NOTE: Due to the intense nature of the ride, there would be a loosely-enforced age restriction of 13, accompanied by a 1.4-meter height restriction.
Guests are greeted with a large sign, welcoming them into an area. It doesn’t have a specific country name as the area is based off of several Nordic countries. A huge, snowy mountain and a frozen-over lake serve as the areas backdrop.
The main area isn’t huge but it isn’t tiny; it houses Northern style restaurants, small exhibitions about the Northern Lights and culture, and several different shops. Towards the middle of the hub is a cinema, which shows “Magic of the Northern Lights 4D”. It’s a family-friendly show, focusing on the natural beauties of the area. Occasionally, foamy-bubble machines switch on, as if snow is falling.
On the other side of the area is the town hall, where the entrance to Shadows: Light Within is based. Guests can choose to go left into the main queue or right into the single-rider queue.
Whilst the single-rider queue heads straight into the mountain, the main queue sends guests round some of the villages buildings and residences to give them a feel of how quaint the area seems. Each of these areas, bar 3, are connected by a short wooded area. Queueing area 1- Museum
The first building is similar to some of the exhibitions in the main area, although this one solely focuses on the Northern Lights themselves. It features many display boards which say how they are thought to be produced, and an animatronic scientist that explains these theories briefly.Queueing area 2- House
This is a much smaller building that guests will spend no longer than ten minutes or so in. Guests are led through into a study, where a man is seen sleeping at his computer. His computer displays a word document. Eagle-eyed guests can see that it says that the lights aren’t as they seem, but he hasn’t written much else to give away the events of the ride. Queueing area 3- Foot of the Mountain
The forest is interrupted by a broken chain and barbed wire fence that guests pass through. This leads into a small area with dead grass, fallen trees and small, damaged shacks. This small area is quite misty, and attention is drawn to the huge, rocky mountain that lies ahead.Queueing area 4- The Mountain Cave
The first part of the cave is a very tight corridor that immediately forks of to the left, and down a short, curved staircase. This takes guests into the final section of the queue.
This part of the cave is a lot bigger, and can house up to 10 mins of queue. A big waterfall drips from one side of the room, and into a small pond. The queue path is raised just over the pond. Once at the front of the line, guests hand over their bags into the designated area, and they make their way into the station.Station
Guests are led up a long flight of stairs, into the station area. Around half-way through this staircase, the cave crumbles away into a forest against a night sky. Small fibre-optic lights are in the walls to give the illusion that there are stars in the vast sky. After a small corridor (invaded by tight branches), guests are batched into one of 14 rows- which are split into 7 cars, seating 3 across, totalling out at 42 riders per train. When the train is ready to dispatch, a loud organ sound is heard as the lights get progressively lighter. When the organ has climaxed, the train is dispatched, and the station is left in darkness until the train is fully out of the station and the doors have closed.Scene One- Trespassing
The train goes down a minute drop as it enters the ride area itself. Guests are left in the dark for a few seconds until the soundtrack comes on, revealing the set. There is a rolling mist that hides the track and set floor. This set bathes in UV lighting, to give the idea that you’re about to embark on an enchanting journey. The idea of this scene is to give more context as to how everything was normal, but we didn’t see the full picture.
Some animatronic animals are seen surrounding the track- some are wounded, for seemingly unknown reasons. After a short while, the train passes through a battered chain-link fence. It’s warning signs have been hastily ripped off and discarded onto the floor. The train then passes over a small bridge and through a small cave as it enters the next scene.Scene Two- Arrival
The train stops and each individual car turns around to face the set. There is a lake in front of the track, and a village in the distance (using a forced perspective illusion). The Northern Lights themselves can be seen, high in the sky. This is achieved by a Pepper’s Ghost Illusion. Eventually, the music gets more tense, and things start to go wrong.
The UV lights start to fade away as the Northern Lights disappear, accompanied by a bright flash or two. The cars start to shake and spin slightly. Water geysers blast from underneath the lake, and the village is illuminated by orange lights as if there has been an explosion. Just before the train leaves, a sillhouette of an alien spacecraft can be seen landing in the distance.Scene Three- Village Attack
The train moves quickly into a different village, only to find that it’s in a huge state of disrepair due to the invasion. Animatronic “Hunchback” creatures jump out at the audience, rising their upper claw as if it is trying to grip onto the riders. Some Hunchbacks are seen removing animatronic peoples faces via this technique. This set is lit in oranges and reds, to give the impression that theres a fire. Appropriately, there are some huge fire balls triggered in this scene.
Suddenly, the train stops as beams surrounding the vehicle fall. The track then drops horizontally as all the lights in the set turn off.Scene Four- Cave
A very dim, dark blue light shines over several dead bodies as the train is launched backwards, and round a corner. For a short while the train is in complete darkness. After a while, a smoky light is seen to the left, and the silhouette of a Hunchback is seen creeping towards the train. Without warning, a Hunchback appears above, lit in green strobes, as the train is shot out of the scene. It spits water at some unfortunate guests.Scene Five- Forest
The train leaves the cave and slows down into a forest. The track is surrounded by huge trees that tumble down as Hunchbacks climb on them, searching for humans to feed on. Some fall far away, some so close that the train narrowly dodges them.
After at least 45 seconds of this, a man can be seen in the distance, walking away. He is trying to escape the Hunchbacks; they don’t realize he is there. He trips onto a branch, causing a snapping sound. Hunchbacks then appear, getting closer and closer to him, as they growl and hiss. As one manages to get the man, the train speeds off into another mountain.Scene Six- The Nest
This is another very dark scene, allowing for peripheral vision to play tricks on the mind. A dark green lights joins a thick fog, which lights up several alien eggs. Without warning, they slowly begin to hatch and unfold. Snarling, growling noises are heard as a small claw rises from one of the eggs. It should also be noted that this scene (and the next) are hot and stuffy, due to what’s happening within the mountainous caverns.Scene Seven- Advice
The train pulls into a larger section of the cave, which isn’t as smoky but it retains the darkness. Once the train has stopped the darkness is broken by an animatronic man’s torch.
He’s very scruffy; his beanie hat is incredibly dusty; his jacket is greyed out beyond recognition. He stops and talks to the audience.
“At last, survivors. I’m sure you’ve seen… Them. The creatures. We need to fight back- to find them, to kill them all. And I saw them- what they’re doing next. They had this machine… Huge contraption. Changes landscapes. And they’re going to use it. Go and stop them- if any of us think we can make it-”
His torch switches off for no apparent reason, and the riders can’t see anything. A loud growling sound then comes from behind the train.
Another light shines onto him- or where he once was. The animatronic figure can be seen being attacked by a Hunchback. The previous, still model is on a turntable, so that when the blackout occurs the figures can be switched; the audience none the wiser.
As he muffles and screams, the track tilts to a maximum angle of 30 degrees, and crumbling noises can be heard, as if Hunchbacks are clawing at the rocks that the track is sat on. The train is released and is sent out of the mountain, into the finale.Scene Eight- Terraforming
The fields are all missing their usual snow and grass; the trees are black and crackling apart; and there is a broken mist apparent. Loud, nerve-racking noises can occasionally be heard from all sorts of different angles.
The train eventually makes its way to a dirty bridge, with its fencing broken and in tatters. Hunchbacks are then seen moving onto the bridge from underneath, in a manic fashion. As this happens, the train picks up speed, and traverses many corners as it dodges huge fireballs and the imminent threat of the Hunchbacks.
This doesn’t go on for ages, before the train stops around the main set piece; a huge alien device, shining with coloured lights and huge claws that dig into the pit it has already created. It pulses and its lights flash as it shakes violently before letting off a huge puff of smoke. A large explosion goes off at its peak as Hunchbacks are seen below, melting and dying. The organ sounds get louder and louder as the room gets brighter and brighter. Like the station, it’s gets to its brightest before leaving the room in darkness. The train then moves into the offload station.Offload and Exit
The train slowly rolls into a decrepit house. It’s clear that the Hunchbacks have been here; the floorboards are out of place, the paintings are smashed, and a dead, bloody body can be seen in the corner. Guests then take a flight of stairs downstairs, into the dining room, where they can reclaim their bags. The exit path carries on in this style, meeting a dead Hunchback or body along the way.
This corridor is actually hidden underground, so that it doesn’t obstruct views of the mountain. The music is somewhat calming, offering a strange, surreal atmosphere.
Once they have passed through this, they find themselves in a dank little basement, with leaking pipes and dusty crates. They then climb up a wooden staircase into a small house above ground, which is located near the rides Entrance building.
And that's it! I tried to include some more info about effects as well as introducing some new scenes altogether. I'd like to thank you for reading this, I'm not sure when my next project (after DBGT V2) will be out- it's going back to basics with this one...