The New York-New York Hotel & Casino will add a virtual reality experience to the Big Apple roller coaster, taking riders on an aerial adventure through the Nevada desert and over the Las Vegas Strip.
The new up-charge virtual reality experience, set to open Feb. 7, combines make-believe computer-animated visuals with the real-world twists, drops and G-forces of a 67-mph coaster.
Germany-based VR Coasters, which designed the experience, has equipped more than 30 theme parks worldwide with virtual reality technology, including Six Flags, Cedar Fair and Legoland parks.
The 4,777-foot-long ride is being billed as the longest coaster in the world equipped with virtual reality.
A four-legged, four-armed, four-eyed spindly green creature leads riders up a craggy desertscape as the coaster train ascends the lift hill.
At the 203-foot precipice, long-buried extraterrestrial flying robots burst out of the jagged cliffs, attach a tow line to the coaster and pull riders on an aerial journey across the desert.
Before long, riders reach the Vegas Strip where other alien ships are attacking the city. The VR coaster banks past Mandalay Bay, loops over the Luxor sphinx, flies past the Excalibur castle and dives down the side of New York-New York’s version of the Chrysler building.
A military helicopter rescues the riders from the alien ship, tugging the coaster by another tow cable past the Bellagio fountains, over the erupting Mirage volcano and through a keyhole in the MGM marquee sign.
The VR experience does a fairly accurate job of rendering the Vegas Strip, but non-MGM properties get short shrift. The Tropicana gets turned into a parking lot and the mock Eiffel Tower is erased from the Strip. An out-of-place Vegas Vic neon sign that belongs in downtown Vegas shows up near McCarran International Airport.
The Big Apple roller coaster at New York-New York Hotel & Casino costs $20 with the virtual reality experience. You can still ride the coaster without the VR headset for $15.