VES Awards Nominations Include Three Disney Parks Attractions, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire

The Visual Effects Society has revealed their annual awards nominations, ahead of the ceremony in February.

Of particular interest is the category for “Special Venue Project,” which includes theme park attractions, and similar real-world installations.

The five nominations are:

  • Avatar: Flight of Passage – The marquee attraction at Disney World’s “Pandora” themed land opened last May. It’s almost certainly the most technically advanced attraction in any of the Disney theme parks, and also an exceptionally well-produced exercise in immersive theming.


  • Corona; Paraiso Secreto – A VR-centric installation commissioned by Corona, and designed by The Mill. You can watch a short teaser video for it here.


  • Guardians of the Galaxy; Mission: BREAKOUT! – The first attraction in what Disney hopes will eventually be a Marvel-themed land in their California Adventure park. The ride replaced the “Twilight Zone Tower of Terror,” and uses the same falling “elevator” system, but has swapped out the hotel setting for an elaborately themed experience owned by the MCU character, the Collector.


  • National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey  This Times Square attraction creates a virtual aquarium experience using projection screens, photoreal animated animals, and holograms.


  • Nemo and Friends SeaRider – This Tokyo DisneySea attraction replaced “StormRider” last May, and uses the same simulator ride system.


  • Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire – This attraction utilizes the Void VR technology first unveiled in 2015. The system has participants suiting up with a VR headset, along with a vest that provides haptic feedback. The virtual environment is then overlayed onto a real-world practical environment, allowing you to physically touch and explore what you are seeing in the headset. This specific experience (available at Void locations in California, Florida, and London) combines this tech with an in-universe Star Wars narrative developed alongside Lucasfilm.


The VES Awards will be revealed on February 13.

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