Let's celebrate Christmas with the gift of new attraction ideas

December 24, 2017, 8:13 PM · If you've not been following Ben Mills' Theme Park Advent Calendar over on our Discussion Forum, he's been offering some great fun — and thoughtful ideas — as daily treats for the past 24 days. Each day he has posted a one-line concept for a theme park attraction that might not be legally or practically feasible, but that he finds delightful nevertheless.

Ben's entries have inspired a few readers to offer suggestions of their own, including (two of my favorites): a Pirates of Caribbean-style musical dark ride based on Les Miserables, and Cinnamon Sugar flavored cotton candy with a Churro as the stick.

So, to celebrate Christmas, I offer you here a recap of Ben's advent calendar ideas... and an invitation for you to share your suggestions in the comments.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel dark ride. Ideally created with creaky, old-school track tech (Mr Toad!) and animatronics.

A next-gen motion base dark ride about trying to escape a theme park, created by Michel Gondry. (Seriously, watch the videos for Let Forever Be and The Denial Twist and tell me you're not all-in on this one.)

A Halloween Horror Nights maze based on the nightmarish children's anthology Der Struwwelpeter.

"Creative Director's commentaries" - pre-recorded insights into attractions delivered via custom headsets.

Le Visionarium (or heck, any extinct Circle-Vision attraction) as a VR experience that I can download to my Google Cardboard and watch at home. (FYI Disney, I'd pay good, real money for this one right now.)

Sugar-free Butterbeer, so I can feel slightly less guilty about my third cup of the day.

Some kind of Splatoon game using AR technology, but taking place across a whole theme park. One for USF now they've got the Nintendo licence, I guess.
(No idea how this works, but we're talking blue sky concept here, right?)

A trackless dark ride that begins in Munich's riotous Oktoberfest celebrations, before stumbling out for an inebriated adventure through the streets of the city. Perfect technology for simulating the motions of swaying, staggering and hiccuping. (I know, I know, there's no way Disney et al are going anywhere near this, no matter how good a fit it'd be for Epcot. But, umm... Mack brothers? You know where to find me.)

Race Through New York Starring Billy Eichner

An revision to Disney's grim March of the First Order where, rather than celebrate violent tyranny as it parades down the streets of a theme park, we instead get to be rebels and fight back. Possibly via rotten vegetables sold at a heavy mark-up by street vendors. If an easy dollar is the way to get them on board with this, fine with me.

Imagineering Club: In small groups, meet once a week with a working ride designer to learn about how dark rides are conceived. By the end of the semester, the group will design something that's actually created using a (very basic) ride system and pre-made scenic elements from the Disney (or whoever) workshops. The cost would undoubtedly be huge. But it feels like the demand would be, too.

A hypercoaster designed and narrated by Werner Herzog.

Given Universal's Cinematic Spectacular has played for the last time, I propose the following as a replacement... Frank Kincaid Presents DISASTER!: A Major Motion Picture Spectacular.

A high-tech - but artistically faithful - reimagining of A Trip to the Moon. Could work almost anywhere, but would be an incredible fit for Toyko DisneySea's American Waterfront.

An adults-only Sesame Street Halloween maze at SeaWorld, with genuinely scary versions of the iconic characters. So many great options for demonic interpretations here, although Zombie Elmo might be a highlight. Or The Count as a legit vampire.

Beasts of the Southern Wild "Beast It!" dining experience.

A Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote launching coaster/dark ride.

In the spirit of "I have no idea how this would work, but it'd be cool if it did..." A ride where you're trying to escape from a villain's trap. You stay in one vehicle, but that vehicle gets "passed" from one flat ride system to another, through a whole sequence. (I guess a little like a real-life Minion Mayhem?) Can't decide whether it should be all inside for the theming/storytelling possibilities, or exposed to make it a real spectator opportunity.

A Tron-style part indoor, part outdoor Color Run roller coaster.

A bit of a conventional one today, but one I'd so love to happen that I'm willing to give it a pass... A Moana ride using the Shanghai Pirates technology. It's hard to get a sense from POV videos just how different the ride system here feels compared to other Pirates rides. Rather than simply cruising downstream, it really feels like you're being manipulated by an element with a mind of its own - and so would fit beautifully with the world of Moana.

A Mary Poppins "the umbrella chooses you" experience, hosted by MP herself. Beginning with her magically gliding down the banister - and ending with the chance to purchase your own enchanted umbrella, of course. (I know, it's a pinch from Potter. But would work undeniably well.)

The Blue Bird Motel: a Back to the Future hotel, with rooms built around a replica 1955-dated Courthouse Square. Complete with Lou's Cafe, wandering characters, and a nightly re-enactment of the movie's climactic moment with Doc on the clock. And an Enchantment Under the Sea dance every Saturday, of course.

A Future World takeover helmed by David Mitchell. (Anne Washburn gets the Spaceship Earth rewrite, though.)

Elaborate secret mazes in Disney's castles, full of tricks, puzzles and set pieces. Like a mix of Shanghai's Once Upon a Time Adventure, Poseidon's Fury and an escape room. I've said Disney because the castles (or Mount Prometheus... or the Tree of Life...) make them the obvious candidate. But the Pharos Lighthouse at IoA would work. Or any company with an epic weenie willing to give it a well-funded go. Deep in the belly of the Ocean Park headland could be pretty cool.

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What new ride or attraction concept would you like to see under your Christmas tree? Assuming, of course, that you have some Giant Sequoia Christmas tree that's large enough to keep a theme park attraction under it.

Happy Christmas, everyone!

Replies (9)

December 24, 2017 at 8:55 PM · I would absolutely love to see the VOID pick up The Magic Schoolbus, and bring the books and old cartoon series to life via VR. Can you imagine riding on a bus, and look out the window and see that you're now the size of a paper clip and then the Friz has you exit the bus and go on one of several field trips with who knows what to expect to happen all around you.Two by two please. Don't forget your field trip buddy!
December 24, 2017 at 9:10 PM · A coaster in the style of Shanghai's 'Tron',

A dueling coaster, themed to Batman v Superman. Batman's coaster is dark, and more close to the ground, while the Superman coaster goes speeding through the sky.

A Matrix shooting ride, where you test the matrix by shooting Agent Smiths and glitches

December 24, 2017 at 9:35 PM · The Moana dark ride idea came into my head as soon as I saw the movie. Some of my ideas include a dark ride for Busch Gardens Tampa (it's the only major park in FL without one), some HHN houses based on 70s and 80s cult classic films (Don't Go In The House, Reanimator, Suspiria, etc.), a plussed/back-to-the-drawing-board revival of Hard Rock Park in either Vegas or Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, more attractions at Universal that heavily rely on practical effects, a Coco dark ride to replace Gran Fiesta Tour, and a proper replacement for BGT's Gwazi (whether it be a launched wing coaster, dark ride, or literally ANYTHING else).
December 25, 2017 at 6:34 AM · it seems obvious to me that a halloween horor nights maze for simpsons treehouse of horror should be a thing.
December 25, 2017 at 7:53 AM · Robert Niles, what attractions and themed rides would you like to see at Disneyland and Disney World?
December 25, 2017 at 7:54 AM · Robert Niles, what type of attraction and themed rides would you like to see at Disneyland and Disney World?
December 25, 2017 at 4:21 PM · Armchair imagineering is so boring.
December 26, 2017 at 7:31 AM · >>>A Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote launching coaster/dark ride.

I really like this as a pair of attractions. A launching coaster can be the road runner, interacting with a Dark-ride Wyle-E-Coyote. The Coyote ride shows the Coyote building a road runner trap, then the rides interact at the trap, the trap fails, and road runner runs off/launches into some coaster elements. Repeat 2 or 3 more times.

December 27, 2017 at 3:29 PM · These are all great ideas. I'm spent, creatively, from being a Christmas Elf, so this was fun to read!

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