Scale seems to be the core differentiator.

When you break down the engagement elements of a theme park (the animatronics, sensor-driven interactions, VR immersive environments, the drama, the anticipation etc);
they are not particularly spectacular in and of themselves. Some motors, hydraulics, sensors, touchscreens, motion cameras, funky music, colours, fireworks…

It is when they are manifested on a BIG scale, in tandem; when they literally envelope participants; and are wrapped up in a unified, scripted experience; that some magical transformation happens.

A multitouch screen is fun – drag your finger across the digital pond, make ripples, scare the fish… A multitouch multisensory fully immersive environment capable of accommodating large groups of people – now that scale bumps the experience exponentially beyond the actual component technologies. See

The same effect can be seen in painting. Initial small studies can be exquisite, but it is the final piece, execute BIG, that is truly awe inspiring.