Being that my first park was Disneyland, dark rides are in my blood. One of my favorites was the now Defunct BEARRY TALES at Knott Berry Farm (remember that one?).
I am hoping for a comeback.
Then again, Dark rides rule at Disney with Haunted Mansion and Pirates!
Also not to nitpick, Robert, but you forgot the #1 ranked coaster on the list. Millenium Force opened in 2000.
Just makes the point stronger, though, doesn't it? :-)
In terms of a comeback for dark rides, let`s not forget The Little Mermaid, which is expected to be a full blown E ticket with lots of immersive scenes and state of the art AAs.
The issue with creating a good modern dark ride is money. If you cut corners and scrimp on the budget, the ride will suffer. Would Spiderman be Spiderman if they only spent half the money? How about Haunted Mansion or Pirates? If Disney only spent half the money on them, would they be as good? Most parks don't want to spend the money necessary to create it because they either don't have the money, or they aren't sold on the notion that the ride will draw as much as a new roller coaster. A lot of parks have this question. Why spend 50 million on a dark ride when you can spend 10 million on The Voyage?
That's not to say that dark rides shouldn't or won't be built. I would love to see some really good dark rides make their way into the seasonal parks.
Regardless, the '00s were the years of the roller coaster.
I think it would be a hit if they tapped into the spirit of the old Enchanted Voyage/Smurf ride that used to be there and do something like that with the Peanuts.
That brings up an interesting point. Because of new technologies, dark rides will never dominate the new attractions because technology allows for such a variety of new kinds of attractions, including hybrid rides, which are hard to categorize. I'm in favor of new dark rides with AAs,but I think most new attractions will be more of a hybrid, sporting various combinations of dark ride elements, motion simulator, 3D/4D technology, indoor coaster, etc.