This is a project, a movement that hopefully will build to try and improve the dark rides at Alton Towers.
It works on a simple principle: that very minor minimal-cost no-maintenance static scenery can have a hugely disproportionate effect on the overall ride experience.
One thing I've always hated about Duel is that apart from the moving effects, the ride seems very sparse. Charlie is the same, but without even the moving effects.
Let me give one extreme example of how the principle could be used really effectively.
Take the nut room on Charlie. It's almost empty except for a few over-sized nuts and squirrels and a video. On either side of the boat is just empty flat space until the walls. Now imagine if on either side of the boat there were 3 or 4 wooden crates, overflowing with empty nut shells (pistachio nuts or the like), so that surface was covered in empty shells. You could even have a Willy Wonka factory logo stamped onto them like this
Now this wouldn't set the world alight, and it definitely wouldn't make Charlie a good ride. But for the amount it would cost (I dunno, about £30 maximum? It'd be pretty easy to get nut shells from some nut maker) it would have a HUGE effect on the ride, relative to how much it cost. It would require no maintenance, and would simply be a permanent improvement. Relative to the overall park budget for a year, it'd be peanuts (excuse the pun).
Now another example with Duel on a bigger scale. I think in dark rides, every scene should be a feast for the eyes. In the very best dark rides, every room is overflowing with wonderful things for your eyes to look at. I've always thought Duel would be improved if the park gave someone £1000 and let them go crazy in shops selling old rubbish furniture and stuff. Imagine if on Duel, every tabletop and the like was shimmering with hundreds of fake gold coins. Imagine if every blank wall had a beautiful throw or drapes hanging down. Yet again, this would cost an absolutely minuscule amount relatively but would dramatically improve the ride experience and require NO maintenance.
I think it's a principle Disney really get. Look at the queue for Expedition Everest. Full of little curios and other static theming that help to create a genuine ATMOSPHERE. It's a feast for the eyes:
Going back to Duel, every blank surface that's lit up should be used. Imagine if around Electric Bill there were loads of little portraits like this
. All hung up in random places and all different sizes, would help create such a great spooky atmosphere. Again, relatively it'd be incredibly cheap and most importantly, a ONE-OFF expense! These static effects are also an important back-up for when the motion effects aren't working. At the moment Duel rests ENTIRELY on which effects are working. With more static theming, it would shift the balance slightly.
I'd like to reach out to the park, who I know read these forums. It would be absolutely fabulous if every closed season, Charlie and Duel were both assigned a small amount of money (£500 each) to add in these little improvements and every season the rides would get better and better at virtually no cost. I'd love for there to be a way for enthusiasts to be involved in the experience, possibly picking out stuff from charity or antique shops, or simply just sending in all there old nutshells!
I'd like to ask the park to seriously consider the above proposals. I'd love for people on here too to make a post saying they agree with the above ideas and principles and pledge their support to this project! Help improve Duel and make it Alton's jewel in the crown! :)