FearVR Halloween Attraction Shut Down At Knotts Berry Farm and California Great America
Just a few days ago, California’s Great America, Canada’s Wonderland, and Knott’s Berry Farm opened a brand new VR Halloween attraction called FearVR. The 4D experience was designed collaboratively by Cedar Fair and Hollow Studios featuring a mysterious facility, Meadowbrook Institute. In the story, guests are checked into the hospital and warned of a dangerous female inmate, Katie who has just gone missing. Guests are strapped into a wheelchair and then given a panic button to use in case the situation gets too intense.
After a few days of operation, the parks have decided to close the attraction in response to protests concerning it attractions portrayal of mental illness. Cedar Fair’s initial response to the situation was to change the name of the attraction. The experience was initially called FearVR: 5150, the number 5150 is used as a code to refer to a possibly disturbed person who may be dangerous to himself or others. This, however was not enough to appease protestors.
Amidst the controversy, Cedar Fair issues a statement Tuesday night saying that the attraction was never meant to portray mental illness but, “as it is impossible to address both concerns and misconceptions in the Halloween timeframe, at this time we have decided to close the attraction“.
According to several reports, it wasn’t just one person complaining, but a group of people who not only started a petition, but also wrote threats to the companies involved.
There is now a counter petition that is asking the company to re-open the attraction, and put up a disclaimer that this attraction is not making light of Mental Illness, but focusing instead on a paranormal activity that takes place in a research facility. Sign the petition here! Currently there are more in favor of the attraction than those who want it removed.
Hopefully some changes will be made to the experience in the course of the year that will allow this technology to be used within a different scenario in future seasons. Many of the reviews from reporters who experienced FearVR before it opened to the public wrote that the experience takes fear to a whole new level. It’s a unique concept that will take the idea of Halloween Haunts and haunted houses to a whole new level.
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