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Unknown rides outside of parks.

Chris Brown

Mr CoasterForce 2016
So this post is kinda inspired by someone on reddit who posted about the water ride in the Rainforest Cafe in Galveston TX, see below link... https://www.reddit.com/r/rollercoasters/comments/m0hcbe
So it turns out theres a pretty cool looking ride that I had no idea existed, I love stuff like this, be it a themed area or random ride where you'd least expect one and thought I'd open up a thread just to see how many of these kinda things exist.

I've got a few other examples of some stuff in the UK.

Dickens Museum boat ride. Now defunct. A pretty well themed boat ride in the old Dickens world in Kent.


Scotch Whisky Dark Ride. A themed dark ride in Edinburgh Scotland.


Coral Island Ghost Train. A ghost train that runs above the arcade in Coral Island, Blackpool.


Splash Boat ride in Public Park. I think a couple of these exist and they may well be pretty well known to UK members but pretty cool none the less.


Drop Tower in Arcade. The old Sega World in London or Trocadeo centre housed this pretty funky drop tower.




I'll post more if I find any,
 

Niles

Member
Oooo I have got two in one, I grew up going to beaulieu motor museum in Hampshire UK and they have a dark ride as well as a monorail.

The dark ride was on the history of transportation from the Stone Age to the future ( a 1990s version of the future ), it has never changed since I was born and sadly when I last went it was closed. One of the staff said they were not sure of its future.

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The monorail takes you through the museum and around the gardens with two stops one being near the manor house, really nice to go round and round on this.

I’m intrigued to know if anyone has been here as I have never heard anyone really talk about it.

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CSLKennyNI

Active Member
Been a few years but I was impressed with the Shipyard Dark Ride in Titanic Belfast, in Northern Ireland. Quite atmospheric, some nice set pieces and use of projections taking you on a quick tour through the construction of the Titanic. However the ride system was really unusual (at least I haven't seen another like it) suspended vehicles, they can rotate around, and with this like winch mechanism fall and rise up.
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Heth

Member
Oooo I have got two in one, I grew up going to beaulieu motor museum in Hampshire UK and they have a dark ride as well as a monorail.

The dark ride was on the history of transportation from the Stone Age to the future ( a 1990s version of the future ), it has never changed since I was born and sadly when I last went it was closed. One of the staff said they were not sure of its future.

View attachment 11298

The monorail takes you through the museum and around the gardens with two stops one being near the manor house, really nice to go round and round on this.

I’m intrigued to know if anyone has been here as I have never heard anyone really talk about it.

View attachment 11288
I live 45 mins from.this and I have found memories of wheels. I went recently in 2016 and I love that the display at the end about the 'future' of cars refers to the date of 1998!
 

Niles

Member
I live 45 mins from.this and I have found memories of wheels. I went recently in 2016 and I love that the display at the end about the 'future' of cars refers to the date of 1998!
I love the version of the future, when I was little I was like “wow amazing” as a teen “humm I think they might be off” and now it just makes me giggle, glad someone else has experienced the ride though ☺️

The future of transport 😅
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roomraider

Best Topic Starter
I love the version of the future, when I was little I was like “wow amazing” as a teen “humm I think they might be off” and now it just makes me giggle, glad someone else has experienced the ride though ☺️

The future of transport 😅
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I also remember this as a kid. Used to love the monorail.

I had no idea the dark ride was still there though and the fact it was never updated is kind of hilarious. I do hope they can update it a bit and reopen it.
 

Heth

Member
I also remember this as a kid. Used to love the monorail.

I had no idea the dark ride was still there though and the fact it was never updated is kind of hilarious. I do hope they can update it a bit and reopen it.
I think I actually would prefer the nostalgia of riding a hideously outdated ride! There's something enjoyable about how naff it is.
 

Niles

Member
That fact that it never changed makes it very nostalgic for me, last time I went back in 2019 it was the first time in years, while on the ride i started having flashbacks of fear and terror as a kid and could not remember why, then I got jump scared by the policeman with the light as whistle, I hate him so much😭
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Hopefully they can bring it back updated, but reading through some of the things they said feasibility seems to be a concern if it will really be worth it.
 

Heth

Member
That fact that it never changed makes it very nostalgic for me, last time I went back in 2019 it was the first time in years, while on the ride i started having flashbacks of fear and terror as a kid and could not remember why, then I got jump scared by the policeman with the light as whistle, I hate him so much😭
View attachment 11300

Hopefully they can bring it back updated, but reading through some of the things they said feasibility seems to be a concern if it will really be worth it.
The police man was the main thing I remembered too.
 

ECG

East Coast(er) General
Staff member
Administrator
Two newer ones are Wings Over Washington in Seattle, which was an amazing feat just to put this baby on the pier. It's also excellent.


And The Flyer in San Francisco. Also on a pier. Both are by Dynamic Attractions.


There was also the Fear The Walking Dead Survival attraction on Fremont Street in Las Vegas, but unfortunately it closed.


Skip to 8:45 above and 4:08 in the one below to see the dark shooter stuff.

 

Edward M

Well-Known Member
I was going to create a thread in a similar vein to this one! Though I've been missing coasters a lot lately, I'd argue I've been missing dark rides and themed environments even more. To get my dark ride fix from home I've been watching POVs of all the dark rides in the world and ranking them. Now, I understand that a list like this is misinformed at best, but it acts as something of a road map for me, as there are several I'd love to ride some day.

So far I have gotten through all the dark rides in Europe and North America. What I've been using is a site called Dark Ride Database, which has catalogued all the dark rides in said continents. According to their Facebook, they're planning to add the dark rides from Asia, Africa, and Oceania next month, so I'm hoping to complete my list once they're accessible.

Of all the dark rides I watched POVs of in Europe, I was easily most impressed with Sagotåget at Junibacken in Stockholm. I'll link said POV here. If you've ridden this, please let me know how it rides in real life. (Same goes for any other entries on this list!!!) I'm amazed by this dark ride in particular since it is the only one I've seen that transcends the art form itself. At first, it seems like a simple Horizons type dark ride, riding in front of different show scenes. Then, suddenly, you go over the set piece you are viewing. And from there, the expectations of a dark ride are continually usurped. Despite going above the city in a moment akin to Peter Pan's Flight, the dark ride instead changes the story and perspective entirely, now entering someone's bedroom followed by another perspective change to that of a small mouse. Even my absolute favorite dark rides (like Pirates of the Caribbean or Haunted Mansion) never transcend their own medium. Pirates stays a boat ride. Haunted Mansion stays an omnimover. The only other example of a dark ride transcending its medium I can think of would actually be Hollywood Studio's Tower of Terror and, even then, the transition is in the second scene, which moves right back into the previous drop ride methodology. This is unlike Sagotåget which never lands on an exact perspective.

All the scenes in Sagotåget are a painting, with dramatic lighting falling on human figures of varying sizes and positions. Though some could criticize the lack of movement, I think it exemplifies the static nature of storytelling. Words are innately static, unchanging once printed. It is our own minds which make them move. All of this is heightened by the personal nature of the ride itself: being the stories of Astrid Lindgren and even voiced by the woman herself. I have not done the ride-through with English narration, but I find myself quite content with not knowing the narration. The storytelling of the dark ride is so clear and beautifully crafted; I understood every moment. I am quite crushed that I was in Stockholm less than 2 years and had no idea of its existence. I most certainly would've found the time to ride this!


Next up is House of Horrors at Grand Pier. Having watched POVs of dozens of ghost trains and haunted houses across England and America, House of Horrors stood tall above the others because it takes a completely different approach from your average horror dark ride. Instead of car horns wailing and scary monsters popping out of corners, it is replaced with dark hallways draped in silence. Apparitions appear without rhyme or reason, existing on that odd plain of reality that a pepper's ghost is able to create. This is all amplified by the fact the dark ride takes place in a cage. Perhaps it's my own personal fears, but there's something so claustrophobic about being in a cage while slowly limping along a dark ride's track. It's like being trapped in a box that is already trapped in a box. Here's a POV.


Next up is Ultimo Minuto at Dinopolis. There's another dark ride called Viaje en el Tiempo that is also worth your time, but it lacks the philosophical intrigue of Ultimo Minuto. The ride has one of my favorite premises of any ride. It is simply vignettes featuring different prehistoric animals, all in the final minute before their mass extinction. Unlike the similarly themed Dinosaur, there's no threat to the rider. You are but a viewer, already aware of the inevitable end each living thing you pass is about to go through. Each scene does not end with a big thud or explosion but a simple fade to black. Death is not loud or exciting like in Dinosaur, it is an unchangeable fact in Ultimo Minuto. All these feelings of dread and existentialism are amplified by the ride's lack of music: simply narration and the sounds of a lively jungle. I find it a rather brave way to approach a theme park ride.


Film Musik Fahrt is an interesting dark ride in that it's mostly a celebration of a single German studio (Filmstadt Atelier), with different props and set pieces from films they've worked on, such as Neverending Story and Das Boot. Whereas most museums would just put the set pieces in a room for people to walk around, I really appreciate them going the extra mile to make it a truly unique (and trackless!) experience.


I can dig into my ranked list to find more, but I don't want to overstay my welcome (more than I already have!!!). If I find anything interesting next month in my exploration of Asian dark rides, I will try and post it!
 

cocoa

Member
^no please post more! I find this stuff endlessly fascinating and there's so much good stuff I hadn't seen before here.

as a kid I was always obsessed with trains- especially if they had a good lap around zoos or petting farms or whatever, where there was a nice tunnel and interaction with the environment etc. I still am obsessed tbh... I remember the kansas city zoo had an excellent train ride that really meandered around quite a wide loop, as well as a safari-van sort of peoplemover that took you across a bridge over a big river to the massive african section of the zoo. That place is certainly one of the underrated zoos of america.

I'm struggling to think of a good dark ride example right now but I feel like I've come across one or two in my time. Cool thread!
 

Edward M

Well-Known Member
^no please post more!
Alright, but don't say I didn't warn you ;)

I was surprised by the quality of European dark rides based on Santa Claus. My favorite one was Night Before Christmas at Sundown Adventureland, which utilized its trackless technology surprisingly well. I'm unaware just how well known this one is. I do know it's in England and a part of a larger park. But the park doesn't let any adults in without children, which makes it seemingly more elusive. I'll provide a POV if anyone's interested. Your other option is a much more typical dark ride approach with Magic Train at SantaPark. It doesn't necessarily have anything too surprising, but it has just about everything you could want in a dark ride about Santa Claus.


I'm not entirely sure how I feel about Swiss Chocolate Adventure at Swiss Museum of Transport. It is very much in the vein of the early EPCOT dark rides: that is an edutainment advertisement (in this case for Lindt truffles). Using EPCOT metaphors here, I'd say that what Hershey's Chocolate World is to Journey into Imagination, Swiss Chocolate Adventure is to Universe of Energy. And of course Cadabra is the red-headed stepchild that is Gran Fiesta Tour. The Swiss ride uses its trackless technology in a way I've never seen. It uses curved setpieces that move in order to change the direction of the vehicle without the riders explicitly noticing (if that doesn't make any sense, watch the POV you'll understand what I mean). I just wish it had a bit more life to it outside its two main show scenes. However, it does end with notably: inside a giant chocolate box with a big tube jutting out of the wall that dumps out two handfuls of Lindt chocolate truffles. If that doesn't get you salivating like Homer Simpsons, I don't know what will!


Perhaps the strangest dark ride I found (which is saying a lot) would be Vi på Saltkråkan, the Sally dark ride built in 2007 and based on the 1964 Swedish TV series of the same name. I sadly couldn't find an onride POV, but the Sally promotional video shows a good amount of footage.


The last one in Europe worth mentioning is at Madame Tussauds in London: Spirit of London. I really don't have much to say on this one. It is rather impressive considering its placement in a wax museum.


One of the first things I learned from this odd endeavor is that America's dark rides are, on average, very dull. Sure, Disney and Universal have their mega expensive options, but, outside those parks, it's slim pickings. Sally Ghost Blaster variants and generic haunted houses make up a large chunk of the entire country's dark rides. There are some notable exceptions to this rule (like the insanely creative Kaleidoscope or my bizarre, beloved Monster Mansion), but it's a lot of the same. However, there are a few notable oddities outside the parks.

One of those is the impressive Haunted Mansion at Funland Reheboth. It's easily one of the best of this ride type: with both impressive set dressing and a surprisingly long length. It is also distinctive in that it is one of the few beachside haunted houses to feature suspended cars. I especially love its outdoor sections, bringing you back to the boardwalk setting just long enough to throw you off. Oh ya and (spoilers) a skeleton tries to pee on you.


But if you want the real stuff when it comes to weird dark rides in America, you truly cannot beat a visit to Pigeon Forge. Their most infamous star is Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride, but I'd argue the true masterpiece is down the road in Gatlinburg with Earthquake the Ride. The former is for anybody who loves slow moving boat rides full of slowly melting giant animatronic dinosaurs (so I'm guessing, everyone?). The latter is for people who want to simulate a typical day on the NYC subway. On one side of the platform, an employee break area with your typical lockers, paintings, mannequin draped over a bench, bucket of acid. On the other side, a gorilla in a wooden cage with a big hole in who is trying to get out, but you keep asking why he can't get out since there's a giant hole in the cage. Once the subway gets going down the track, as usual, it has to stop because the alligators have clogged up the sewer pipes. Then the roof caves in and a bunch of rats fall down the walls, so you gotta back up into the platform again. You check your phone and you can't believe how late for work you are. Then, to make matters worse, that gorilla realized there was a giant hole in the cage and just kinda pushed it open. Now he's running about, and another roof has collapsed causing even more rats to fall down. Finally, you arrive at the station where two more completely different gorillas awkwardly stare at you from the window. You get off the subway and realize you're back at the same station.


This is all of course a big joke. The NYC subway is nothing like that. Well, except for the rats. And the roofs collapsing. And the clogged sewer pipes. And that mannequin who is the only other person in the car with you and seems to be staring directly at you and when you look around to see if anyone left behind a mannequin you look back and could just swear the mannequin has moved two seats closer to you. But that's all they got right. Well, except for that time with the Gorilla

I considered including Laffland at Sylvan Beach Amusement Park for being one of the best maintained classic pretzel dark rides. But, I'll be honest. I'm gonna skip all that and just encourage you to visit their website for the single best song made for a park I've ever heard. If you thinking, "how do I find this said song?" Well, simply visit their site and it will play on an endless loop!! Sylvan Beach Amusement Park. For real, go listen to it. I'll wait...

I want to end this run of eponymous dark rides with the most heartwarming of the bunch, and that's those homemade dark rides!! In my search for dark rides on YouTube, I happened upon a few people who built dark rides on their own. Now, without much money or resources, they may not match the average dark ride in length or special effects but they more than make up for it with pure heart and charisma.

This one is probably the most impressive, providing a longer and more fleshed out experience than you'd find at most regional parks.

This one isn't the longest or best, but the man who built this is just so in love with the art of the dark ride. He speaks on it with such passion that you can't help but love every detail of the ridethrough after he's explained it.

Here's the oddest one, and one with no concern for copyright to be sure!! It's amazing just how much this guy put into his dark ride. It's got notable show scenes that, despite having completely different atmospheres, flow together beautifully. Plus, I can't think of any other dark ride that features an impersonation of Kermit the Frog, so a 10/10 in my book.

And that is it for me!! I may expunge upon certain opinions later, but I'm dark rided out for now. If I find any more interesting dark rides in my internet deep dives, I'll let you all know.
 

gavin

Administrator
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I remember a dark ride in Blackpool in the late '80s, but I can't find anything on it. It would've been 1989 when I rode it.

There used to be a big indoor playground called Professor Peabody’s (some information online if you search it) and I'm SURE there was a short dark ride in there with an alien/UFO theme.

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Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
Staff member
Administrator
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I'm pretty sure there's an inverted dark ride in the Viking Museum in York. It's been almost 15 years since I went there, though, so I don't remember much about it.
 

Howie

Active Member
@ECG mentioned the flying theatre on Pier 39 in San Francisco, but just a few doors away on the same pier is a (so called) '7D experience'. It's basically a motion theatre combined with a 3D shooter dark ride, with a choice of different movies. We opted for the 'scariest, most intense' one, obvs (a zombie infested fairground). It was decent.
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Also have to mention the Terror Dactyl canyon swing. You definitely wouldn't call Cave of the Winds an amusement park - it's a glorified cave tour with a few extra bits and bobs to do, but one of those bits and bobs is this bad boy:

An absolute must do addition to any Colorado trip.
Here is a shaky, out of focus clip of me riding it, filmed by Mrs Howie:
 
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HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
So far I have gotten through all the dark rides in Europe and North America. What I've been using is a site called Dark Ride Database, which has catalogued all the dark rides in said continents. According to their Facebook, they're planning to add the dark rides from Asia, Africa, and Oceania next month, so I'm hoping to complete my list once they're accessible.
Great to see someone enjoying the DRdb, it's shaping up to be a great tool to add to the standard trip planning arsenal. I stumbled upon the site a few months back and offered to help out with the latest expansion, so a good chunk of the upcoming Asia data was pieced together by yours truly. Hope you have even more fun with the dark ride discoveries once it goes live!

I'm pretty sure there's an inverted dark ride in the Viking Museum in York. It's been almost 15 years since I went there, though, so I don't remember much about it.
Looks good:
 
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SilverArrow

Active Member
I have been seeking these kinds of things out more and more as there's a lot that the coaster community misses out in terms of other rides that are out there if you're also interesting in flat rides or dark rides etc. That rainforest cafe ride looks really good. Was not expecting it to have rapids boats at all when I first discovered it! Only discovered and rode the Weston-super-mare pier ghost train last year and it is definitely an unusual example! Nice to read about Beaulieu, didn't realise they had so much there!

A few I thought of have already been mentioned but I'll see what else I can think of.

There's a wildlife park in Devon with a calamity canyon style train ride. It's had a few different iterations including caveman and wild west themes.
It can be seen around 3 mins here.
The older wild west version can been seen here.

Various other zoos have monorails and other rides but not sure if they're interesting enough to mention. Chester recently closed their monorail but also recently added a cable-powered boat ride in their Islands section.

I know it's a theme park but Bellewaerde have a ridiculous train ride that goes into the Tiger and Lion enclosures. Had never seen that before. Quite unnerving when they walk past up close!
 
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