The team behind the Two Bit Circus micro amusement park in downtown Los Angeles plans to take the Star Wars hotel concept pioneered by Disney and add a virtual reality video arcade twist with a pair of new interactive storytelling hotels.
Two Bit Entertainment has acquired two former conference hotels in Denver, Colorado, and the New York City area where they plan to open the world’s first Revelers Resorts interactive gameplay hotels.
The new Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida serves as a model for the immersive hotel experience planned for Revelers Resort, according to Two Bit Circus CEO Kim Schaefer.
“We don’t have the Star Wars brand over the top of it. We’ll be creating our own brand,” Schaefer said during a phone interview. “This is the type of thing that people want. They want those immersive experiences.”
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While Two Bit Entertainment has not yet set rates for a Revelers Resort hotel stay, the prices are expected to be well below the staggering $6,000 that Disney charges for a voyage on the Galactic Starcruiser.
Two Bit Circus opened in 2018 as the world’s first micro amusement park in the Arts District of downtown Los Angeles. A second Two Bit Circus is set to open this Fall in Dallas.
There’s still work to be done on the new Two Bit Circus hotels — which will be known as Revelers Resorts. The immersive hotel playgrounds are expected to take a year to build once construction starts. Opening dates have not yet been set for the Revelers Resorts in Denver and Stamford, Connecticut, outside New York City.
The Two Bit Circus micro amusement park in Los Angeles offers virtual reality versions of roller coasters, dark rides, flight simulators, haunted mazes and digital midway games. The indoor high-tech entertainment venue falls somewhere between a family entertainment center like Boomers and a modern video arcade like Dave & Buster’s.
Two Bit Circus brings together a host of VR entertainment in one location that has been attempted before in venues both big and small. The standout attractions at Two Bit Circus are the innovative interactive story rooms — which will serve as the backbone of the new Revelers Resorts hotels.
To understand where Revelers Resorts are heading, you have to understand the Two Bit Circus story rooms that encourage and enable team social gameplay with small groups in 20-by-20-foot rooms. The perfect example of interactive story room players: A tween birthday party with a half dozen kids and a parent or two where everyone participates in the game. Think of a Two Bit story room like an escape room where the goal is to solve a fun STEAM-based problem rather than break free from a puzzling prison.
At Two Bit Circus in L.A., the Dr. Botcher’s Minute Medical School story room is a life-size version of the Operation board game where players work together to save the patient lying on the operating table. Next door, Samuel Sweetbottom’s Candy Chaos is an interactive take on the “I Love Lucy” candy factory episode.
“The story rooms really are our bread and butter,” Schaefer said. “That’s what makes us super special and unique. We really understand not only how to build those games, but the psychology behind the gameplay.”
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Schaefer was tapped as Two Bit Circus CEO in part due to her 20 years of experience with Great Wolf Lodge, where she served as CEO.
Great Wolf Lodge took the indoor water park concept pioneered in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, introduced a layer of theme park storytelling and expanded the brand nationwide.
Great Wolf Lodge has several locations near theme parks across the country including Anaheim’s Disneyland, Ohio’s Cedar Point and Kings Island, Virginia’s Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Six Flags Great America near Chicago.
Two Bit Circus and Revelers Resorts will offer similar experiences and serve similar audiences — but take somewhat different approaches. Where Two Bit Circus is intended as a two- to three-hour experience, the Revelers Resorts will offer overnight hotel stays. While Two Bit Circus is primarily focused on young adults first and families second, the Revelers hotels will flip the script and focus primarily on traveling families with young adults as the secondary audience. The shifting point of view will be reflected in the hotel activities.
“We will definitely change up some of the things that we’re doing at Two Bit Circus that are going to Revelers Resorts,” Schaefer said.
Revelers Resort will follow the land-based cruise ship model with a captive audience.
“We just really want to create a fun atmosphere for people to have a good time,” Schaefer said. “Family time is precious and getting away is always a challenge. Having something that is unique and close to home is what families are looking for.”
The basic Revelers Resort package will include a hotel stay and game play with add-on experiences available.
“In today’s world, they’re looking for social play,” Schaefer said. “That is the new entertainment for families. Moms and dads are playing it. It’s not just for kids.”
Revelers Resorts will convert the dual hotel convention center spaces into magical circus grounds set in the early 1900s that will be filled with high-tech modern entertainment. A cast of robot characters will be led by Revel.
“This is Revel’s circus,” Schaefer said. “You will see Revel in holograms and throughout the stories that we tell. The robots have worked with Revel to find the coolest things in the world to put inside the circus.”
Lemonade stands, hot dog carts and a build-a-bot retail shop will be sprinkled throughout the circus grounds. Hotel rooms will be themed as circus tents and circus wagons.
Beyond the hands-on story rooms, Two Bit Circus relies heavily on virtual and digital play. Revelers Resorts will offer more physical attractions like you’d expect to find in a traditional brick-and-mortar family entertainment center, amusement park or water park. The circus-themed Revelers hotels will feature ropes courses, ninja courses, climbing walls and at least one big family attraction.
Visitors to the circus midway will be able to swing a mallet at a magical high striker and learn how to do a magic trick or tell a fortune.
Tally’s Workshop will serve as a kids club with a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics games — the core tenets of STEAM education.
Revelers Resorts will have a live-action game called Revelers Quest that will be similar to Great Wolf’s MagiQuest — which uses a magic wand to unlock gameplay. Think of the wand play activities in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood and you get the general idea.
Revelers Quest expands on the concept of the Two Bit Circus interactive story room with a turn-of-the-century circus backstory.
“We’ve woven an entire story into your stay that you can choose to participate in,” Schaefer said. “You’re not stuck in a room. You’re moving throughout the entire hotel to solve the story. It really gives everybody a chance to decide how they want to immerse themselves in this experience throughout their stay. They can play when they want.”
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Revelers Resorts are the theme parks of the future, according to Schaefer.
“You can do anything in VR and our story rooms,” Schaefer said. “You can be anybody that you want to be. You can be a different character. You can have that immersive experience. That really is where people are moving. People like to lose themselves for 15 minutes or an hour.”
Two Bit Entertainment has plans to expand the Revelers Resort and Two Bit Circus concepts.
“We plan on growing both,” Schaefer said. “We think both of these brands have nationwide appeal.”
Could a Revelers Resorts hotel be coming soon to the Los Angeles birthplace of Two Bit Circus?
“There’s an entire population in Southern California that loves to play,” Schaefer said. “We’d love to get there. Our idea is we want to build a nationwide brand as fast as we possibly can that makes sense.”