Is Sub Sea Systems’ Aquaticar the Next Great Dark Ride Concept?
‘The submersible Aquaticar features seating for two guests, side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder. Each seat is adjustable so that both riders’ shoulders are at the same height under a “breathing canopy,” that not only provides a continued supply of air to breathe, but also keeps guests dry from the chest up. This is accomplished using positive air pressure.
‘The Aquaticar is powered by a “Bubble Engine™” that guides the vehicles along a pre-existing track, approximately 9′ underwater. The track works in conjunction with the cars. As the car travels along the track, it triggers a mechanical air register, which releases air from beneath the track, underneath the car. The car is collecting the air. The air in the register serves two functions. Some of it goes to the Bubble Engine, and some of it goes to replenish air in the breathing canopy.
‘Sub Sea Systems is known for what de Bie referred to as “low volume throughput” attractions like the Sea Trek diving helmets and Clear Lounge, where they can only process a limited number of guests per hour. However, in a theme park or water park setting, where there are higher quantities of guests, Aquaticar will allow Sub Sea Systems to bring an underwater experience to a high-volume park environment. The theoretical capacity for the Aquaticar system is between 400-500 riders an hour.’ — Coaster101
This under construction attraction at Fantawild Dreamland Zhengzhou in China is also worth mentionning… It is described as a part walk-through, part boat-ride and part SFX show like Disaster at Universal Studios. But not your regular boat ride… Boats here can hold up to 200 people.
‘The map above details the rides, attractions, shops and restaurants around my proposed theme park Lava Field. Here we’ll focus and detail on the three anchor E-ticket rides / shows:
The Lava Field Geothermal Plant: Roller coaster ride
Lava Field Expedition: Scenic drive-through
The Vulcan Legend: multi-media performance.
‘The Lava Field Geothermal Plant is a thrilling rollercoaster ride that forms the centre piece of the Lava Field. The ride itself is spread across the entire Lava Field. The Geothermal Power Plant structure will serve as the main entrance and the attraction facade. Behind the structure is the queueing, ride loading & unloading, and maintenance building. There is a primary show building at the top right which houses the majority of the show scenes of the ride, and a smaller secondary show building, disguised behind rock-works, is located at the centre of the park.
‘Guests will board the Deep Earth Explorer to begin their tour of the geothermal power plant. The ride vehicle has quite a few special features. Firstly, it has a very distinctive steam-punk finishing that echoes the geothermal power plant itself. The drilling head at the front can actually spin. However, to reduce the weight of the vehicle, it is not powered by a motor. Instead, it is simply connected to one of the wheel axes so that it will spin when the vehicle moves. There will be a few exterior section of the ride where pedestrian will be able to see the vehicle. As such the spinning drilling head is more of a show effects for the spectators, not for the riders on-board. Furthering that, there is on-board smoke effects when the vehicle is in motion during exterior sections. As such, when the coaster swooshes by, bystanders will see a trail of smoke being left behind the vehicle. This, in general, adds another dimension of visual kinetism and energy to the overall Lava Field area.
‘The ride itself is a hybrid of dark ride and roller coaster. The ride layout, and thus the ride story, revolves heavily around the aforementioned track arches, where the vehicle is accelerated via an inductive motor before being shot up the arched track.
‘The Vulcan Legend is a multi-media performance in a dedicated theatre. It celebrates the ancient myths and legends that surround the volcano. The theatre sits at the far side of Lava Field. From the outside, guests will only see the tip of the volcano. Only when they enter the theatre will they realise the body of the volcano is actually made up of Pele, a Hawaiian Goddess of volcano, and the lava is actually her beautiful flowing hair.
‘The theatre has a curving shape, which echoes with the flowing lava. The overhead trusses keep the theatre’s theme cohesive with the more industrial looking geothermal power plant.
‘The theatre is open-air, which is partly inspired by the Roman Tarragona. The open-air nature of the theatre also allow pyrotechnic effects during the show. The seating area forms a ‘V’ shape, with three levels of seating area on each leg. The opening on the lower right hand corner of the show building is the queueing / waiting area for the performance. I have not thought through the exact performance yet, but I imagine it to be based loosely on the Hawaiian legend of Pele.
‘The last attraction in the Lava Field is the Lava Field Expedition. It is a ride that simulates a real scientific expedition on the Lava Field. The story for this attraction is simple. You have been invited to join an expedition to a remote Lava Field where geologists have recently discovered. You goal is to collect some rock samples and do some analysis on the area to determine whether it is suitable for the development of a geothermal power plant (which, of course, ties neatly into the Lava Field Geothermal Plant ride).After a short briefing of the mission, guests will then board the L.P.V (Lava Pioneer Vehicle).
‘The L.P.V. is very much a NASA inspired vehicle. It features a wide windscreen which can afford excellent panoramas during the ride. The ride vehicle sits four people in a row, all facing forward along the windscreen. Three will be just passengers, whilst the remaining one will be the driver! Consider the Lava Field Expedition as a twist to the classic Disneyland ride, Autopia.
‘The driver will have a small degree of control over the direction of the vehicle which is confined within a path, and have some control over the speed with the pedal. Note that the driver cannot stop the vehicle due to the pacing of the ride itself. However, he can control the speed, which will in turn determine the bumpiness of the ride (faster = more thrills). Though, the speed is tuned such that, even at the fastest speed, the L.P.V can never catch up the vehicle in front to prevent collision.’ — The Blue Armchair
TRON Lightcycle Power Run Coming to Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort
‘Tron – our highest-rated attraction at Shanghai Disneyland – is coming to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida in 2020! The TRON Lightcycle Power Run attraction at Shanghai Disneyland is a coaster-style attraction where riders board a train of two-wheeled Lightcycles. It offers access into the energy, lights and excitement of TRON’s high-tech universe and is one of the most thrilling adventures at any Disney park.’ — Disney Parks Blog
Here’s what I think will be the Cedar Point 150th anniversary 2019-2020 coaster.
Amazon Drifter is a combination of immersive high-definition media, special effects and water. Currently under development, the company is in the midst of creating a layout with a potential rollout for 2019. The 12 passenger concept, themed around an Amazon River adventure, floats down a waterway in a trough. Below the boat will be a submerged conveyor belt with a motion base underneath it. Using this technology, the dark water ride will be able to bounce the boat up, roll it from side-to-side and even turn it 360 degrees. On- and off-board SFX elements such as wind, mist, scent, heat and cool air also add to the immersive experience.
Universal Studios Super Nintendo World Plans Leaked
‘The image above reflects how Super Nintendo World would look in Universal Studios Florida. From all of my personal sources, the exact footprint of the land fits exactly with what I have heard since before this project was announced. Meaning the E.T. Adventure stays, but the Animal Actors Stage, Barney and Fievel’s Playland are going away. In addition, the land that was once occupied by the former Hard Rock Cafe will be utilized where you see the Super Mario attraction in the upper right.
‘If you notice the entry for the land would fall just outside of the Central Park area by the lagoon in Universal Studios Florida. Princess Peach’s Castle would serve as the weenie to enter Super Nintendo World and you’d enter through an entry portal of sorts complete with interactive attractions featuring Pokemon and other interactive gaming areas.
‘In the upper left you have a section of the land dedicated entirely to Zelda. However, it’s the yellow building towards the top that you should pay special attention to. Hyrule Castle Attraction may be the most unique thing coming to this land. A few months ago, we broke the story of Universal filing a patent for a puzzle theater here. Along with the layout of the land came this interesting piece of concept art.
‘Zelda would be the franchise that would use this one-of-a-kind puzzle theater attraction. If you’re unfamiliar, the seats of this theater could move up and down, side to side and even pass over one another. A concept that hasn’t even come close to being done before. Plus, if I understand this correctly, each show could be different based on how the audience interacts with Link. Meaning the theater could move in different directions based on game play.
‘The only thing that was confirmed to the press at the media announcement at the groundbreaking at Universal Studios Japan is there would be a Mario Kart attraction. Not a surprise to anyone in the industry and the above concept art might seem confusing. Assuming it’s real, this would probably mean the attraction would use virtual reality to make it appear you’re racing alongside Mario, Luigi and the gang.
‘The next piece of potential concept art that was released was this piece of a Donkey Kong roller coaster. Notice how the actual track is below the show track. An arm suspends the actual coaster train above the track that riders see as they move along the course. This would allow you to achieve those cartoon like sequences in the game that a real coaster could not possibly do safely in real life. Finally, based on what I know, these images aren’t entirely correct. If my sources are right, there is a Yoshi dark ride that has entered the mix since the layout above was made.’ — Josh Young
Norway is trying to cement itself as a destination for all things Viking. Thor’s Rike (Thor’s Kingdom) in western Norway aims to not only be Norway’s largest theme park when it opens, it wants to become the “Viking capital of the world”.
The theme park which is scheduled to open in 2020 will feature an array of roller coasters and carousels, along with “infotainment” so guests can learn about the history of the Viking warriors. Visitors will be able to eat like Vikings and even barter like Vikings at shops around the park.
So far developers have revealed that the park will be broken up into several different sections, including a forest, a gigantic castle-fort, and a trip through the Norse underworld. Developers described Thor’s Rike as a “theme park in Viking costume.”
Dollywood MASSIVE CLEARING for 2019/2020?? New Roller Coaster??
‘There is an enormous clearing behind Thunderhead and Mystery Mine in Dollywood. It has got to be at least 1/4 of the size of Dollywood. As of now, we know it will be the largest expansion in the parks history and will come in 2019. Basically what they have done is leveled a preexisting mountain. The smoke you see is because they are burning all the old trees back there because the wood isn’t good enough to sell. We do not know what will become of that space as of now.’ — Coaster Studios
Holovis and S&S unveil world-first media-led rollercoaster concept
‘Media-based attraction company Holovis and thrill ride company S&S-Sansei Technologies have announced a design and patent for the world’s first Immersive Elevator MediaCoaster.
‘The Immersive Elevator MediaCoaster starts with a narrative. This will flow through a highly themed media and interactive preshow. Guests will then board what initially might look like a traditional dark ride. The ride vehicle will then enter a 360° dome. Rich media will then completely surround the guests, with no need for awkward VR headsets or 3D glasses.
‘Stuart Hetherington, CEO of Holovis said, “We have paralleled the key structure of narrative based entertainment and applied it to the physical coaster experience, something that has never been done before in this way. Coasters have long been the traditional form of physical and thrilling entertainment. However, typically the patterns of excitement peak at the highest point. This is usually towards the beginning, then drop as there is no connected narrative to continue the thrill.
‘“This scalable design extends the overall ride time. It also allows for complete customization of the guest experience in the elevator section before the guests realize they are about to drop back into the real world, thus heightening the thrill levels even more.”’ — blooloop
Mystery River re-opens as Excalibur on 7th May at Movie Park Germany
‘The attraction will be completely re-themed throughout. King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and dark creatures and fairy tale characters will populate the attraction, and the famous sword from this mythical history makes its appearance: Excalibur.
‘Visitors will be sent by wizard Merlin on a risky search for the legendary sword Excalibur. This was stolen from the knights table and must be returned to the rightful owner, King Arthur, as soon as possible. The journey is only possible by making numerous dangerous maneuvers through enchanted forests and dark caves.
‘This ride is one of the oldest and most popular in our park, so now we want to do justice to this veteran from our park’s history and give it a dignified and fresh upgrade including the new name: Excalibur – Secrets of the Dark Forest.’ — Theme Parks-EU
Animatronics get more animated
‘Garner Holt Productions, which manufactures many of the animatronic characters used in Disney’s attractions and other parks, has developed what it calls “Living Faces of History.”
‘The next-gen animatronics incorporate as many as 46 servo actuators in the face and 7 in the neck. They are capable of millions of combinations. The company had a Cockney character on display at the IAAPA expo that demonstrated remarkable expressiveness and fluidity. It could convey a variety of emotions such as wide-eyed wonder and immediately transition to disgust.
‘”We’re trying to push the limits,” says GHP’s president and founder, Garner Holt. “We want to replicate the human face as closely as possible.”‘ — USA Today
German manufacturer Maurer has created what it calls the Spike coaster, the world’s first interactive coaster. Passengers straddle the seats like a motorcycle and can control the speed of the cars by turning a throttle mounted on their handlebars.
Alterface launches Erratic® Ride, the first non-linear, mixed-media, interactive ride
‘Benoit Cornet, CEO and Founder at Alterface, announced the company’s new Erratic(R) Ride this afternoon at EAS in Berlin. The new Erratic(R) Ride utilizes trackless ride vehicles to move guests in and out of a central dispatch zone into “dead ends” where interactive experiences can occur.
‘The design takes out the element of a singular loop or linear path. This can provide an opportunity for storytellers to rethink how they tell a story in an attraction and also gives designers a chance to create “moments of enjoyment” while transferring between the scenes. Cornet explains this as ways to speed up the cars, or spin them around for additional thrill. “We believe the dark ride is all about motion, and we are breaking away from slow, linear movement,” said Cornet.
‘Cornet said the magic will be in the non-predictability of the ride. The way scenes are organized and what happens in each scene can be different from ride to ride, so what one rider experiences will be different from what their friend does in a different car.
‘Alterface is partnering with ETF to use their Multi Mover six-passenger vehicle that will be controlled by the general show control system.’ — inpark
The world’s largest indoor theme park prepares to open in Dubai
Visitors can spin in a gondola modelled on Thor’s hammer, wave to the Powerpuff girls in a colourful parade or get chased by ghouls and madmen when the world’s biggest indoor theme park opens in August 2019.
More than 20 rides and attractions at IMG Worlds of Adventure are in the final stages of testing and commissioning, with acrobats and dancers preparing for live performances since February.
The park – spread over an area equivalent to 28 football fields and high as a 10-storey building – promises hair-raising experiences such as the Haunted Hotel, whose visitors must be 15 or older to “check in”.
Harry Potter expansion (Universal Orlando)
All-Terrain Dark Ride From Dynamic Attractions
‘At first glance, the All-Terrain Dark Ride system may not seem that exciting. We already have ride systems that are trackless and self-driving cars are found on highways daily. We have seen rides like Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure have two vehicles racing side-by-side, but is there any real sense of danger since those cars are on a track with a slot in the middle? Over in Skull Island: Reign of Kong, a trackless vehicle can slowly take tight turns and even small inclines. However, that experience is with roughly 50 people. Hardly intimate and terrible sightlines if you’re in the middle or the front of that truck.
‘This new ride system from Dynamic Attractions accommodates smaller groups of six in two rows, meaning you’ve got a far more intimate experience with far better sightlines than a Kilimanjaro Safari or Skull Island vehicle could ever imagine. Most importantly, you really don’t know where this thing is going to go. Think about it. Any other ride system that is outdoors follows a clearly defined path. You know where that vehicle is headed at all times. The All-Terrain Dark Ride? You have no idea. Your vehicle could speed up and pass one ahead of your own. It could go under a waterfall. Maybe a hatch opens up in the middle of a field and all the vehicles enter a secret underground bunker!
‘The vehicles come with a fantastic onboard audio system. It also comes with sub-woofers so it has this nice deep, high-quality sound. In terms of other on-ride effects like scents or mists… we’re not gonna do that stuff,” said Walker. “The reason why is we aren’t simulating anything on this vehicle. It’s all about a real experience. So if you want to go through water and get splashed in the face, we are gonna put water there and you’re gonna get splashed in the face. We don’t have to fake anything!
‘Another interesting piece of trivia is the scope of an attraction like this is virtually unlimited. George Walker told me that this kind of system is only limited by your budget. Meaning, the distance to which these vehicles can be controlled is enormous. Imagine a Kilimanjaro Safari ride with these smaller self-guided vehicles. Granted, you couldn’t quite get that close to the animals with an open-air vehicle this low to the ground. On the other hand, could you build a Jurassic World attraction where you drive around in Jeeps dodging animatronic dinos? Yes, you absolutely could.’ — Josh Young
DOF Robotics Dark Ride Flying Theater project final tests of synchronization
Leading creator of media-based dynamic simulation attractions, Simworx, and Dutch ride manufacturer, Mondial, to launch the 360° Flying Theatre
‘The new 60-seater attraction promises to deliver a real sensation of flying as guests experience a movie on a huge domed screen, enhanced with new technologies and optional special effects. Simworx is supplying the Flying Theatre as a full turnkey solution, complete with show control, audio visual and effects hardware.
‘Simworx, known for its 4D effects cinemas and Immersive Tunnel, is an expert provider of media-based attractions worldwide, from full turnkey solutions, custom attractions, product development, manufacturing and service support, to film content and complete themed attractions. Clients can also access a vast film library with a range of subject content to suit a wide variety of venues and audiences.’ — blooloop
A Studio Ghibli Theme Park Is CONFIRMED for 2020
‘A new theme park in Japan will bring to life the worlds created by Hayao Miyazaki, the renowned animator behind films including Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke. Studio Ghibli, which aims to open the new attraction in 2022. The ambitious plans were announced by the regional government, which said the park would be built at the Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park in Nagakute city, near Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture.
‘Featuring rides and forest trails inspired by Miyazaki’s many critically acclaimed animations, the 200-hectare park will be peppered with European-style brick towers that often appear in the master animator’s films. There will also be spider and boar-shaped spirit installations evocative of Miyazaki’s work.
‘The main gate will be designed to conjure up the 19th-century structures in Howl’s Moving Castle, and there are plans to have a recreation of the antique shop from Whisper of the Heart. A Princess Mononoke Village is set to feature, as is Witch Valley, an area with Howl’s Moving Castle and Kiki’s Delivery Service-themed rides and attractions. The Dondoko Forest area is already home to the house from My Neighbor Totoro, which was built for the 2005 World’s Fair. There will also be the Big Ghibli Warehouse, filled with Studio Ghibli themed play areas, exhibitions and cinemas.
‘Projected costs for the project are yet to be disclosed.’ — parks-to-be
p.s. RIP Adam Parfrey, visionary publisher (Feral House) and singular countercultural force. ** David Ehrenstein, Awesome on the Baillie props. Yes, give Ira a shout. And obviously tell him I told you too, if you like. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Yes, I think your recent call-out to ‘Castro Street’ is what put making a Baillie post in my head. I’m onto your reviews. Everyone, Two great ways to go from Mr. Erickson today. (1) Here’s his short take on Michel Hazanavicius’ ‘Godard Mon Amour’, and here’s his lengthier read on Coralie Fargeat’s bloody and much liked film ‘Revenge’. I’ll go hunt down the Benjamin LaMar Gay pronto. Sounds way eclectic. I’m actually a big admirer of ‘Flowers of Romance’, so I’ll try to find another way in. ** Jamie, Up, up, up, J-string! It seems entirely possible that that Baillie film has been here here in some form. Super good news about the Writing Gang’s positivity on your screenplay, even on your doubted opening. Great example of how one can not always know all the tentacles of one’s strengths. And you’re re-fired up! Best news of all! Well, re: the TV show, we’re in a development deal right now, so technically ARTE could decide they don’t want to produce it. Hopefully we’ll make it through to the locked-in phase. Hard to tell on when it would be shot. We’d like to shoot it early next year, but that’ll depend on how long it takes to get the script acceptable to them. I can’t imagine there’ll be any less than six months between acceptance and going into production. There’s a lot to arrange, especially with what will presumably be a giant, pro shoot like this series will require. So it’s a wait and see so far. Really need to get a title sorted before they start suggesting titles. Zac and I have a pretty solid working title for our next film now, which I don’t want to reveal until it’s 100% certain, but it’s a good one, I think. I have been up to little apart from work, honestly. Meandering about. I’m about to check and approve the layout/look of my new and very soon to-be-published gif fiction book, which isn’t really work. A couple of friends are coming into town. Going to a concert this weekend. Until then, just finishing the TV script. And you and today in combination? I hope your Friday is like a cruise liner in a champagne bottle. Hair shearing love, Dennis. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! Well, it’s not finished yet. Our meeting with Gisele got delayed until this morning and reset on Skype because she’s away overseeing a performance of one of our theater works right now. After that we’ll make the changes she wants, and then … and then it might just be mission initially accomplished! Reading is the best. It’s really hard for me actually work in those settings too, but I find those situations good for resting my head back and letting my imagination try to write a rough draft of what my fingers will eventually enact. The great thing about the daydreaming part of writing is you don’t censor yourself or worry that you don’t know how to write down what you’re thinking. That does sound exhausting: yesterday, but that is really fascinating about the Brazilian woman. Yesterday I … hm, worked on blog posts, made plans to go to a concert, found out a couple of friends/collaborators will be in town this weekend to visit with, and otherwise I think I just smoked cigarettes and read a little and daydreamed about nonsense. How was Friday? It’s almost the weekend! ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Oh, no, that’s terrible news. Jesus. I guess there’s no sense in waiting until he’s had a restorative nap and time off? And I guess finding another partner with whom to continue YnY is a bad idea? Well, endure the loss, I guess, and try to keep your fires about the future for it that you imagined roasting and mutating because there’s surely another route that, although reconfigured, will carry your energy and ideas through. I’m sorry, my friend. I can only imagine that disappointment, and after such a triumphant re-beginning. Love to you. ** JM, Ooh, I’m going to investigate that seemingly purposeful building of purposely empty buildings. What a gorgeous idea. How’s everything going? ** Right. I geeked out on one of my beloved areas of great interest today in hopes there’s at least a scatter of others out there who get similarly charged up at the current re-upping of what theme parks can accomplish. See you tomorrow.