UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
abigsmurf
TT Member
TT Member
Topic Author
Posts: 418
Joined: July 2012

Does the UK ignore dark rides too much?

Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:39 pm

The UK has had, and is getting, some great coasters recently but I've noticed that we are literally decades behind other countries when it comes to dark rides.

Thinking about what's been built in recent history, we've had Hex (a very well done ride but an old concept), the atlantis ride at legoland, Chocolate factory and a few revamps of existing dark rides (largely to add guns to cars).

Meanwhile international parks have rides that use the Spider-man tech, Disney's trackless tech like in Winnie the Pooh and Ratatouille, not to mention cool hybrid coasters like The Mummy and Scooby Doo's spookcoaster and The Flying Dutchman.

Blackpool Pleasure beach remains one of the best places for dark rides and Wallace and Gromit should be a great addition (even if it doesn't look to be too technologically advanced) but most other parks don't give it anywhere near enough attention. Thorpe Park in particular has been crying out for one ever since their two dark rides burnt down.

They're often highish capacity,  they're great for rainy days and they're rides that everyone in a family can usually enjoy. So why has there been so little investment in them compared to coasters?
 
User avatar
sweedish2009
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 237
Joined: August 2009
Location: maidstone, kent
Contact:

Re: Does the UK ignore dark rides too much?

Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:33 pm

I must admit your not the only one who thinks this. Unfortunately when it comes down to it, money is the main reason.

If you look at the target audience for somewhere like Thorpe Park, they only want to see big thrill rides being built. I just can't ever see any type of haunted house/dark thrill ride being built. It would cost millions to get it right and Merlin won't invest in something like it. Re-rideability in this country on dark rides is extremely low, compared to our American counterparts.

The Haunted Mansion has been at Magic Kingdom since the 70's and every time I've been to that park it has a solid 15-25 minute queue. Duel/Haunted House? It's been walk on for the past 20 years.

What don't this country do right? A lot of its down to investment on dark rides, Charlie and Chocolate Factory is awful. Cheap tacky theming, very boring concept and the finale in the simulator lift was fun, for the first 10 seconds I rode it.

I'd love nothing better than Transformers, Revenge of the Mummy or Harry Potter in this country. However, I don't see it happening, not for a long long time.

Which is a shame because 90% of the time the weathers pony!
Now's not the time for fear. That comes later.

Follow me on Twitter- https://twitter.com/one_hung_low
 
User avatar
MattsDesigns
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 701
Joined: March 2012
Location: Somerset
Contact:

Re: Does the UK ignore dark rides too much?

Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:06 pm

Yes. We used to have 3 amazing-for-their-budget dark rides but over the years they've not really been in the hands of anyone who truly cares about them.

I love dark rides because of these 3 dark rides we had (Haunted House at AT, Terror Tomb/Fifth Dimesnion & The Bubble Works)
They are(were) like automated theatre.
I love all the different colour lighting, I love the smoke, I love the drama, I love the robotics, I love the UV, I love the illusions, I love the sets and I think the atmosphere created between these things is incredible.

I feel like the dark ride is an important part of a theme park. If you just have thrill rides its kind of 2 dimensional but a dark ride really increase the palette of experience. I don't mind whether its a scary or family dark ride, I just love to have them because they add so much colour to your experience. I don't understand how people *don't* love to get in that robust car and go into the dark and see all the stuff glowing different colours.
Image
Have a look at my space themed dark ride concept:
http://mattsdesigns.webs.com/space.html
All of my Themepark ideas, here & on the website are free to use by anyone.
 
Dara
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 1147
Joined: June 2003

Re: Does the UK ignore dark rides too much?

Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:55 am

To be honest I think Merlin are pretty short sighted with their attitude towards dark rides. If Towers or Thorpe were to install a ride as well themed as Vallhala, it could really pay off. Vallhala is now in its 13th season and, even though it costs alot to run, the public love it and I include teenage and young adult thrill seekers in that.

In the UK, I think Drayton Manor's dark rides are often overlooked. They aren't up to international standards but rides like Pirate Adventure are pretty decent but sadly aren't what Drayton Manor is famous for, probably why so many other UK parks are sceptical about installing them  :(
 
abigsmurf
TT Member
TT Member
Topic Author
Posts: 418
Joined: July 2012

Re: Does the UK ignore dark rides too much?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:34 am

I enjoyed the Pirate ride at Drayton Manor. They do however lose points for having quite possibly the worst ghost train I've ever been on (not sure if it's still there).

The thing is, a good dark ride can have a massive boost to a park. I'd wager more people come to islands of adventure for Harry Potter and Spider-man than Hulk coaster and Duelling Dragons for example.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 123 guests