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A dark ride or ghost train is an indoor amusement ride on which passengers aboard guided vehicles travel through specially lit scenes that typically contain animation, sound, music and special effects.[1] Appearing as early as the 19th century, exhibits such as tunnels of love, scary themes and interactive stories have been the subject of rides under the original definition.[citation needed]

Contents

TerminologyEdit

In its most traditional form, the term dark ride refers to ride-through attractions with scenes that use blacklights, whereby visible light is prevented from entering the space, and only show elements that fluoresce under ultraviolet radiation are seen by the riders. The size of each room containing a scene or scenes is thus concealed, and the set designer can use forced perspective and other visual tricks to create the illusion of distance. Typically, these experiences also use a series of opaque doors between scenes to further control riders's views within a space-constrained building. Prominent examples include Disneyland's Snow White's Scary Adventures, Pinocchio's Daring Journey, Peter Pan's Flight, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and Alice in Wonderland, which all rely on the use of blacklights in almost every scene.[2]

HistoryEdit

The first dark rides appeared in the late 19th century and were called "scenic railways" and "pleasure railways".[3] A popular type of dark ride commonly referred to as an old mill or tunnel of love used small boats to carry riders through water-filled canals. A Trip to the Moon began operation at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. Leon Cassidy of the Pretzel Amusement Ride Company patented the first single-rail electric dark ride in 1928. Historically notable dark rides include Futurama at the 1939 New York World's Fair, and Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

Modern attractions in this genre vary widely in technical sophistication. Smaller-scale rides often feature the same sorts of simple animation and sounds used since the genre's early days, while more ambitious projects feature complex animatronics, special effects and ride vehicles utilizing cutting-edge technology.[4]

To improve the effect and give a sense of journey, passages in dark rides frequently change direction. Sudden curves give a sense of disorientation and allow new scenes to surprise the rider. The rides may also feature sudden ascents or descents to further the excitement.

VariationsEdit

Dark rides have a number of variations that are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Ghost trainEdit

In the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia, dark rides with a scary theme are called ghost trains.

The first ride to use the name "Ghost Train" was that of Blackpool Pleasure Beach.[5] The ride was imported in 1930 and originally called The Pretzel (due to the curving shape of its track layout); but as pretzels were little-known in Britain, it was soon renamed after The Ghost Train, a play which ran for a year in London, a film adaptation of which was showing in 1931.[6] It was rebuilt in 1936 and has remained unchanged since. Blackpool Pleasure Beach is also home to Valhalla, the world's largest indoor dark ride,[citation needed] known for its many complex effects.

Prolific designers of dark rides in the UK include Keith Sparks and John Wardley between the 1970s and 1990s. Notable UK dark rides include Phantom Fantasia at Thorpe Park; The 5th Dimension, Terror Tomb and Professor Burp's Bubbleworks at Chessington World of Adventures; Around The World in 80 Days, The Haunted House, Toyland Tours and Hex – The Legend of the Towers at Alton Towers; and Valhalla at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. (Not a ghost train per se, Derren Brown's Ghost Train at Thorpe Park is a motion simulation and virtual reality attraction.)

In Australia, a dark ride is named The Ghost Train at Luna Park, Melbourne,[7]; and a similarly named ride was destroyed by fire in 1979 at Luna Park Sydney.

Interactive dark rideEdit

Interactive dark rides feature a component that allows riders to be involved in the attraction's story.

The vast majority of interactive dark rides are shooting dark rides[8], which require riders to aim and shoot at targets throughout the ride using handheld or vehicle-mounted light guns. Successfully shooting a target usually triggers special animation, such as flashing lights or moving the target. The more targets riders hit, the higher their scores at the end of the ride. The use of light guns varies between rides, from killing aliens on Men in Black: Alien Attack at Universal Studios Florida to calling turkeys on Gobbler Getaway at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari.[9][10] The ride systems of conventional dark rides can be easily converted into shooting dark rides. Such conversions include Duel: The Haunted House Strikes Back! at Alton Towers and Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin at Disney's Magic Kingdom. The latter uses facilities that previously housed If You Had Wings, Delta Dreamflight, and Take Flight. A recent dark ride, Wonder Mountain's Guardian at Canada's Wonderland, has the world's longest interactive screen at over 500 feet (150 m).

Among non-shooting interactive dark rides, Etnaland's[11] award-winning[12] Haunted School[13] is described by Park World magazine as "one of the most idiosyncratic dark rides". It is themed to a school exam, with riders individually answering multiple-choice questions throughout it. Riders are graded on their responses, and each receives a school report at the end of the ride.[8]

Trackless dark rideEdit

Trackless dark rides utilize automated guided vehicles that do not require guide rails, and thus are able to cross existing paths, reverse, and rotate. Some trackless dark rides, such as the Big Red Car Ride at Dreamworld, rely on a buried wire for navigation. Others, such as Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland or Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy at Disneyland Paris, use Wi-Fi and RFID-based local positioning systems.[14]

Enclosed roller coasterEdit

While some roller coasters may be indoors, simply enclosing a roller coaster does not make it a dark ride. Dark coasters are roller coasters that feature heavily themed layouts, special effects (such as animated characters, fire, smoke, and sound/lighting effects), and a dark ride portion that abruptly transitions into a roller coaster-style layout with heavily banked turns, sharp turns, steep drops, and helices. Some of them include backward motion, and many have launch mechanisms rather than lifts. Examples include:

Test Track at Epcot, Journey to the Center of the Earth at Tokyo DisneySea, and Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure each use a slot car track rather than that of a roller coaster, but they provide a similar pairing of dark ride scenes with a high-speed thrill ride.

Other attractions incorporating dark ride elementsEdit

Particularly in Disney-built or -influenced parks, a number of attractions use traditional dark-ride features, such as animatronics and theatrical lighting, but are not "dark rides" in that patrons do not board vehicles. Examples include the walk-through dioramas in Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle, and theater-based Disney attractions like Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, The Hall of Presidents, The American Adventure and the Enchanted Tiki Room. Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress (and its now-closed Disneyland replacement America Sings) had four auditoriums that rotated audiences around a stationary core with show scenes.

The Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Railroad both include brief dark-ride scenes, but for the most part transport guests outdoors. Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom, the Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Space Mountain at several Disney parks, and Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars at Hong Kong Disneyland likewise include some dark-ride elements, but function primarily as indoor/outdoor roller coasters.

List of dark ridesEdit

  • Name in italics means that it has been closed; date of closure follows "−".
List of dark rides
Title Open Location Notes
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage 1971−1994
2001
Magic Kingdom
Tokyo DisneySea
Adventure Thru Inner Space 1967−1985 Disneyland Park (Disneyland Resort) Replaced in 1985 by Star Tours
Alice in Wonderland 1961 Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Alice in Wonderland 1958 Disneyland Park (Disneyland Resort)
Apiland 2000 Parc du Bocasse
Apirama 1979−1999 Meli Park 8-min. water dark ride with one drop; Transformed by new owner into Het Bos van Plop (Plopsaland De Panne)
Atlantis Adventure 2007 Europa-Park
Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin 2013 SeaWorld Orlando A first-of-its-kind motion-based trackless dark ride developed by Oceaneering International
Arthur – The Ride 2014 Europa-Park
Bermuda Triangle 1994−2010 Sea World Replaced by Storm Coaster
Blazing Fury 1978 Dollywood Based on Silver Dollar City's Fire in the Hole
Blå Tåget 1935 Gröna Lund Renovated 2011
Boo Blasters on Boo Hill 2010 Canada's Wonderland
Carowinds
Kings Island
Kings Dominion
Formerly a Scooby-Doo-themed ride, rebranded after the parks did not renew the licence
Bubbleworks 1990−2016 Chessington World of Adventures Water dark ride, originally Prof. Burp's Bubble Works, later called Imperial Leather Bubbleworks.
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters 2005
2005−2017
Disneyland Park (Disneyland Resort)
Hong Kong Disneyland
Hong Kong Disneyland version closed to make way for Iron Man Experience motion simulator
Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters 2004 Tokyo Disneyland
Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast 2006 Disneyland Park (Disneyland Paris)
Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue 2016 Shanghai Disneyland Park
Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin 1998 Magic Kingdom
Calico Mine Ride 1960 Knott's Berry Farm
Capitán Balas 2007 Isla Mágica
Carnaval Festival 1984 Efteling
Cave Train 1961 Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Challenge of Mondor 2008 Enchanted Forest
Challenge of Tutankhamon 2001 Walibi Belgium
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Ride 2006−? Alton Towers Formerly Around The World In 80 Days (1981-1993), then Toyland Tours (1994-2005). Currently closed
Chocolate Tour at Hershey's Chocolate World 1973 Hersheypark
Cueva de las Tarántulas 2006 Parque de Atracciones de Madrid Replacing The Old Mine 1910
Cueva del Horror Parque de Atracciones de Zaragoza
Curse of DarKastle 2005−2017 Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Den Flyvende Kuffert 1993 Tivoli Gardens
The Den of Lost Thieves 1998 Indiana Beach Previously opened in 1969 as the Mystery Mansion
Derren Brown's Ghost Train 2016 Thorpe Park An attraction that incorporates virtual reality headsets and motion simulation
Dinosaur 1998 Disney's Animal Kingdom
Dracula's Castle 1974 Lagoon Amusement Park Refurbished with new scenes in 2007; featured in episode 27 ("Blind Luck") of the 1987-88 television series Werewolf
Droomvlucht 1993 Efteling
Duel - The Haunted House Strikes Back! 1992 Alton Towers Formerly The Haunted House, refurbished with new scenes and laser-gun game system in 2003
Dwarf City 1975 Europa-Park
El Laberinto del Minotauro 2000 Terra Mítica
El Rescate de Ulises 2001 Terra Mítica Boat ride. The longest dark ride in Europe[citation needed]
El Rio del Tiempo 1982−2007 Epcot Changed to Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
El Último Minuto 2006 Dinópolis
Elf Ride 1979 Europa-Park
Escape from Pompeii 1996 Busch Gardens Williamsburg
E.T. Adventure 1990
1991−2003
2001−2009
Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Japan
Fantasía ?-2015 Parque de Atracciones de Madrid
Fata Morgana 1986 Efteling
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage 2007 Disneyland Park Re-theming of the Submarine Voyage
Fire in the Hole 1972 Silver Dollar City
Ghost Blasters 2006 Nickelodeon Universe
Ghost Castle 1982 Europa-Park
Ghost Hunters 1998−? Segaworld Sydney Closed
Ghost Train 1930 Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Ghostwood Estate 2008 Kennywood
Gobbler Getaway 2006 Holiday World
Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros 2007 Epcot Formerly El Rio del Tiempo dark ride (1982)
The Great Movie Ride 1989−2017 Disney's Hollywood Studios
The Great Pistolero Roundup 1999 Family Kingdom Amusement Park
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey 2010
2014
2016
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Hollywood
The Haunted Mansion 1969
1971
1983
Disneyland Park (Disneyland Resort)
Magic Kingdom
Tokyo Disneyland
Het Bos van Plop 1999 Plopsaland De Panne 8-minute boat dark ride with one drop, on track of former Apirama
Hex – The Legend of the Towers 2000 Alton Towers Walkthrough dark ride featuring a Vekoma Madhouse ending
High Dive 1994 Wakayama Marina City | Porto Europa Arrow Dynamics flume ride
I Corsari: la Vendetta del Fantasma 1991 Gardaland Opened as I Corsari in 1991, in 2018 was renovated and changed the name
If You Had Wings 1972−1989 Magic Kingdom
Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull 2001 Tokyo DisneySea
Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye 1995 Disneyland Park (Disneyland Resort)
it's a small world 1964
1966
1971
1983
1992
2008
1964 New York World's Fair
Disneyland Park (Disneyland Resort)
Magic Kingdom
Tokyo Disneyland
Disneyland Park (Disneyland Paris)
Hong Kong Disneyland
Jocco's Mardi Gras Madness 2000−2005 Six Flags New Orleans
Journey to Atlantis 1998
2004
2007
SeaWorld Orlando
SeaWorld San Diego
Refurbished in Orlando in 2017; elevator segment in San Diego version
Justice League: Alien Invasion 3D 2012 Warner Bros. Movie World
Justice League: Battle for Metropolis 2015
2015
2016
Six Flags Over Texas
Six Flags St. Louis
Six Flags Great America
Kärlekstunneln 1917 Gröna Lund Refurbished in 1987
Kingdom of the Dinosaurs 1987−2004 Knott's Berry Farm Replaced by Voyage to the Iron Reef
Knott's Bear-y Tales 1975−1987 Knott's Berry Farm Replaced by Kingdom of the Dinosaurs
Kosmikar Mount Igueldo Amusement Park
La Aventura de Scooby-Doo 2005 Parque Warner Madrid
La Furia de los Dioses 1999−2010 Isla Mágica
The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure 2011
2012
Disney California Adventure Park
Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom installation opened as “Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid”.
Living with the Land 1982 Epcot
Looney Tunes River Ride 1991−2011
1996−2004
Warner Bros. Movie World
Warner Bros. Movie World Germany
Los Piratas 1984−1996 Parque de Atracciones de Madrid Replaced by The Old Mine 1910
Madame Freudenreich Curiosités 2018 Europa-Park Replaced the Universe of Energy, being a retheme of that ride
Maelstrom 1988−2014 Epcot Closed for conversion to Frozen Ever After
Magical Powder 2002 Lagunasia
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh 1999
2003
2005
Magic Kingdom
Disneyland Park (Disneyland Resort)
Hong Kong Disneyland
Magic Kingdom installation replaced Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Disneyland Park (Disneyland Resort) installation replaced Country Bear Jamboree
Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! 2006 Disney California Adventure Park
Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek 2009 Tokyo Disneyland
Men in Black: Alien Attack 2000 Universal Studios Florida
The Mine of Lost Souls 1985 Canobie Lake Park Refurbished in 1992 by the Sally Corporation
Minen 2003 Tivoli Gardens
Monster Mansion 2009 Six Flags Over Georgia Tales of the Okefenokee 1967-1980; Monster Plantation 1981-2009
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride 1955
1971−1998
Disneyland Park (Disneyland Resort)
Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom installation replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Mysterious River Monte Igueldo Amusement Park
Mystic Manor 2013 Hong Kong Disneyland
Mystic Motel 2013 Ladera Ranch Notable for being homemade, Mystic Motel contains a small walkthrough section as well as the 60-ft ride
Nemesis: Sub-Terra 2012 Alton Towers Dark ride combining a drop tower and a small walkthrough, currently standing but not operating
The Old Mine 1910 1996−2004 Parque de Atracciones de Madrid Replaced by Cueva de las Tarántulas
Peter Pan's Flight 1955
1971
1983
1992
2016
Disneyland Park (Disneyland Resort)
Magic Kingdom
Tokyo Disneyland
Disneyland Park (Disneyland Paris)
Shanghai Disneyland Park
Phantasmagoria 1973−2007 Bell's Amusement Park Was one of the largest and longest haunted amusements in the country with a two-story track and 27 tricks and surprises, ride was demolished June 19, 2007 when Bell's Amusement Park was permanently closed
Phantom Fantasia 1983−2000 Thorpe Park Later Wicked Witches Haunt; closed in 2000 by fire.
Phantom Manor 1992 Disneyland Park (Disneyland Paris)
Phantom Theater 1972−2002 Kings Island Replaced with Scooby-Doo's Haunted Mansion and later with Boo Blasters on Boo Hill
Piccolo Mondo 1982 Europa-Park Before 2011 refurbishment was called Ciao Bambini
Pinocchio Tivoli World
Pinocchio's Daring Journey 1983
1983
1992
Tokyo Disneyland
Disneyland Park (Disneyland Resort)
Disneyland Park (Disneyland Paris)
Pirates in Batavia 1987 Europa-Park Boat ride with one big drop
Pirates Cove 1972 Waldameer Park
Pirates of the Caribbean 1967
1973
1983
1992
Disneyland Park (Disneyland Resort)
Magic Kingdom
Tokyo Disneyland
Disneyland Park (Disneyland Paris)
Pooh's Hunny Hunt 2000 Tokyo Disneyland
Puppet Boat Ride 1992 Europa-Park
Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy 2014 Walt Disney Studios Park
Reese's Xtreme Cup Challenge 2006-2018 Hersheypark
Río Misterioso Parque de Atracciones de Zaragoza
River Caves 1905 Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin 1994
1996
Disneyland Park (Disneyland Resort)
Tokyo Disneyland
Scooby-Doo's Haunted Mansion 2000−2009
2001−2009
2002−2018
2003−2014
2004−2009
2005−2009
Canada's Wonderland*
Carowinds*
Six Flags Fiesta Texas***
Six Flags St. Louis**
Kings Island*
Kings Dominion*
* indicates replaced by Boo Blasters on Boo Hill
** indicates replaced by Justice League: Battle for Metropolis
*** indicates replaced by Justice League: Battle for Metropolis
Shootout at the Flooded Mine 1968 Silver Dollar City
Sinbad's Storybook Voyage 2001 Tokyo DisneySea
Snow White's Scary Adventures 1955
1971−2012
1983
1992
Disneyland Park (Disneyland Resort)
Magic Kingdom
Tokyo Disneyland
Disneyland Park (Disneyland Paris)
Magic Kingdom installation replaced by Princess Fairytale Hall
Snowflake Sleigh Ride 1998 Europa-Park
Spaceship Earth 1982 Epcot
Spectacolo 2005 Wiener Prater Free-fall dark ride
Splash Mountain 1989
1992
1992
Disneyland Park (Disneyland Resort)
Magic Kingdom
Tokyo Disneyland
Submarine Voyage 1959−1998 Disneyland Park (Disneyland Resort) Reopened as Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage in 2007
The Swiss Chocolate Adventure[15] 2014 Swiss Museum of Transport (Verkehrshaus), Lucerne Covers an area of 700 square metres (7,500 sq ft)
Symbolica 2017 Efteling Dark ride about Efteling's mascot, Pardoes; system delivered by Dutch company ETF, developed from cancelled project Hartenhof
Terroride 1967 Lagoon Amusement Park Refurbished with new scenes in 2007
Timber Mountain Log Ride 1969 Knott's Berry Farm
Tomb Blaster 2002 Chessington World of Adventures Formerly Terror Tomb, refurbished in 2002 with new scenes and laser-gun game system; replaced The 5th Dimension in 1994
Toy Story Midway Mania! 2008
2008
2012
Disney California Adventure Park
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Tokyo DisneySea
Transformers: The Ride 3D 2011
2012
2013
Universal Studios Singapore
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Florida
TV's Family Favourites 1995−1998 Crinkley Bottom at Cricket St Thomas
Universe of Energy 1994−2017 Europa-Park Rethemed as Madame Freudenreich Curiosités
Valhalla 2000 Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Viaje en el Tiempo 2001 Dinópolis
Voyage to the Iron Reef 2015 Knott's Berry Farm
Wacky Factory 2010 Lake Winnepesaukah Formerly Castle
Wallace & Gromit's Thrill-O-Matic 2013 Blackpool Pleasure Beach
The Whacky Shack 1982 Joyland Amusement Park
The Whacky Shack 1970 Waldameer Park
Wild West Adventure 2000 Attractiepark Slagharen
Wonder Mountain's Guardian 2014 Canada's Wonderland

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Shining a Light on Dark Rides". Entertainment Designer. February 9, 2015. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  2. ^ Alcorn, S. (2010). Theme park design: Behind the scenes with an engineer. Orlando, FL: Theme Perks Press.
  3. ^ "Archaeology of a Dark Ride". academia.edu.
  4. ^ MacDonald, Brady (October 19, 2015). "25 best theme park dark rides in the world". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  5. ^ "Ghost train". blackpoolpleasurebeach.com.
  6. ^ "Ghost Train". ukrides.info.
  7. ^ "Ghost Train (Luna Park)". Parkz. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
  8. ^ a b "The School". Park World Magazine: 38. August 2013.
  9. ^ "Alien Invasion on the Gold Coast". Park World Magazine: 13. October 2012.
  10. ^ "Gobbler Getaway". Sally Corporation. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  11. ^ "Etnaland". www.etnaland.eu.
  12. ^ "European Star Award 2013". Gosetto. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  13. ^ "The School - Etnaland Themepark". www.etnaland.eu.
  14. ^ Niles, Robert (9 August 2013). "The Imagineers behind Hong Kong Disneyland's Mystic Manor talk about their award-winning attraction, at Disney's D23". Theme Park Insider. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  15. ^ Mani, Mohan (13 July 2014). "Chocoholics, ahoy! Swiss Chocolate Adventure in Luzern". Newly Swissed. Archived from the original on 21 January 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.

External linksEdit