Children's areas of theme parks have a history of following industry trends as new technology evolves. Generally they are updated, refreshed, or replaced every few years to reflect the newest offerings in the amusement industry.
|The 1988 season at Great Adventure was a "re-building" season with a renewed focus throughout the park on safety and on making the park more appealing to families. A big part of this new approach was the addition of Bugs Bunny Land, a major update to the park's children's section.
|The former Looney Tunes Land was
expanded with new attractions and themed elements. Part of the renewal
concept was bringing more interactivity alongside the rides. New play
structures were added to offer more physical activity for the younger
guests, and to stimulate motor skills a series of booths were
placed throughout the area known as Magic Hands.
Magic Hands were little dioramas with interactive elements. Beneath each diorama was a series of five hand spaces where guests put their hands interrupting a sensor which activated elements inside the diorama. Each hand spot did something different in the scene including causing motion, triggering lighting, and the playing of audio features.
| The scenes were simple animations that
were like storybook scenes. The example here with the witch and
cauldron for example had a switch that activated a blower which made the
"fire" under the cauldron move. Another would make the witch cackle.
Another made bubbling sounds for the cauldron. Each of the kiosks had a
different scene and a few had Asian themes like Chinese dragons which most likely
was a tie to where the booths were created and manufactured.
Over time, one by one, the elements stopped working and eventually were turned off. The dioramas sat idle for about two years before being removed in the beginning of the 1997 season. Eventually, the sites of the Magic Hand booths were replaced with additional rides and attractions, mostly in 1999, as part of the park's War on Lines additions.
|Original Spotlight: August 28, 2021. GAH Reference#: KIDS-1988-002