Watimoto Adventure: The Fairies Journey Boat Ride Attraction
Team Project: Yongyi Liang & Kristen Nicolais
Location: New Zealand
Watimoto Adventure is a family-friendly boat ride that invites guests to follow two young fairies as they undertake a journey that forces them to face their fears and learn that things are not always as they seem.
The inspiration for the story was drawn from the glow worms in the Watimoto caves in New Zealand. The basis of the story springs from the question "What if the glow worms were actually fairies?" Aesthetically, the ride draws inspiration from the caves, fantasy architecture, and landscapes, as well as from the local, aboriginal, Maori culture.
My roles: creating the concept, concept sketches, mood board, boat ride design, illustrations, parts of scope document
& deliverable list.
Sketches & Process
Your journey begins in the redwood forests, surrounding the fairy village of Tangi. The queue takes you through the massive redwood trees that are native to New Zealand and past more alien plant life that belongs to the supernatural world of the fairies. Occasionally, you catch sight of friendly animals hiding in the foliage.
Soon you arrive at the outskirts of the fairy village, but before you can enjoy the festival, you must create a fairy avatar that will represent you. This allows you to pass through the magical barrier protecting the village. You can select how you want to change your features to more closely resemble that of the fairies, what clothes to wear, and what type of wings you will have.
You go down a small drop and your boat splashes into a chamber teeming with all sorts of plant life that you have never seen before. There are some weird giant glowing mushrooms, along with some bizarre flowers. It is gorgeous.
“See,” says Matao, “We are definitely somewhere important. I’m sure we will find the treasure in no time.”
“I think we are lost and you know it,” responds Taura.
“Let’s just keep our eyes peeled for the treasure.” You take in the beautiful scenery as the boat drifts ahead. Looking up, you see that there is a slew of spider webs hanging above you, you panic slightly, although they currently appear to be empty. Your fairy friends, begin to freak out.
“Eeeek! What is that?”
“Calm down Taura. It’s just a spider web.”
“Oh yeah! I’d like to see you remain calm when a blood-thirsty, fairy-eating spider comes down and attacks you!”
There is a slight pause while the implications of what Taura just said sink in. Then the fairies are speeding forward again and so are you.The boat glides forward into the dark, and then abruptly you plunge down a large drop. The boat splashes into another cavern.
This one is filled with large crystals of all different shapes and colors.
“Whoa!” breathes Matao, “Do you think this is the treasure?”
The crystals are stunning and they seem to be emitting a faint glow. On some of them the colors even seemed to be swirling inside as if they contained small galaxies. The crystals definitely possess some sort of magical qualities. It looks like your efforts were not in vain. As your boat drifts toward the edge of the chamber there is a sudden, slight pulsing of light. The lights of the crystals dim and a bright flash appears before you. The light slowly forms into the shape of a fearsome monster.
You glide forward into the adjacent cavern. Everything is silent and still. Then above you a light twinkles, then another, then another, until there are a whole host of twinkling lights above you and your boat has lifted slightly from the water. It is an awesome sight. The lights begin to come together, forming a humanoid shape, and as your boat gently returns to float in the water.
The figure in front of you begins to speak, “Hello, fellow fae and welcome big folk,” an old voice speaks. “For years our people have been too afraid to wander beyond the cave. We were frightened by rumors of a fierce monster, with a loud roar that lived outside. And for years we have been protecting our cave, joining together and using our light magic to guard against the creature we feared was invading.” The lights morph into the monster you just fought and then morph back into the humanoid shape. “Today, however, when you two and your fellow travellers came, and used your power directly against us, I recognized the magic was of the same strand as our own, and that you were our brothers, long separated from us because we were too frightened to see the truth. But at long last we are reunited. We, the Marama fairies, would like to invite you, our brethren, and you, their friends, to celebrate the full moon with us.”
And so, the full moon comes and you join the fairies in their celebration. As you pass through the cave village of the Marama fairies, their stone houses are decorated with glowing mosses and other decorations, there is lively music playing, provided by the Tangi fairies. In their midst, you see your own fairy avatar dancing with the others. As the festival comes to an end you see two dots of light that seem to be waving good-bye “Thank you friends for helping us overcome our fears!” says Matao
“We couldn’t have met our new friends without you! Come back and visit us again soon!”