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What is your favourite use of special effects on an attraction?

Edward M

Strata Poster
Expedition Everest's Yeti the year it opened back when it worked the way it was originally intended to was to this day the most incredible special effect I've seen.
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On the topic though, I still think that the pepper's ghost effect in the Haunted Mansion ballroom is right up there as one of my absolute favorites. Its simplicity is what makes it such an effective effect.

Of course, Tokyo Disneysea is truly the king of special effects. I think @nadroJ really nailed most of them, but I thought I'd add a few. One that is very simple but never failed to give me chills was the rain effect in Sinbad's Storybook Voyage. As you go from the first room into the second room and are beginning your "journey," there is a gust of wind and sprinkling of rain that is sent onto the riders. It's so simple, but it always put me right into the world they were trying to create. The other is way more obvious: that absolutely enormous Lava Monster in Journey to the Center of the Earth. Cause, well, it was so big!
 

Gazza

Giga Poster

On rise of resistance where you are spotted by the storm troopers, it looks hyper realistic how they have the laser shots actually flying through the air and burning holes in the walls. A triumph of perfect timing.
 

ChristianPalsson

Mega Poster
I gotta say Talocan at Phantasialand has incredible special effects. Especially if you manage to get a night ride. It's not any individual effect that is especially cool but the whole show. You truly get immersed in the ancient ritual that is going on. It's also a beauty to watch! Usually, there are more people watching this ride then there are people riding it.
 

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
On the topic though, I still think that the pepper's ghost effect in the Haunted Mansion ballroom is right up there as one of my absolute favorites. Its simplicity is what makes it such an effective effect.
Oh, this very much. It's definitely up there with the greatest of them, and it's even more cool when you know how it's done.

Another one from Disney I forgot to mention is at Flight of Passage. When you're seated and ready to go, the room you're in goes black, and you really don't notice the whole wall in front of you sliding away. I mean, "moving something when the lights are off" is hardly an advanced effect, but when you're seated facing a wall at one moment and your vision is full of little blue lights in the next, it's hard not to be a little awed.

Speaking of Pandora, the way they've made those floating mountains has to deserve a shout-out too. No magic, just clever structural engineering, which can be pretty close at times. They've achieved that floating look quite well, in my eyes. When you're there it's not easy to notice the arch, and the structural members are very well disguised among the roots.
 

Howie

Giga Poster
Ok, here's a weird one for you: Whilst I still maintain that Derren Brown's Ghost Train is the worst theme park attraction in history, that new bit they added in year 2 for Rise of the Demon was pretty cool. You know, the surprise bit right at the end.
Despite my complete indifference to what had just come before it, I must admit that the demon scared the crap out of me the first time. Standing right next to it, I was. Bastard thing!
 

Heth

Mega Poster
Ok, here's a weird one for you: Whilst I still maintain that Derren Brown's Ghost Train is the worst theme park attraction in history, that new bit they added in year 2 for Rise of the Demon was pretty cool. You know, the surprise bit right at the end.
Despite my complete indifference to what had just come before it, I must admit that the demon scared the crap out of me the first time. Standing right next to it, I was. Bastard thing!


Of course even that was undone in 2019 when it was replaced by a man in a black shirt doing the same thing. It really is quite rubbish.
 

toofpikk

Mega Poster
I think you guys have just caught something here actually. DBGT has some very cool effects. I remember my first time in the room and being taken back by the floating train carriage. Even if the following few minutes were a bit weird, that element is still genuinely something pretty cool and impressive they managed to pull off.

And it's a conversation I've had with a few others before, but when you get off the train for the live action bit, and you get back on *a different train*, this may well be the most poorly used amazing stunt in a theme park ride i have experienced. You get on a different train. And end up back in the same end spot. I'd ridden the damn thing like 3 times before a fellow nerd pointed this out to me and I was really there for a few seconds like... huh? what? How didnt i notice that before? Such a cool ride design, and probably one of the biggest missed opportunities ive ever witnessed on a ride.
 

Hyde

Matt SR
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team

On rise of resistance where you are spotted by the storm troopers, it looks hyper realistic how they have the laser shots actually flying through the air and burning holes in the walls. A triumph of perfect timing.
I was thinking about raising this scene too, as this is the first of a few times where ride vehicles diverge paths; so there's a special effect element of logistically dividing the two-pair vehicles, which use two different elevators but have a similar animatronic/story-telling experience. Quite brilliant planning; even on how they rotate the ride vehicles through the ride, using the empty train coming from the exit station headed to the entrance station as "filler" in the ride and storytelling.

Ahhh, I basically went super deep into Rise of the Resistance after riding it to pick all the tricks and effects apart earlier this year. :p
 

chainedbanana

Mega Poster
great topic

One that I'm surprised no-one has mentioned (that I've noticed) is the transformation of Captain Jack from Skeleton to flesh-and-blood (animatronic) pirate on Shanghais POTC.



Other votes go to:-

The 'Mist room' in the Flying dutchmen at Efteling

The Bubbling Portholes on 20,000 leagues under the sea at Tokyo Disneysea

- the 'bubbling lava' in the craters of Neverland on Paris's Pirates of the Caribbean (vibrating polystyrene bean-bag balls)

The wand-activated shop windows of hogshead and Diagon Alley @ Universal & IOA.

Another shout out to the many rides that use Smell-pods, scent is such an unlooked but important effect in creating immersion
 

Dar

Hyper Poster
It's not really a special effect per se, but the kitchen trommel in Hotel Tartüff is the only that's genuinely made me feel ill!

 

UP87

Mega Poster
That final scene on Vliegende Hollander is just RIDICULOUS.
I ADORE IT*


*after that point the coaster sucks ass.
Good to hear it mentioned. I loved it the first time I saw it. Last time I rode it wasn't foggy and just felt cheap and empty... But I'm pretty sure that was just a defect or something.
 

Serena

Miss CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
Oh come on, the best special effect was obviously the TERRIFYING GIANT DUCK on The Flume at Alton Towers. So large. So noisy. So good, it had to be ripped out and replaced with firewood :( RIP Log Flume Duck. Gone too soon. You're quacking at full volume in heaven, now.

Anyway! I also love the moving staircase in the preshow for Symbolica at Efteling. Makes me all emotional, that does. It's just so magical.

Honourable mention to the fake station in Revenge of the Mummy where the whole thing catches on fire. Incredible.

And shout out to @Howie for making me relive the trauma of The Clinic ?
 

cocoa

Mega Poster
I'm not sure this is exactly in the spirit of the topic, but I'm amazed at the womping willow branch in HP:forbidden journey every time. I swear it swings down close enough to really have womped you!

More in line, I think the elevators in journey at disneysea are very simple but extremely effective. Even to a jaded adult who knows all about theme parks and how rides work, I'm still taken in by the storytelling of that feature.
 
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