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‘Honey, I Shrunk the Audience’ & Engaging Your Senses

October 15, 2018

When I was ten, we went to Disney World. At the time my younger sister was only three, which meant I got to go on many of the rides twice – once with my mom while my Dad waited in line to hug Minnie, and a second time with my Dad while my mom calmed her down after Minnie scared the crap out of her.

yes, I had this haircut. no that is not a doily, it is my shirt collar. yes, I still speak to my mother despite all of the above.

There was one ride called “Honey I Shrunk the Audience” that was brilliant. I remember it to this day, some twenty years later, so vividly. We all know the preface of the Honey I Shrunk the Kids series of Disney movies – Wayne Szalinski, a scientist obsessed with his electromagnetic shrinking machine, accidentally shrinks his & the neighbors’ kids and throws them out with the trash. The four pre-teens, all no taller than a quarter, have to find their way home through the backyard.

It’s a classic.

Anyway, the ride is a spin-off of the movie and follows a similar storyline. Once the audiences’ 3D glasses are secured and the lights dim you discover that Wayne is missing, and while his wife goes off screen to find him his two kids – and their pets…a snake and a mouse – remain on screen with Wayne’s newest invention, a copy machine called the Dimensional Duplicator. His son puts the pet mouse in the machine, and instantly it multiplies into hundreds of mice that scatter into the audience.

Thanks to leg ticklers under each audience member’s seat, as the mice appear to run off screen and into the theater it FEELS as though there are mice darting around your feet!

It is hilarious to hear your 6 foot 5 father yelp like a little girl.

Wayne returns and starts demonstrating his shrinking machine, which unsurprisingly goes awry and ends up shrinking the audience. As the now enormous actors walk around on screen the seats of the theater shake & screams are heard as the pet snake, whose fangs are now HUGE, slithers toward the 3D glasses.

In the end, the machine is fixed and the audience is returned to their normal size. But the BEST part is when Wayne’s dog, who somehow has blown up to 10 times his usual size, runs on screen, sniffs the audience and then SNEEZES. ON. YOU.

Thanks to small water sprayers triggers on the backs of each chair, the show ends as the audience wipes imitation snot off of their 3D glasses.

I saw Honey I Shrunk the Kids had made it onto Netflix the other day, and it brought me back to this ride. And that got me thinking – we don’t use enough of our senses while presenting. Sure, we use visuals, videos, and some animations to try and keep your attention, but when was the last time we utilized your sense of smell, or taste, or touch?

Food for thought: How can you start incorporating the senses into your next presentation?

For example – In your next pitch to investors to back your new cupcake shop, bring all of the ingredients they would need to decorate a cupcake and let them try. Light a candle that smells like warm chocolate chip cookies. Bring samples of your work.

The more senses you engage, the higher the chance you’ll make a lasting impression…and gain their attention.

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