I am aboard one of the new Star Wars rides at Walt Disney World, in awe. Looking all around me – up and down, left and right, and even behind me – I’m blown away at how cool this amusement park attraction is. I’m fully immersed – loving the sense of motion, as if I’m gliding through space. Only thing is, I’m actually sitting in my Southern California living room – experiencing it through the Quest 2. But I honestly feel as if I’m sitting right on the ride.
I tell my doubting wife, friends and relatives. And everyone gives me the “yeah, right” gesture. Until they try on the virtual reality (VR) goggles from Meta. Then they all react the same way: OMG and let’s try another ride. And another. And another.
For the many of you who have tried the Quest 2, you know what I’m talking about. For those of you who have not, you’re in for an amazing experience. I’ve reasoned that despite the goggles costing $400, they may well save you thousands of dollars experiencing amusement parks alone. Visitors to all of the Disney parks around the world – let alone pretty much every other major amusement park you can think of – have recorded their ride experiences in 360-degree VR. And it’s all available for free on YouTube. Once you bring each ride up on the goggles, your eyes trick you into believing you are there. Trust me, it’s one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen. Once I’ve seen these rides in this manner, I feel like I can skip paying ridiculous Disney prices to ride in person — at least for now. I still love going there in person.
But it’s not just amusement park rides the Quest 2 can take you on. I’ve also done a walking tour of Dubai, flown on a helicopter over the Golden Gate Bridge, jumped out of a hot air balloon with a parachutist, gone on a space walk from the International Space Station, and even stood out on the mound of a baseball field in Japan while an actual game was going on. The sense of motion, realism and immersion is jaw-dropping. I also downloaded a Jurassic Park short movie that makes you feel as if you’re in the midst of a dinosaur battle. If action isn’t your thing, you can just chill out on a beach or at a fancy hotel or desert spa. There’s a huge variety of VR experiences on the Quest 2 for every taste.
Another thing I’ve been using it for is to stream live hockey and baseball games. It makes me feel as if I’m in a movie theater watching the games on about a 100-foot screen. You can even read the patches on player sleeves with ease. Speaking of, I plan on watching movies on it, too.
I realize this kind of tech has been around for a while, but it’s gotten way better over time. I can easily see it as the future of communication and education. Imagine learning to virtually drive vehicles or fly an airplane right from the cockpit. It seems to be the next closest thing to actually being there. I’ve been playing golf on it through a new game, as well, taking boxing lessons on it, and doing some yoga. Instructors appear in front of you, life-size, as if they’re actually right there in the room with you. And because it’s so immersive, I feel like I’m more in the moment with each app – tuning out the real world around me. Although the sound is also outstanding, you can still hear anything else going on in the room.
And by the way, you don’t ever need to worry about bumping into furniture or walls. When you first put on the Quest 2 in a new room, it asks you to define the physical boundaries — letting you see your outside world until you overlay the room boundaries via the hand remotes for once the apps start. There are also many ways to take advantage of its deep features. For instance, I activated hand tracking so I don’t even need to hold the hand remotes anymore.
This is truly one of the best-thought-out products I’ve ever tried. And its applications are boundless – I can’t wait to see what comes next.