Dark ride dismay...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 3:23 PM

I knew I was going to suffer for my failure to reach HRP last year. Then yesterday driving home from NC, I finally got to Myrtle to experience Freestyle. Not a bad place overall, enjoyed the mine train ALOT. The Ferris-wheel lift on...(ugh, holy name changes Batman)...RoundAbout was cool. Music on the coasters was a nice enhancement (albeit often too loud for oldsters like myself).

Now for the less-than-spectacular: The eternal lines for the B&M with 6-7 minutes dispatches were frustrating, no doubt. But the most painful and disappointing thing about the park....the absolutely atrocious and horrendous re-do of the Moody Blues dark ride. Offhand, I can only think of two that were worse - the Lewis and Clark Expedition at Oaks, and the Spongebob ride at Funtown on the Jersey Shore. Cardboard cut-outs, scotch-taped together, no real creativity or effort involved at all. If I hadn't known about the previous incarnation, it would have been massively disappointing. Knowing what WAS there, however, left me almost speechless. Please, Freestyle, during this offseason, do SOMETHING to fix that ride (converting to a Sally interactive would be a vast improvement).

Last edited by rollergator, Wednesday, August 5, 2009 4:02 PM
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Wednesday, August 5, 2009 3:31 PM

Nights In White Satin was possibly the best dark ride ever built. I'd never seen anything like it (in both theme and execution) and probably never will again.

Sigh.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009 4:16 PM

Want to see a bad dark ride, go to kennywood and ride garfield.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009 4:38 PM

Oddly enough, though, if you want to see a GOOD dark ride, go to Kennywood and ride Ghostwood Estates. Go figure.

I guess it means Kennywood learned their lesson from the Garfield project.

To bring this back to Freestyle, though...

The interesting thing about it is that in reality there wasn't a lot to Nights in White Satin. There were maybe a half-dozen animated props in the whole thing, and those were basically those weird wind-spinners, painted in fluorescent colors. The rest was mostly projections and lighting effects. And yet, somehow it all worked.

I wonder how much of that is because unlike most dark rides (with the exception of Disney's Haunted Mansion) everything in there was perfectly synchronized with a well-known piece of music...though obviously re-recorded for the ride, as it wasn't distorted like the studio version...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
(who thinks the Moody Blues have provided us with some of the worst *recordings* of great music ever sold. Didn't they work with anybody who could read a VU meter?)

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009 8:10 PM

Ghostwood Estates is wasted as a shoot-em-up. You spend so much time and energy shooting targets, that you miss the whole experience.

As far as dark rides go, I prefer the ones like The Haunted Mansion and Knoebels.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009 9:04 PM

"Traditional" dark rides are for all intents and purposes dead in terms of new construction though, aren't they? I was a major proponent of the interactives early on because I saw at least some way for dark rides to morph into something parks would build into the 21st century, and I think that's been borne out. Ghostwood was pretty spectacular IMO, and rose to the level of the very best interactives like Ghost Hunt or the awesome Scooby at SFStL...

I do want to point out that I'm aware FMP had to put something together post-haste in the wake of the destructive IP wrangling at the end of the off-season. But surely, the Mon-stars of Rock isn't something that casts FMP in a positive light...and even more laughably, ITEC wants to promote themselves as involved in this debacle?!?

Yes, that ITEC. The ones that brought us MiB, JPRA, Cat in the Hat, etc. Then came this: http://www.itec.com/MonstarsofRock/tabid/1083/Default.aspx

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009 9:08 PM

I think that the "scary" dark rides are pretty much out now. With a very few exception all the darkrides now are "cute" blacklight shoot 'em up's that are "safe" for the whole family.
Now I would love to see some really scary darkrides come out. Ones that actually scare you. Of course that may be the Haunted House nut in me but still :)

Man that was a lot of quotes :)

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009 9:25 PM

The last scary dark ride to go in would have to be the Mummy attractions at Universal (although they are hybrid coasters too.)

I just think that our culture has progressed to the point where it is impossible to have a ride be scary and be appropriate for kids, which is why outside of Halloween time you dont see much "scary" stuff being put into a park unless they have a massive budget like Universal/Disney/Busch.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009 10:12 PM

By far the best dark ride I have ever been on is DarKastle at BGW. If they follow that kind of model, dark rides will make a come back.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009 10:13 PM

Darkastle is way too over budget for any park other then Disney/Universal/Busch Dave.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009 10:22 PM

rollergator said:
... But surely, the Mon-stars of Rock isn't something that casts FMP in a positive light...and even more laughably, ITEC wants to promote themselves as involved in this debacle?!?

Yes, that ITEC. The ones that brought us MiB, JPRA, Cat in the Hat, etc. Then came this: http://www.itec.com/MonstarsofRock/tabid/1083/Default.aspx

Hey, there's an attraction missing from the list on their web site...ITEC also brought us the Disaster Transport conversion.

Maybe that's the key. Disaster Transport and Monstars of Rock are both conversion jobs...!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009 10:23 PM

Garfield's Nightmare may be the econo-version of the 3-D dark ride. :)

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Thursday, August 6, 2009 3:32 AM

Actually I have to say Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom was pretty scary. Seems like making things jump out is only way to really scare people now adays. That and I felt I was going to be thrown from the vehicle. Really glad we didn't miss that one.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009 11:29 AM

I thought Dinosaur was scary, too, and I'm relieved to know I'm not the only one! The end-of-the-world-as-they-knew-it scenario was disturbing enough, but I also thought I might be pitched out of the vehicle as it lurched through the dark. Very startling, especially for a Disney ride.

I never got to ride Nights in White Satin, but it makes me think of the now defunct Horizons at EPCOT, where in a certain portion of the ride they used swirling, or traveling projections on large screens to disorient the rider. It was amazingly effective, and in the long run inexpensive for the park. If Hardrock's ride included that sort of thing, I'm especially sorry that I missed it.

I think shoot-ems are fun, but not if you're expected to take in a lot of scenery and effects, too. To me the most successful ones are the boat rides, like the ones at SF StL and Silver Dollar City. The pacing seems more appropriate, or something. However, I'm so glad they didn't go that way with the Monster Mansion- in the wrong hands that very easily could've happened. I haven't been to Kennywood for a few years, but I've heard good things about Ghostwood.

I've ranted here before about Garfield, and what a crime that conversion was. I can't imagine what they were thinking. If it had been left to me, I would have built my family friendly ride out of a smaller portable dark ride, placed it back in the kid's area where it belongs, and restored my historic Old Mill for future generations. Hopefully someone there will remember/realize what they have, remove that black light crap, and restore the integrity to one of the nation's oldest operating attractions.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009 12:57 PM

SDC's was a nice one. The only thing that seemed strange was that you could continuously shoot the same target with no delay between hits. At 100 points per hit, I sored 205,000 points on my second time riding it. If your a good shot, the only thing holding you back is how fast you can pull the trigger. I had to switch hands a few times because they were getting sore.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009 3:26 PM

Don't forget Disney's dropping tens of millions into the new Little Mermaid attraction(s) for DCA and possibly MK. Dark rides aren't dead, most people on coaster forums just overlook them. ;)

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Thursday, August 6, 2009 4:49 PM

"Extravaganza" dark rides (Spidey, DarKastle, anything Disney) aren't dead....yet. But they also incorporate alot of features you simply will not find on those built in-house or those built on a shoestring budget...

Garfield was the last "conversion" thusly disappointing...and I have been on some dark rides that were, ummmm, less-than-costly to build. ;)

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Thursday, August 6, 2009 8:17 PM

I wish every park had something similar to Knoebels Haunted Mansion. Best. Darkride, Ever. ...and very scary imo.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009 8:33 PM

And now SCBB is updating their dark ride
http://travel.latimes.com/daily-deal-blog/index.php/santa-cruz-beach-boa-5058/

Which basically looks like they are creating a new one.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009 8:35 PM

...especially at Phunfest when they hide a live scareactor in there. I got scared t!hsless in the Skull Room one year...didn't see the guy!

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