televisions, one of which holds the distinction of being the largest indoor flat-screen in the city at 200-inches in size. The 22,000sq ft space is also a behemoth bar that features craft, cocktails and upscale pub food to round out the experience on offer to guests. Look-wise, the sleek destination boasts 24-foot open ceilings, a beautiful green-tiled bar and according to an official press release, “personal touches” from the two celebrity owners, including photographs of Woods on a golf course and Timberlake performing on stage, plus golf bags with their names on them and general branded merchandise.
F1® Arcade, the world’s first official Formula 1® simulator racing experience to put socialising at its core, is to open its first US location in Boston’s Seaport district early 2024. The first-of-its-kind hospitality concept has seen more than 8,000 fans and non-fans visiting its flagship London venue each week to enjoy competitive socialising at its finest since it opened late last year. Boston Seaport will be the first to bring the excitement and thrill of F1® Arcade across the Atlantic as part of an ambitious plan mapped out across the US, targeting more than 20 permanent venue locations in the next five years. Covering 16,000sq ft, the new F1® Arcade takes inspiration from the world of Formula 1, with 69 racing simulators designed especially for the venue, each equipped with cutting edge motion and audio-visual effects to fully immerse guests in the race. Combined with a premium food and drink offering, the venue promises to match the famous F1 hospitality enjoyed at Grand Prix’s around the world.
A US company that has expanded to have a global presence, Top Golf is an entertainment experience that features a high-tech golf game that everyone can enjoy. With an outstanding food and beverage menu, climate-controlled hitting bays and music, every Topgolf has an energetic hum that you can feel as soon as you walk through the door. The concept features a lot of things that make it feel like golf, i.e. clubs, balls, tees, turf, a cart collecting balls etc. There’s also a lot things that’s very much no golf, i.e. loud music, giant targets, giant TVs and a hand crafted menu. Put this all together and you have Top Golf, a concept with over 80 sites in the US and another 10 around with the world, with an additional 10 in the works.
Global entertainment enterprise Falcon’s Beyond and Hong Kong-based cultural commerce giant K11 Group plan to launch new entertainment franchises and attractions across China. The first new attraction experience being developed by Falcon’s under the joint venture is the underwater adventure themed Vquarium™. Providing a science fiction-like experience that is rooted entirely in the natural world, Vquarium will be a story-driven interactive adventure that explores oceans and waterways around the globe in a wonder-filled narrative that offers intimate and empowering encounters with virtual sea life to entertain, educate, and inspire. Vquarium will be introduced through an interactive attraction that allows visitors to simulate going on an immersive undersea voyage. A multi-room, multi-level experience, the attraction will also provide creative food and beverage offerings, along with retail components. The first Vquarium immersive LBE is expected to launch in 2025 at K11 Group’s heralded 11 SKIES retailtainment destination.
Attending the LeisurUp event in Cannes this year is KOEZIO PARKS – the French-based innovative family entertainment centres where guests can play, share, connect and repeat. Large mazes, high ropes courses, game modules, Virtual Reality experiences, escape rooms, action games, arcades, F&B, you name it and Koezio has it. Above all else, KOEZIO is about fun and team spirit, visitors will discover surprising, unusual and challenging experiences, adapted to everyone’s desires and where the unique objective is to enjoy a timeless moment with someone.
Another company exhibiting at LeisurUp this year is Sparkx Sportainment Group. A story that began with a spark and turned into Europe’s largest sports theme park. Sparkx Hasselt in Belgium is the biggest sportainment park in Europe. Perfect to visit with your partner, children, family and friends it offers more than 50 sports across 36 adrenaline-inducing attractions. Suitable for both experienced and inexperienced athletes, everyone can come together under one roof to discover new sparkx or rediscover old ones, whether it be trying a climbing wall for the first time or rediscovering your love of dodgeball.
Social Darts is an experience which brings you and your friends together for unexpected, ridiculous, joy.
The company behind Fight Club have reinvented darts for the twenty-first century, developing a range of fast and exciting multi-player games, built to bring people together and designed to keep you unexpectedly hooked, insatiably entertained and full of joy. Whether you’re an expert darts sniper or a total beginner, everyone has a chance to win when they step up to one of our multiple throw lines. In 2012 Co-Founders, Steve Moore and Paul Barham, were catching up in a Devon pub where a young crowd were going crazy over a game on the dartboard in the corner. This wasn’t like traditional darts, it was loud, fast and exciting – and they saw an opportunity. Fast-forward to today and it is an international company operating across the UK, US and Australia and it shows no signs of slowing down.
Meanwhile The Social Gaming Group, a global player in the entertainment and leisure sector, has a rapidly expanding gastro-gaming franchise network of Oche venues worldwide. They deliver a compelling offer for today’s experience-hungry consumer, serving up a winning combination of interactive tech-driven darts and high-end food and beverage. The Social Gaming Group also brings more than a decade of experience building international shuffleboard communities to its market-leading portfolio of inclusive competitive socialising concepts, featuring: the original shuffleboard brand Play SHUFL with its unique Curve; and new for 2023, interactive, tech-driven brands SHUFL Tech and Play FLYBY interactive darts.
Positioned in the Trafford Centre in Manchester, the NERF Action Xperience (NERF AX) is a huge indoor attraction dedicated to all things NERF, where children, families and adults alike can experience a non-stop, heart-pounding, fun-fuelled adventure! Visitors are able to explore various immersive zones, including a skill-testing training ground, a heart-pounding sports arena and multiple thrilling, thematic blaster arenas.
Opened just after the NERF Action Xperience and on the floor above it, Kingpins is the brand new bowling experience for all the family has arrived at Trafford Palazzo. Inside, visitors will find state-of-the-art Ten Pin bowling and Duck Pin bowling lanes, plus ice-free curling, shuffleboards, air hockey, arcades, karaoke booths and more.
Situated in Marble Arch in a stunning 30,000sq ft permanent location, Frameless features award-winning galleries and showcases some of the world’s greatest works of art, presented on a scale and in ways never seen before. Frameless is an art collection of the surreal and spectacular, where visitors are not only in the art, they are part of it. Our multi-dimensional galleries are transformed with a 21st-century interpretation of the classic masterpieces, designed to delight. Opening its doors back in October, the site is home to four unique galleries that harness the different types of projection technology to bring art to life. Visitors will take a unique journey as they travel through masterpieces, having an intimate view of every brushstroke, seeing details in a fluid, moving dimensional way bringing these artworks to life. Thoughtful music composition triggers emotion through the highest climactic moments, as well as very peaceful self-reflective interludes. It is a digital playground for all ages!
Bounce has been delivering unforgettable nights out for groups for the past 11 years and in doing so State of Play Hospitality has created an entirely new entertainment category. Ping pong remains hugely popular and accessible for all ages and it is best experienced with friends or colleagues hosted by one of Bounce’s Games Gurus. Bounce also offers its own proprietary tech enabled game, Wonderball, which uses projection mapping technology to create various interactive games, both competitive and collaborative. Wonderball 2.0, which adds to this technology, was launched last year. Bounce was the first concept launched by State of Play and its third site opened just a few weeks ago at the groundbreaking Battersea Power Station site in London.
The home of experiential leisure, Gravity maximises the time you spend with your friends and family, combining the best elements of entertainment into one place. From adrenaline seekers to fitness fanatics, from family fun to social shenanigans, Gravity Active Entertainment is looking to take your leisure time to new heights. Beginning life as a single trampoline park in Yorkshire, the business is now home to multiple sites in the UK, one in Germany, one in Saudi Arabia and one on the verge of opening in Mauritius. Their game-changing site at Wandsworth in London led the way to a 100,000sq ft site in Liverpool ONE which opened this summer and the 70,000sq ft unit in Westfield Stratford.
Launched in Riyadh at Boulevard World in November last year, the 1,550sq m CoComelon Playdate concept began life as a kids and family-oriented YouTube channel specialised in music and nursery rhymes helping pre-schoolers learn life lessons. In Riyadh, its physical presence is a place where imagination comes to life. The vision of the site is to develop an educational and friendly environment where kids can enhance their learning and let their imagination go wild. It allows them to develop a creative mind-set and it has been designed as safe space where parents feel confident leaving their little ones.
Another entertainment scheme launched in Riyadh in November last year was that of Monopoly Lifesized, an 80-minute, physical version of the world’s favourite board game. Challenging for all ages, families, friends and children can enjoy racing around life-sized Monopoly boards, with real-life representations of the Tokens from the legendary board game acting as the players’ guides. A permanent attraction which is also located at Boulevard World, it is the first-of-its-kind in the MENA region, the second Monopoly Lifesized attraction following the launch of the first site in London and many other locations are set to follow in the near future.
Snow Abu Dhabi at Reem Mall opened to visitors on 8 June this year. It is a sub-zero snow and ice park, operated by Majid Al Futtaim, which maintains a temperature of minus two degree Celsius. The indoor attraction, which spans nearly 1,000sq m, features 12 rides and 17 attractions. Snow Abu Dhabi’s main attractions include two huge slides called Ice and Floes Toboggan Race and Grauppel’s Summit Escape. Other rides include The Entry Plaza, the Polar Express Train, the Flight of the Snowy Owl, the Magic Carpet, and the Crystal Carousel. The attraction will also feature restaurants inside the park, including Ice Café, Grotto Amphitheatre and The Lodge Restaurant.