Theme Park Apprentice 7: Challenge 2

Edited: July 19, 2015, 10:30 PM

Welcome to Challenge 2 of Theme Park Apprentice 7. Before we get to the challenge, here are the current standings:

1st: Juan Hamilton - 26.7 points
2nd: Douglas Hindley - 22.2 points
3rd: Keith Schneider - 21.1 points
4th: Karina Bhattacharya - 18.9 points
5th: Tyler Harris - 16.7 points
6th: Jeff Elliott - 13.3 points
7th: Andy Teoh - 12.2 points
8th: DPCC inc. - 11.1 points
9th: Brett Angwin - 7.8 points

Now, here is your challenge...

Challenge 2: Cedar Fair’s New Direction

The Challenge

Long known for thrill rides, Cedar Fair has recently installed dark ride attractions at Canada’s Wonderland (Wonder Mountain’s Guardian) and Knott’s Berry Farm (Voyage to the Iron Reef). After the success of these two attractions, Cedar Fair has made the decision to go ahead and plan more dark rides for their remaining parks. Due to your previous success, you have been hired as a consultant for the project and have been asked to pitch a concept attraction for one of Cedar Fair’s parks (excluding Canada’s Wonderland and Knott’s Berry Farm). Cedar Fair requests an attraction that:

-Utilizes a commercially available ride system, either a roller coaster system or dark ride system
-Does not require the purchase of IP and is instead themed to fit into the selected park
-May contain thrill elements, but is not entirely focused on them
-May or may not contain interactive elements
-Does not have a large number of complex animatronics to keep the budget reasonable

The Proposal

Your proposal for this challenge should be 3-5 pages (not including pictures) and should include:

-The name, type, and theme of your attraction
-The location of your attraction, both the park and the themed area
-A description of the queue and station area for your attraction
-A complete description of the ride experience, including all significant elements of each scene
-Anything else you feel will benefit your proposal

The Advice

-If you choose to use complex animatronics, keep it to one or two figures. You may use a large number of simple animatronics, however. If you're not sure which it is, a simple animatronic has only a couple points of motion and moves on a loop while a complex animatronic is semi-lifelike and is typically triggered as ride vehicles approach.
-If you incorporate thrill elements, keep them limited. For example, a drop track or short roller coaster section (10-20 seconds) would be fine, but an attraction with a few dark ride scenes separated by lengthy roller coaster elements would not.
-Your attraction should be family friendly. Something designed exclusively to scare riders (such as a ride-through Halloween Haunt maze) would not be the best option for this challenge. If in doubt, ask yourself if you would take an average 6/7 year old child on the ride. If the answer is no, you may want to rethink it.
-Matt Ouimet has stated that Cedar Fair wishes to develop attractions that delve into the mythology of their parks. While this is not the required direction for this challenge, it may be a good starting point.
-If you need inspiration, take a look at the Calico Mine Ride, Timber Mountain Log Ride, and Voyage to the Iron Reef, all located at Knott’s Berry Farm.

The Deadline

All proposals must be submitted by midnight on Saturday, July 25th.

Replies (33)

July 19, 2015, 8:15 PM

"Your attraction should be family friendly. Something designed to scare riders would probably not be the best option for this challenge."

So the Haunted Mansion would not be a good idea? Guardian and Voyage to Iron Reef have a few scary moments/creatures.

Edited: July 19, 2015, 8:53 PM

Keith, something like Haunted Mansion would be fine. What we are trying to avoid are rides with themes similar to the Halloween Haunt mazes. Your ride can have scary moments, but it should not be exclusively focused on monsters popping out at riders or on strong violence/gore. I have edited the initial post to clarify this point.

Edited: July 19, 2015, 11:37 PM

What sort of mythology is there in the Cedar Fair parks? I'd like to take a look at material/characters/stories available but am uncertain about where to find them or what there is. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

July 19, 2015, 11:54 PM

Andy, I have a feeling that term refers to stories fabricated based on real events at the parks. For example, the story behind Voyage to the Iron Reef is that during construction of the Boardwalk Pier the crew disturbed an underwater reef of defunct attractions that was inhabited by mechanical sea creatures. The creatures have awoken and under the command of the Kraken Queen they are attacking the park in revenge. A sailor who was in the waters near the park was attacked by these creatures, and as nobody would believe his tale he has enlisted guests to help save the park.

If you are going the mythology route, I would suggest you do some research on the history of your selected park and create something that fits with a notable event. For example, you could come up with something relating to the mountain housing Volcano, The Blast Coaster at Kings Dominion, or you could play off The Beast and Son of Beast at Kings Island. The older Cedar Fair parks, such as Cedar Point and Dorney Park, have a ton of history behind them that you could draw an idea from. You are free to create whatever characters and stories you like, just make sure that they are tied to the park and fit with the theme.

July 20, 2015, 1:55 AM

Got it AJ. So Matt Ouimet just really wants to create stories that play off of the history of the parks. Interesting idea. Thanks for the help!

July 20, 2015, 4:54 AM

Is it okay to use a boat ride system like Pirates of the Caribbean?

July 20, 2015, 10:38 AM

Yes, a flume system is fine. The ride systems that should be avoided are proprietary systems such as robotic arms (Forbidden Journey) and EMVs (Indiana Jones Adventure). If you can find it outside of Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld/Busch Gardens, it is fine to use the system in this challenge.

July 20, 2015, 9:16 PM

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So the story goes, construction crews at California’s Great America in Santa Clara were doing routine digging when they discovered something amazing buried underneath the park: The richest deposit of dinosaur fossils in North American history! Reactions were varied. Cedar Fair wanted to install another Dinosaurs Alive exhibit. Paleontologists from nearby Stanford suggested research. But the winning proposal came from a brash new Silicon Valley startup.

Enter Chrono-Safari, Ltd., the brainchild of entrepreneur Ray de Camp, a leader in the emerging field of time travel technology! With his patented wormhole generator, de Camp has made time travel accessible to tourists. Great America lies atop an ancient dino-wonderland, now opened to park guests who’ve always yearned for the thrill of hunting their very own dinosaur. And despite warnings from scientists at the Bradbury Institute that such reckless activities might threaten the space-time continuum, safaris continue to depart daily.

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Chrono-Safari: T-Rex Trek is a brand-new interactive 3D dark ride, and the latest “evolution” in Cedar Fair’s Amusement Dark initiative . It repurposes the Action FX Theater in All American Corners, the park’s rugged wilderness area. T-Rex Trek is an experience for the entire family. As such, there is no height requirement, though parents are to accompany young children. Fast Lane queueing is available.

Prospective chrononauts nearing the former Theater building find that de Camp has converted it to his Chrono-Safari Headquarters. The new façade suggests a turn-of-the-century natural history museum. Pathways before this edifice encompass the fossil digs, with dusty tarps overhead providing overflow queue space. Exposed rockwork contains partially-unearthed dinosaur remains – bones, fossils, petrified footprints. A sand pit allows children to help scientists with the dig.


A grand staircase leads to the rich mahogany museum hall. Furnishings suggest the luxurious golden age of paleontology, even while Apple-era inventions intrude and betray the truth of Chrono-Safari’s enterprise.

Television screens throughout help to establish the premise, done in the style of a cheesy corporate video hosted by Ray de Camp himself. De Camp talks up the adventure which awaits, as guests are about to hurtle backwards through time. To quell concerns about the ethics and safety of dinosaur hunting, de Camp demonstrates his non-lethal tranquilizer plasma weapon – guests will sedate dinosaurs, but not destroy them, minimizing damage to the space-time continuum. (Of course, Chrono-Safari is more sinister than de Camp lets on, as sharped-eyed visitors will note by the mounted triceratops head over his mantel, and other evidence.)

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The queue now reaches the loading area, where technology completely takes over. Ride vehicles resemble safari jeeps in classic camouflage, a stark contrast to the high-tech surroundings. One final precaution is made concerning higher UV levels in Earth’s past, which is pretense enough for “protective” 3D glasses.

Vehicles and Tech

Jeeps seat two rows of four, with the rear row raised to allow unobstructed sightlines. Each seat includes a phased laser-sight firearm and score readout. Vehicles have the ability to spin, and include a limited-range motion platform. Ride movement is minimal, which avoids the need for a height requirement; the thrills come from the visuals. Cars of eight depart every 20 seconds, yielding an hourly capacity of 1440 – not bad for a regional park.

(Triotech, Cedar Fair’s go-to dark ride manufacturer, oversees the attraction. The jeeps are by Oceaneering’s Advanced Technologies, fresh off Six Flags’ Battle for Metropolis.)

Per CEO Matt Ouimet’s push to continually improve technology, T-Rex Trek advances the shooter dark ride with better integrated 3D screens and physical set dressing – the latter a specialty of Garner Holt. Rather than a sparse movie theater, guests shall careen through a lush, fully-realized dinosaur habitat.

The 3D element moves forward by looking backward – to pepper’s ghost. Glass walls reflect dinosaur projections, which appear fully integrated with the physical jungle. Dimensional Studio’s Musion Eyeliner system has perfected this “hologram” technique, which yields a lifelike, solid-seeming projection. Recent applications include Tupac’s ghost at Coachella, and the preshow to Universal Studios Hollywood’s Fast and Furious Supercharged. Cedar Fair is excited bring Musion to full 3D interactivity!

Ride Experience

Jeeps leave the loading dock for the “Timeport” laboratory. Imagine a mad scientist’s version of a particle accelerator. (Garner Holt’s team has added some Easter eggs to Knott’s dearly departed Kingdom of the Dinosaurs as well as Dinosaurs Alive throughout the attraction.) De Camp’s voice crackles in on the jeep’s radio: “The wormhole is set to the late Cretaceous. Chrononauts, prepare your tranquilizer rifles!”

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A swirling vortex funnels out from the lab. The effect is similar to the old spinning tunnels on Universal’s tram tour, refined with Musion technology. Jeeps travel back in time; they shake while winds buffet guests.

The sweltering primeval swamp buzzes with gnats. The air is thick and humid – throughout, various 4D effects immerse guests. Jeeps round a craggy turn to happen upon the first interactive set piece. The moment is staggering, a panoramic view of brachiosaurs and ankylosaurs in a lagoon.

“Let the hunt commence!” Plasma blasts from each chrononaut’s firearm are color-coded, for ease in gameplay. Points are tallied. Felled dinosaurs merely sleep, tranquilized.

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From here on, the jeep ricochets spinning through the primordial realm, encountering an succession of prehistoric creatures. The animals continually sgrow more aggressive, perhaps upset by the time travelers’ presence…

Triceratopses charge the jeep. Their horns throw it asunder.

Pteranodons bombard guests from above.

Jeeps seek shelter in a glen, which proves to be a nest filled with eggs. A pack of egg-snatching velociraptors descends.

This series of encounters crescendos as a set of practical tree trunks uproots. Revealed behind is Tyrannosaurus Rex itself! The great beast bellows; water spritzes guests’ faces. T-Rex pursues the jeep at length, along an extended curved glass screen, chrononauts’ tranq blasts barely stunning this monster.

Players battle as the radio again crackles: “Quickly, team! T-Rex cannot follow us through the wormhole!” The jeep spins and reverses from the T-Rex, backwards through a vortex and forwards through time.

“Congratulations, chrononauts, on a successful dinosaur safari!” Back in the Chrono-Safari labs, screens list players’ scores. All would seem over, until –

The scoreboard wall rips open! Horrible ultra-raptors lunge out, the product of 65 million years more of dinosaur evolution! The chase resumes.

“How could this have happened?” ponders de Camp. “Some sort of butterfly effect, or Chaos Theory? No matter, time is changed - forever!”

Jeeps flee from evolved dinosaurs in a laboratory setting gone awry. They even pass through a scene resembling the queue, where a deranged variation on the preshow video plays out with hadrosaurs.

“Our world is lost. You’ve got to get out of the building!”

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Doors burst open, and the jeep emerges outdoors to an actual overlook of California’s Great America. As a climax, the full power of the Musion system is unleashed: the projections appear as though they are in the park itself! Pterosaurs circle the roller coasters. Into the foreground lumbers Ultra-Rex, Tyrannosaur’s evolved relative, for the final showdown.

Finally de Camp comes in: “I’ve done it! I’ve located a wormhole back to our original timeline. Quick, go!”

One final time the jeep hurtles through space and time, until at last it settles on the actual scoreboard, and the loading bay beyond. The ride ends with de Camp’s final message: “It’s our world, alright, just a few minutes later. And nothing has changed!”

The unload area leads to a store, the “Cretaceous Oasis.”


Inexpensive screen technology allows great flexibility. Though the jungle décor is set, Chrono-Safari can easily transport chrononauts to new time periods full of new beasts on a seasonal basis. With the flip of a switch, jeeps now face a Pliocene full of sabre-tooth tigers, or a Permian swarming with car-sized insects! For Halloween events, guests battle Eldritch Abominations in a Lovecraftian nightmare, even while families during the day enjoy our regular Mesozoic romp.

“Chrono-Safari, Ltd.: The Road to the Future Lies in Our Past”

Edited: July 23, 2015, 12:26 PM

I'm starting to understand that the connection between shooter type rides and actual gunplay can be troublesome for theme parks. What suggestions do you have to downplay the relationship between the two? I've heard of "freeze rays" and tranquilizer guns as possible solutions.

July 23, 2015, 12:57 PM

Im not sure we can really give advice here keith. You have to design your attraction your way. We can help you with rules interpretation, but how you meet the challeges is up to you.

July 23, 2015, 2:26 PM

Keith, the only thing I can suggest is to do some research on existing shooting dark rides to see how parks have addressed this problem. Parks typically call the devices "blasters" and make sure that they don't resemble real guns, but you'll have to decide how best to solve the problem for your specific attraction.

July 23, 2015, 3:40 PM

Keith, it might be silly for me to offer a suggestion, having already posted, but it suddenly occurs that I'd love to see a firefighting-themed shooter with fire hoses. I used to be a firefighter, and I'm kicking myself right now that I went something else.

July 23, 2015, 7:53 PM

Is it okay to assume that "either a roller coaster system or dark ride system" means that it would be okay to take a typically outdoor ride, and put it indoors with a theme and still be within the rules?

Edited: July 23, 2015, 8:08 PM

Yes, that would be fine. As long as it runs on a track (or at least follows a flat rides) and is not exclusive to a specific park/chain it is acceptable for this challenge.

Edited: July 23, 2015, 9:10 PM

So something like this is not allowed...? For reasons of it being a stationary ride? Of course the IP is not allowed...

July 23, 2015, 10:09 PM

That is correct, Jeff. Tomb Raider (or a similar attraction) would be classified as an indoor flat ride, not a dark ride.

Edited: July 24, 2015, 7:55 AM

Lost Worlds in Time

Dorney Park, Allentown, PA

Dorney Park, one of the best family amusement parks in America with a distinguished 130 year history, had lost two of its most treasured and iconic dark rides due to age, fire, and disrepair. Pirates Cove: Barrels O' Blood and Journey to the Center of the Earth were long buried in its distant past. Recently, though, Dorney Park decided to look at its past as it built towards its future. In doing so, Pirates Cove: Barrels O' Blood and Journey to the Center of the Earth were "dug up", reimagined, and brought back to life in SPECTACULAR fashion. Billed together as a Double Feature, Cedar Fair would like to announce the newest and greatest dark ride in Dorney Park's history, THE CREATURE DOUBLE FEATURE! Lost Worlds in Time.


Guests will travel back in time and be amazed by the swashbuckling adventures of Pirates Cove: Barrels O' Blood, as they come face-to-face with ghost ships, skeleton crews, lost treasures, and Sea Monsters of the Deep. Then they will explore the hidden caves and strange, exotic caverns in Journey to the Center of the Earth, where burrowed deep within the Earth from a fiery volcano comes the Creature from Hell! Guests will experience the thrill of both adventures on one ride, THE CREATURE DOUBLE FEATURE! Lost Worlds in Time.

At the end of the entrance plaza, in a repurposed and expanded former video game arcade (next to the Wave Swinger), THE CREATURE DOUBLE FEATURE! Lost Worlds in Time will highlight an all new area at Dorney Park that will celebrate the nostalgic "good ol' days" of years past. Guests can meet Alfundo the Clown, a mascot from Dorney Park's past, back again to entertain all of his long time guests. For souvenirs, guests can shop at the Whacky Shack, once a walk through attraction at the park now turned into a gift shop. And when it's time for a cool treat, guests can head into The Iceberg, another former attraction from Dorney Park's past that will be reimagined as an ice cream parlor housed within a faux iceberg adorned with curious penguins and polar bears. At the center of it all will be THE CREATURE DOUBLE FEATURE! Lost Worlds in Time, a 4D interactive dark ride that will bridge the gap between now and then and will surely excite and please the young and old.

The queue will feature elaborate posters and HD videos promoting and detailing the adventures guests will experience on the ride. The art and promotions for THE CREATURE DOUBLE FEATURE! Lost Worlds in Time will be tongue-in-cheek. The set up and story of the ride will have a B movie premise but the delivery and execution will be elaborate and high-tech. An instructional video will be played intermittently to explain the use of the blasters, the functionality of the time portals, and to offer a warning, "Do not allow anyone or anything through the time portals except for yourselves. Inherent danger will follow if you do." At the ride's load platform, a hand-painted mural highlighting the adventures will meld the two features together into one grand spectacle with Pirates Cove: Barrels O' Blood on the right, where guests will first enter the ride, and with the Journey to the Center of the Earth on the left, where guests will exit from the ride.

Ride System
Guests will board four person, track based ride vehicles seated in one row across. Each guest will be equipped with an interactive blaster with their score displayed on the console in front of them. Two ride vehicles will depart from the load platform together and move throughout the ride in tandem. The ride vehicles will have the ability to turn 360-degrees along the ride track towards one of the twelve high-definition 3D projection screens throughout the show building. The movement of the ride vehicles will be limited and will not require a height restriction. Many practical sets throughout the ride will also help create the setting of the scenes.

The Ride
Guests will pass through the first time portal (simulated with special lighting effects) and will immediately be immersed in 4D (3D visuals accompanied by the coordinated motion of the ride vehicles and the use of special effects) as they are thrust into the first scenes of Pirates Cove: Barrels O' Blood when a high seas battle erupts against a heavily armed schooner flying the Jolly Roger as it plunders a shipping vessel. Cannon fire and gun smoke (smoke effects) fills the air. Guests return fire and score points as they batter the hull, masts, and various other targets of the pirate ship. The ride vehicles advance along the track to the next scene and onto the deck of the crippled pirate ship as it begins to take on water. In this scene, the guests encounter the crew and discover that they are a motley band of Ghost Pirates and haunted skeletons dressed in pirate robes with guns at the ready and swords drawn. The battle continues at close range between the pirate crew and the guests. In the background of the scene, the plundered vessel from before begins to rip apart and eventually disappears beneath the waves, as a hideous sea monster with large tentacles enters the scene. As guests blast the apparitions and continue to score points, extra points can be earned when coins of gold, silver, and bronze left behind by the crew are collected. Coins are collected when guests target them with their blasters. As the ride proceeds, the pirate ship suddenly capsizes and sinks directly to the bottom of the ocean and in the process brings the ride vehicles down with it. Many odd and rather threatening sea creatures begin to attack the guests as they continue to blast the various targets to earn points. The underwater scene of the ocean floor is strewn with countless shipwrecks and lost treasures that guests can blast to earn even more points. Then, out from of one the shipwrecks appears the Kraken, aggressive and determined to grapple the ride vehicles with its huge tentacles. After a fierce and focused attack by the guests, the impaired Kraken disappears as the ride vehicles move toward the next time portal.

Through the time portal, the ride vehicles are transported into the second feature, Journey to the Center of the Earth. The guests will begin their journey through a small, black-lit cave inhabited by spiny, plant-like creatures clung to its jagged rock walls. As the cave opens up, guest can take aim at armies of oversized insects scurrying about in the underground catacombs. The presentation of the insects will be a mix of simple animatronics and projection screens. Further along into the adventure, guests discover the "Lost World," hidden within a vast underground cavern viewed on an expansive HD projection screen measured at 80 feet in length. The "Lost World" will be inhabited by exotic plant-life and prehistoric wildlife with herds of mastodons, velociraptors, pterosaurs, a T-Rex or two, and various other dinosaurs, all aggressively chasing after the guests. From their escape out of the cavern, the guests will head even deeper into the Earth until they finally reach the fiery volcanoes of the core (remember it is based on a B movie premise). Bursting from one of the erupting volcanoes comes the Creature from Hell, a huge winged beast steeped in magma with red glowing eyes. Guests blast the beast as it surges at the ride vehicles. In their attempt to escape, the guests move on to the grand finale, set up with a projection screen that stands 40 feet in height. The guests will be overwhelmed by the size of the volcanic creature as it stands as tall as the screen. Just before the beast advances on the guests, in an exciting twist the Kraken from Pirates Cove: Barrels O' Blood reappears. It followed the guests through the time portal and begins to attack the Creature from Hell.
"The Battle of the Beasts!"
Guests continue to score points as they target both of the titanic creatures until, in their final epic struggle, the two beasts fall into a bottomless crevasse and disappear into oblivion.

The ride ends as the guests pass through a final time portal into the present and enter the last room where they can view a photo of themselves in action and review their final scores displayed on individual video screens for everyone to see. As the guests view their scores, a few of the large insects from Journey to the Center of the Earth crawl across the video screens suggesting that the time portals have been breeched again.

THE CREATURE DOUBLE FEATURE! Lost Worlds in Time is "a blast from the past!"

Following Cedar Fair's initiative to add family friendly attractions at an affordable cost and with an improved return on investment, THE CREATURE DOUBLE FEATURE! Lost Worlds in Time will be flexible in its ability to enhance and update future versions of the attraction and increase ride repeatability. For guests, it's overall appeal will be the cohesiveness the ride will offer between the older and newer generations, improving on the idea of what's old can be new again, in a FUN and EXCITING experience that everyone can share together.

July 24, 2015, 1:33 AM

Jeff, and all, I strongly disagree with AJ in his opinion of what constitutes a dark ride. I rode Tomb Raider, and while it might not be a "traditional" dark ride which follows a track and uses a coaster, Omnimover or boat system, it was 1)heavily themed, 2)NOT stationary and 3) told a story in the dark. Just because it did not utilize what is traditionally called a "dark ride" system (which is such a vague concept as to be arguable for the next hundred years) I feel that it would still be classified as a dark ride and I would judge it accordingly. I regret that this was not worked out by the judges in private and hope that any future questions like this will be resolved in private before being responded to. It is not fair to the competitors.

Edited: July 25, 2015, 2:03 PM

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New World Expedition
At California’s Great Adventure, All American Corners

Now at California’s Great Adventure All American Corners, you can experience a whirlwind of historic adventure in New World Expedition. Featuring an all-new character depicting an early European explorer of Santa Clara, this ride takes you on a thrilling yet entertaining ride through an exciting story of a young explorer that’s willing to do anything to quench his thirst for discovery…


During the excavation for the foundation of California’s Great America, historical treasures were found that dated to early European exploration, which included ancient iron weaponry and metal ship rubble. Wanting to preserve the culture of the land’s original inhabitants and its initial Western explorers, the park founders decided to create New World Expedition to take visitors to the park on a journey through the past to experience the land and its inhabitants in its original form.

Station and Queue

The entrance of New World Expedition rests just beyond the entrance of Flight Deck in the All American Corners. A large sign depicting the ride’s name is clearly labeled above the queue that begins at the bridge that leads to the New World Expedition Island. This ride is also a Fast Lane attraction, which allows guests with the special wristband to minimize their wait time.

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The New World Expedition is located in the All American Corners themed section, near the Flight Deck coaster.

The waiting area is covered by a facade with vines intertwining between the beams. The walls near the waiting line located on the island are adorned with artificial artifacts from spears to swords resembling items from the colonial period, which are mounted high on the walls. The station is located at the of the waiting line, and the flooring is composed of recycled materials which resembles wood visually but is actually waterproof.

Directed by the ride employees, the guests are taken in groups of two into three rows. Two boats can be loaded at once. The wall at the side of the water loading dock is covered with dense forested foliage, which allows the guests to fully establish a recurring theme of the ride before entering.

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Multi-layered Forest Setting

The Ride Experience

After departing from the loading dock, guests are greeted with an artificially forested setting shortly before a sunset which is projected onto the walls. Orchestrated mysterious music plays in the background. The boat turns left. In a slightly lighted portion on the right hand side of the ride, leaves rustle, and out emerges the protagonist explorer José. His eyes scan the area and widen as they look further down the rider's’ path.

Suddenly another, larger more menacing pirate emerges from the foliage. He raises his sword.

In the next scene, the guests’ view of the two explorers is blocked by foliage, but their fighting silhouettes are visible on a rock wall. The sound of clashing metals are pronounced above the music. The fight persists for 10 seconds before one of them is knocked down and the victor quickly leaves the scene.

The ride makes a left turn. Victorious José quickly becomes visible in the bushes a few seconds later. He turns his head towards further down the ride.

The guests are taken down a 20 degree descent of 20ft. (6m), which is forested on both sides with fake plants that are slightly lighted. Ancient tribal Indian music begins playing, and suddenly a group of dancing animatronic Indians appear on the left side. Their dancing movements are rhythmic and repetitive, and they move in a large circle. José appears from out of the trees to watch them. They appear to be unconcerned by his sudden presence as they continue to sing and dance.

The ride makes a right turn, and the riders watch José on the left side for 10 seconds as he explores the territory. However, suddenly the riders hear the sounds of a wolf howl and approaching footprints. José perks up at the sound, and he begins to move forward, his legs moving in a running motion while moving along a track. The boat speeds up slightly as it begins a 40ft. (12m) 10 degree descent, and the music increases in tempo.

After 4 seconds of running, the wolves come into view on both left and right sides, their grey pelts shining in the dusk and their eyes glittering ferociously. They growl menacingly. Their silhouettes appear on the rock face on the right, moving quickly and gaining speed.

José suddenly disappears into the foliage, and the boat makes a quick left turn. He appears 2 seconds later at the wall directly above the front of the guests. He looks frightened, having approached a cliff’s edge. But anxiously watching the wolves draw closer, he braces himself and jumps.

At the same moment, the boat suddenly takes a sharp drop down a dark tunnel. Water splashes at the bottom, but soon real bubbles form around the riders, and an auditory bubbling sound is heard for enhanced effect.

The guests enter an underwater thick fiberglass tunnel. Around them, real fishes swim around the glass tube, and sharks employ a rhythmic motion inside of the water. About three-fourths of the way down the tunnel, an underwater animatronic of José can be seen frantically swimming forward on the right side, located approximately 5 feet (1.5 meters) away from the tunnel’s side.

Ahead of them, a huge monstrous whale opens its mouth and the ride increases speed as it approaches the creature. Bubbles form as they enter the mouth. The ride suddenly becomes dark, but bubbling noises can be heard as the boat rises towards the surface.

Suddenly, as the guests reach the surface of the water, mist sprays around them and the surface becomes illuminated. They are now at the projected surface of the ocean, with a model of the island in view closely behind them.

A ship appears sliding in a few moments later, and José, who resurfaced with the boat, appears to be taken into the custody of a new crew and is helped on board by an woman sailor with her long thick brunette locks braided practically. The ship sails away in the distance, and the adventurous, but slightly slower and sentimental music increases in volume.

The boat takes a sharp turn back to the island, and fake foliage appears from both sides as the ride emerges into the lighter loading dock area.

Post-Ride Experience

After departing the ride, guests have the option to visit a souvenir shop that features small models of the characters and other trinkets to remind them of their exciting journey. Also, located on the island is a deck where guests can sit down and enjoy the sights of the lagoon and the surrounding theme park.

Technical Details

New World Expedition uses a Dark Boat Ride Flume 4/6 system that is manufactured by Intamin. Each boat holds up to 6 people, and its hourly capacity is up to 1600 people per hour. The boat ride is typically 5 mph (8 kph), but it reaches its greatest speed at 30 mph (48 kph). The length of the track is 1969ft. (600m.), and the ride lasts approximately 3.2 minutes.

A majority of the ride itself is located inside an island that appears heavily forested from the exterior. The foundation is composed of concrete, although the top layer is covered with bedrock and soil.

The forested setting is obtained using three different components. First, the background sunset is set by projecting the lighting onto a flat wall. Then larger, plastic models of trees are behind it. These models are 3D, however, they lack significant depth to compensate for space. Finally, the front includes a lush artificial foliage composed of ferns and small shrubs.

The animatronics, manufactured by Garner Holt, are relatively simple. The character animatronics have at most two movements: a movement of the head or limb, or movement of the eyes. The Indians animatronics have a single repetitive movement of their legs, but are located on a circular track, hidden from guest view. The fleeing José is also placed on a track to simulate his running.
The wolves are not located on the track, but appear periodically in pursuit of José, and their running silhouettes are visible on the right rock wall. The underwater animatronic sharks are stationary but have a full body movement in their midsection. The underwater animatronic of José swimming has two repetitive movements of his arms and legs.

Contrary to popular belief, the animatronics are not set off by motion. Once the ride operator initiates the ride, the animatronics are programmed to begin at a specific time after the ride begins. The speed of the ride may vary by a few seconds, but regardless of the timing, guests have the same exciting experience.

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Animatronic Model Renderings: From Top José, Pirate, Rescuer

A tunnel at an angle of approximately 45 degrees leads down to the bottom of the lagoon. This leads to a dry tunnel (excluding the water used to propel the boat) composed of thick reinforced fiberglass. The underwater transparent tunnel is 30 ft. (9 m.) long. At the end of the tunnel, an underwater animatronic whale opens its mouth slightly before the boat enters. Then the boats are taken upward on a conveyer, where they meet the leveled surface of the water.

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Sketch of the Underwater Tunnel Layout


Riders are not restricted by height for this ride. However, guests with ears highly sensitive to depths are encouraged not to ride. This ride is available to guests that are able to transfer from their wheelchair or ECV.


New World Expedition takes guests on an fascinating journey through time. The unique characters appeal to both children and adults and bridges a gap between the youth and their interest in history. The story also highlights upon cultural values of the region's original inhabitants, while also noting the struggles of a historical hero and minor heroine. The riders can personally experience the thrill of becoming an American explorer, making New World Expedition a perfect addition to California’s Great America All American Corners.

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July 24, 2015, 8:01 AM

I just added a couple more points to my proposal. How long do the competitors have to modify what has already been posted? I understand the judges want to get a head start on the critiques but what if the competitors add additional info to help fill in some of the gaps in a proposal and the judges miss it due to critiques done before the changes are made.

July 24, 2015, 8:03 AM

Technically Keith you can modify your proposal until the deadline. However, sometimes we get a head start on judging, so if you are going to make post submission changes I recommend posting something indicating what has changed, just to be sure we don't miss it.

Edited: July 25, 2015, 3:46 AM

I just wanted to indicate that I've made some changes to my proposal, and I will be finished with them by Saturday morning, so I would appreciate it if the judges reviewed it after I finish. Thank you!

July 25, 2015, 9:13 AM

Edison’s Automaton Adventure

Coming Soon to Cedar Point

Located on the banks of Lake Erie in Sandusky Ohio, Edison’s Automaton Adventure is a new dark ride which will change how the world sees Cedar Point, as it begins its transformation from simply an amusement park into a true theme park.

Facade and Queue

The facade of the ride is a replica of Thomas Edison’s childhood home, which is located just 20 minutes away in Milan, Ohio. The Queue winds through the well-kept gardens before entering the house. Once it does, it winds through the various rooms of the house as they would have been when Edison was born, before going into the basement.

Here, guests walk through a bookshelf that has been swung open like a door, implying that they are entering a secret room. When they do, they find themselves inside Edison’s secret workshop. It is full of designs and prototypes of insane contractions, such as a time machine, a computer, a video recorder and projector, a spaceship that bears a striking resemblance to the Starship Enterprise, and, taking center stage, the Thinking Machine. This is an automaton that, according to the designs, can think and act of its own accord.


Guests enter another room of the secret workshop, where a cast member informs the guests that Thomas Edison prepared a video before his death for times such as this. The room goes dark and a black and white, low quality video of Thomas Edison. He says:

EDISON: Hello? Hello? Does it work?


EDISON: Haha! I’ve done it. Ok, back to the matter at hand. If you are watching this, it means our world is in grave danger, and I am no longer around to save it. Luckily, I have prepared for such an occasion. You see, throughout my lifetime, I have saved the world multiple times with the inventions you saw in my workshop. However, someday I won’t be around to do the saving.

So, I present to you, The Thinking Machine. This is an automaton of my own creation designed to be able to think and act of its own accord. It will act as I would. I’ve hidden it away on the banks of Lake Erie in Sandusky, about 20 miles from here. Some sort of small boardwalk attraction exists there. I need you to activate the machine and It will stop whatever threat is after the world, in theory.

Now, a living person can explain our current situation to you, whatever that may be. I wish you luck! Adieu!

The video cuts to static and another one starts.

DR. DAVID COLLINS: Hello, my name is Dr. David Collins, or DC for short, and today I will be helping you save the world. So, here’s the dilemma. Someone, and we don’t know who, is using the “Power Tower” as a beacon. Something bad is going down. We believe they’re trying to use it to power some sort of weapon. It’s up to you and The Automaton to stop it. Good Luck!

The Lights come back up, and a door opens in the front right of the room. Outside is a line, leading to the loading area. The ride vehicles are designed to look like Steampunk cars, such as the one below. They seat 6 people in two rows of three. In terms of movement, the cars are typical dark ride cars, allowing a rocking motion along a flat track.


The Ride

This ride is a fusion of classic dark ride technology such as Audio Animatronics and flat setting pieces, and elements which will appear on screens in the style of Spiderman or Transformers: The Ride.

Riders enter their vehicles in a room of Edison’s Laboratory. Once they board, they move slowly out of the Lab, and they are outdoors in the park itself. This part of the ride is positioned such that the Power Tower is visible. DC’s voice says “supposedly, the machine is located under the boardwalk somewhere”. This only lasts a short time before they return inside the show building.


Once back inside, the guests find themselves under the boardwalk. The effect is created by boards overhead and a relatively dark room. Here, they find Edison’s Automaton. It wears a Top hat and suit Jacket, but underneath you can see the clockwork that makes the machine work. DC’s voice comes over the speaker. “Ok, to activate it, you have to ask it for help. On three say ‘help us Thinking Machine’ with me. 1...2...3…Help Us Thinking Machine!”


(I think you can imagine what the rest looks like)

The machine, a simple AA, turns its head towards the car and reaches out it’s hand, using only the shoulder joint. Many of the machine’s movements may appear unnatural, but that’s OK, because it’s a robot anyways.

DC’s voice is heard again. “We’ve got extremely high readings coming from the Power Tower! We gotta move!” The car starts with a jolt, and is moving much faster now (somewhere around 40 MPH) as it speeds away. As it does, if goes alongside a long screen that shows The Thinking Machine running alongside the car. Guests arrive at the Power Tower, and lightning is flashing from it. After a few seconds of looking at it, guests drop down a ramp leading underneath the tower.

Once under the Tower, they are in a labyrinth of tunnels and pathways. They seem to have been simply dug out, and all the walls are made of dirt. DC says “Follow the Automaton. It can tell where the massive electric surges are coming from. It can lead you through the tunnels.”


Again on screens, The Thinking Machine guides the guests as they zoom through the epic maze of tunnels, until finally they reach what appears to be a control room. The room has a giant Van De Graaff generator in the middle, and several Tesla Coils around the room. Around the room, there are various screens integrated into the setting. They are the right size for one person (or automaton) to be on it.

A Van De Graaf Generator

All of a sudden, the Van De Graaff generator generates a lightning bolt. (It is important to note that the generator is surrounded by a metal cage. This causes the lightning bolts to only strike the metal bars of the cage, and NOT the guests outside of it.) A small round platform comes up from the ground, and on it stands another automaton. It is similar in shape, but has a very different face, and rather than silver metal, it is made of a golden metal. At first it faces away from the guests, but the platform rotates and it faces them. It talks. The jaw moves as it does. This is this AA’s only moving part. It says “I am the servant of Nikola Tesla. You have invaded my grounds. You have disgraced me and my master. And for this you will pay.

“I must activate the invention… The Electric Tremor

“With this, I will send so much electric energy through the ground and air that the entire earth will become nothing but a sizzling ball of electric current! There will be Earthquakes and Thunderstorms like the world has never known!”

The Van De Graaff generates several more lightning bolts, and in a puff of smoke, the platform has gone back down. The car moves around to the other side of the Van De Graaff, turns around to face it, and Tesla’s automaton appears on it. DC says “Why are you doing this? You’re going to destroy everything!”.

Tesla’s automaton replies, “Yes. I was programmed to do so. It is Tesla’s last hurrah!. Proof that he has always been the greater electrician, the greater scientist. Edison could never have done something on this scale! Now, I will activate the last Invention of Nikola Tesla...The Electric Tremor!”

The Van De Graaff starts again, generating another bolt, and the car begins to shake back and forth quickly, as though there is a mild earthquake. Screaming is heard from above, and it is assumed to be that of the visitors to the park. Tesla’s Automaton leaves the screen. DC says, “We have to interrupt the current! That’s the only way to stop it.”

The car moves around to where it entered the room, and The Thinking Machine comes up from the same platform as earlier. “No!” DC says, “You can’t!”

For the first and only time in the ride, The Thinking Machine speaks. He says, “I must”. The platform goes back down with smoke, and our automaton appears inside the cage. He appears to grab on to the cage itself. A bolt goes off and The Automaton collapses.

Let me digress for a second here to explain this illusion. Basically, the cage has two rings, and inner one and an outer one. The inner one is what the lightning actually strikes. The AA appears between the two. Therefore, the Automaton has not really been struck, rather the inner cage has. now, back to the ride.

“Cracks” form in the walls of the room as the shaking intensifies. “We have to get out of here! The Earthquake will take care of the Automaton!” The guests speed out of the room and up a ramp back into the safety of Edison’s lab. When they return, DC appears on a screen and says, “Well, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that the park was undamaged. The bad news is, well, the automaton didn’t make it. I’m sorry. Really. But we’ll always remember its bravery. Then, the vehicle turns around to leave, and The Thinking Machine is standing there completely intact, waving them goodbye.

Post Ride

After the ride, guests have several opportunities for even more fun. They are emptied into a room and have to option to walk through or stop and enjoy the possibilities,

There is a lifelike, non moving version of The Thinking Machine which makes a great photo-op. Also, guests will find a small indoor steampunk-themed playscape for children. Finally, there are several computers, where guests can choose from a variety of games. Some examples are, “Automaton Creator”, where guests can choose different parts and colors for their own automaton, which they can email home. Or, they can play a game where they have to connect various wiring to make the automaton go! This area supplements the ride, and adds to the overall experience

Accessibility Warnings

This ride has a 40" height requirement due to the at times violent shaking. Also, guests with sensitive ears should not ride due to the loud noises created by the Van De Graaff generator.

This ride is designed to be fun for all ages, and will add to the process of pointing Cedar Fair in a new direction.

Edited: July 25, 2015, 1:58 PM


The Legend of Carowinds Swamp is a new interactive water-based attraction coming to Carowinds, in which riders journey on boats and encounter the strange inhabitants of the recently discovered wetland. The ride and other theming will replace the Hurler roller coaster in Thrill Zone. Due to some potentially frightening moments for small children , some water elements, and a couple of drops the ride has a 42 inch height requirement.

One normal day at Carowinds, the park operation seemed, well, normal. When it looked like nothing could go wrong that day, a strange earthquake struck the park. On the site of the Hurler roller coaster, a strange swamp suddenly rose from underground destroying the ride. Being the cash-seeking company they are, Cedar Fair decided to use the remains of the roller coaster to design boats to let park guests explore the swamp. While collecting the supplies needed for the boats, petrified workers ran into the Cedar Fair offices explaining sightings of strange, evil creatures lurking in the newly risen swamp, and disappearances of some of the workers. Now, it is the rider’s mission to find the missing employees and explore the swamp.

The façade of the ride seems to be a natural Southern swamp.To enter the attraction, riders enter an ominous shack with the ride’s logo and name above it.

The line snakes through the wetland, crossing small bridges. Near the end of the queue line, the swamp seems to get darker and a bit more disturbing. We hear grunts (played on hidden speakers) in the distance. Is it one of the missing workers, or is it… something else? In addition, signs in the queue explain how to use the "tranqulizer guns" used in the attraction.

As we cross one more bridge, we find our boats on old looking flume troughs (the park tried to save money instead of getting more expensive flume trough models). Park employees help escort the riders on our ride vehicles (the boats)

The ride vehicles look like worn-down air boats with a rusty kind of look to it, some also worn-down looking “tranquilizer guns” (the blasters of the ride), some small scoreboards underneath each of the guns, and vollaih! Your ride vehicle! Each air boat can seat 16 riders at one time. The air boats start moving and the journey begins!


Scene 1: The Briefing:

Our boat takes a turn and slowly creeps down a straight river. A male voice plays from the on-vehicles hidden speakers:
Voice: Um…hello. I am Ray Jenkins of the Carowinds engineering department. As you may know, five park employees disappeared while building the experience you see today. Now, normally we would have our other employees come and find the missing people, but honestly, they’re scared stiff, so.. I suppose it’s up to you to help find those poor souls and bring them back safely. Oh, yea... one more thing. See those tranquilizer guns on your boat? We added them as a safety feature just in case these… sightings are actually true. Just shoot them if you see something… abnormal. Good luck”
The air boat makes a turn and dips 5 feet into a wider river, and enters the next room.

Scene 2: The Monsters of the Bayou:

On both walls, there are projected scenes (kind of like Voyage to the Iron Reef). We appear to enter a large, dark swamp. Suddenly, a hand rises from the water. Could it be one of the missing workers? The whole body comes out of the water, and turns out to be a humanoid figure, but covered in green muck (for this presentation, let’s call them zombies) Dozens other undead zombies rise from the lake, as the scoreboards now say FIRE! After shooting plenty of zombies on both sides of the building, we turn into the next scene.

Scene 3: The Marsh:

The boat enters a large marsh, with a small rocky island ahead. More swamp zombies attack from both sides of the screen, and riders continue to fight back. Suddenly, the projected island cracks in two and a giant bug-eyed six-tentacled swamp monster rises from the lake. He spits water at riders (mist) as we attack his body, before turning into the next scene.

Scene 4: The Dead Man’s Hill:

A sign near our car reads “Dead Man’s Hill”, in which reality is a 30 foot lift hill. A few swamp zombies climb up the hill and we attack them. Suddenly, we reach the top of the hill, (an open area outside the show building) and plunge down a moderately steep, 25 foot dip and turn back into another show building.

Scene 5: The Swamp Monster.

The swamp we dip into is quite odd. All the leaves are black and everything is quiet. Our boat takes another turn and we see a large growling anamatronic creature that tries’ to grab our boat! We shoot it to collect even more points and turn into the next-to-last scene.

Scene 6: The Final Gauntlet:

We enter another narrow projection room, as hundreds of swamp zombies make a final attempt to get us. We fight back yet again, before “speeding away”(the projections just move faster). At the end of the room, the five missing workers are sitting on a rock island having made camp. They are waving to us and cheering, knowing they have been found. We turn into the final scene.

Scene 7: Final Briefing:

We snake our way back to the unloading dock while Ray says this on the speakers..
Ray: Great job! I got a memo from one of our workers that you found the missing employees! I am very impressed by your skill! If you are ever interested in working here, please call me... too bad I forgot my cell number…

We unload at the far end of the attraction’s gift shop: which is themed to a visitor center. After purchasing souvenirs, we exit and walk back through a path back into the park.

The Legend of Carowinds Swamp: What lurks within?

Author’s Notes:
. Every enemy in the ride except the big swamp monster is projected, and so are most of the scenes.
. I understand there is another shooter ride at Carowinds, but that will continue to serve as a bridge attraction between this and the kiddie flat rides at Planet Snoopy.
. I think I might have created too scary of an attraction, but I tried to keep the ride partially “family- friendly”.
. The entire ride is in one big show building. I don't know if I explained that well enough in the proposal.

Yet again, thank you for taking the time and effort to read this. May the Force be with you....always.

Edited: July 25, 2015, 5:55 PM

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Mouth of the Abyss

There has always been something a little strange going on in the northern section of the park at Kings Island, particularly in the area that was originally the Safari and live animal area. When you are looking at a park map, it is the left side of the park, making the tip of the ride formerly known as Top Gun, then Flight Deck, and now the Bat as the most northern portion of the park. Things seem to require changes a little too frequently in this area of the park. Sometimes it’s just a name, sometimes the whole structure mysteriously fails and has to be removed.

Mouth of the Abyss is located between the recently renamed Bat roller coaster and Banshee roller coaster, using the old Son of Beast ride station for a portion of its queue. Visible to the guests will be a monolithic building that will stand nearly 200 feet tall, about 200 feet long, and about 80-100 feet wide. The ride building will be in the same “there’s nothing to see here” style of Flight of Fear’s warehouse, but it will be covered in solar panels to not only power this ride, but return a surplus of power back to the rest of the park.

The approach to this ride’s queue and the queue area will recycle many of the iconic pieces of theming of rides previously in the area, like Son of Beast signage, the original Bat signage, pieces of the fighter plane that previously stood outside of Top Gun and Flight Deck, etc. The entrance of the ride looks something like a Coney Island freak show that has been destroyed by something very powerful, maybe a tornado or something more animalistic. The fighter plane from Top Gun is sitting in pieces as if it had crash landed and broken apart, but…it’s strange because that plane was just a prop and could never have flown. The tail of the plane appears to have tomahawked its way through the top of the queue ceiling. As you proceed through the queue you will see some badly damage signage that talks about a show, presumably on this very site, that promised Wolves, Bats, and other more fantastical creatures like Demons, Vampires, and some kind of Yeti looking beast.

As you round a corner, there is a video on a loop, with a professor type looking like a halfway point between Indiana Jones and Doc Emmett Brown (from Back to the Future). There will be many flat screen TV’s around the queue area, so as the line moves forward, you don’t lose track of the setup.

The voice of the professor over a blank screen (as the video starts over): “I saw you coming and I needed to run down and start preparations. Please take a look at this video I recorded earlier to let you in on the details. And thanks for helping me out with this.”

The video cuts to the professor standing near some high tech looking equipment in a room presumably nearby.

“My apologies for the history lesson, but this will all soon make sense, just bear with me for a bit.”

“When the park opened, the place where we are standing was a zoo area themed to a safari. There were a few rides out here, but it was mostly animal habitat. Previous management appears to have either not known about it, or covered up the fact that animals would occasionally disappear right out of their habitats. The first animal that disappeared was a lion, and management was probably too afraid of the public backlash to let anyone know that it had happened, choosing to wait until there was a sighting. But there was never a sighting of the lion. It just appeared to fall off the face of the Earth. As the list of missing animals grew, there were never any sightings of any of the missing animals outside of the park boundaries. It was presumed that the animals were lost on property somewhere even though none of the animals ever resurfaced.”

“The first roller coaster on any grand scale at Kings Island was the Racer. The Racer opened with the brand new park in 1972 and it would seem that the builders were trying to tell us something from the start. If you look at an aerial view of the Racer, it is shaped like an arrow that points slightly off from the exact position that we are standing. More on that later.”

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“The second roller coaster built at Kings Island of a grand scale was Screaming Demon. It was built in the general area of where Congo Falls and Invertigo are today. It was a small roller coaster that earned its Screaming Demon name every day. It was a mean roller coaster and rough to ride. It was gone in ten years, sold for a song to a different amusement park, and Kings Island seemed happen to be rid of it.”

“The next roller coaster built at Kings Island of a grand scale was the Beast. During a time when most wooden roller coasters were getting names of weather & natural phenomenon (Cyclone, Tornado, Avalanche…), having a roller coaster named Beast was very unique. Whoever chose to name it Beast seems to have done it as a tribute to some kind of creature that had been sighted near the park. Management thought it was simply a pack of wolves or foxes, but the employees always describe it as something bigger…and meaner. But the naming seemed to work and whatever forces were or were not at play in the park left the Beast alone, much like the Racer.”

“The Bat, however was not left alone. It has a notorious history in Kings Island as being thrilling, yet extremely rough and always closed. At first, the maintenance crew for the Bat would leave for the night and come back the next day to find small things sabotaged. But soon major things were going wrong for the roller coaster – the types of things that could not easily be repaired. Within two years of opening, the Bat was closed. It was later removed and Vortex was installed on the same site.”

“Following Vortex was a roller coaster called Adventure Express, both of which are currently in operation unless something recent has happened. When digging into the hills around Adventure Express they uncovered strange ruins that were then incorporated into the theme of the ride. In fact, Adventure Express had originally been named Werewolf prior to the finding of the ruins and the Adventure Express name and theming had been given as a way to unify the natural elements that were found when digging the foundation of the ride. The wolf name was given to a nearby amphitheater instead.”

“After Adventure Express, things quieted down until Son of Beast was opened. Let everyone say what they will about Son of Beast, but I’m here to set the record straight. The designers were competent, the construction firm was competent, although they receive the majority of the ire from everyone, and the structure was sound and passed many inspections. I’m here to tell you that it was tampered with, but not by anything I had ever heard of. Here is some video from one of the camera’s on Son of Beast and you can be the judge.”

The scene shifts to a black and white surveillance camera showing the back helix of Son of Beast. Something large with wings, yet vaguely humanoid in appearance lands hard on the roller coaster bed shaking the entire structure with its impact. It seems to roar, but there is no sound on the video, suddenly the thing lunges at the camera and then it goes straight to static, and then to a blank screen as the video starts back over at the beginning.

A second video picks up on where the previous one left off after guests progress further in the queue.

“I was able to piece the whole thing together. The names: Bat, Screaming Demon, Beast, Werewolf, Vortex, Firehawk, Son of Beast, and Flight of Fear were all subconsciously trying to tell us what the issue was and the Racer was actually pointing right at it. What I found is extremely frightening and it is why I need your help.”

“What I have found is a fabled Mouth of the Abyss. I don’t think it is the only Mouth of the Abyss, but probably one of many. It is a gateway into the Underworld and an actual Vortex that allows horrific creatures to escape the clutches of the Underworld. I don’t have many specifics, and to be honest, I don’t know much more than what I have told you. I do think that we can seal it off, but the second I start tampering with it, I’m deathly afraid that all manner of things are going to try and prevent me from closing it permanently.”

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“This, of course, brings us to the reason why you are here. When I found the Mouth of the Abyss, I barely got close to it and it set off some kind of chain reaction that attracted quite a few dangerous sounding creatures. I have no idea what they looked like because I had decided that hiding was probably a really good idea. But I did have some tools with me, and while I was hiding I was able to take some readings.”

“The readings that I took make me believe that all of these creatures can be destroyed by firing a narrow beam, low-end radio frequency at them. From my hiding place I sent a couple of blasts of radio into the creatures that were getting too close to my hiding place, and it seemed to deter them.”

“With that knowledge I have built a bunch of devices that emit the correct frequency with an extremely strong signal. I shaped them like a gun just so they will fit in a person’s hand easily, but you don’t need to continuously pull the trigger, on is on, so just hold the trigger down. I also had the foresight to tether them to the lifting device, so they never run out of power. Also, since we are using narrow beam radio signals and not bullets, accidently shooting each other is not going to do any damage, but it should rock the world of anything that comes out of the Mouth of the Abyss.”

“Now comes the critical part. I need you to buy me some time. Enough time that I can close off this Mouth of the Abyss for good. The future of Kings Island hangs in the balance. I don’t know if we will ever have a better chance than now, and it’s why I have invited so many of you to help me out. Since most of the beasts coming out of the Mouth of the Abyss can fly, getting a high vantage point is going to be extremely important, so I have rigged up a lifting device to try and get you high enough to go to war with these demons on their own turf. Good luck.”

“My apologies for repeating this video, but I need to finalize my preparations.”

The video then loops.

Under the Hood

The actual ride hardware being used is a Ferris wheel, an almost identical copy of the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island. Disney has an almost identical copy of the Wonder Wheel in California Adventure. At 160 feet tall, it has 8 stationary gondolas and 16 gondolas that slide along a track. Each gondola can sit 6 people and is equipped with six radio “guns” attached to the ceiling with enough cord to get between the bars and shoot out of the gondola on any side. There is an extra safety measure for this Ferris wheel that most don’t have, there is a locking mechanism on the door, and enough bars in place that even if a rider had a deathwish, they couldn’t get out of the gondola even if they tried. This is a great added feature as it is likely that the riders will be moving around quite a bit in the gondola and not sitting around sedately.

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The walls inside the building are going to be huge floor to ceiling screens where the action is projected using the same technology utilized on Wonder Mountain’s Guardian and Voyage to the Iron Reef, but on a much grander scale since there are many more things to shoot at and many more people shooting at potentially the same target.

There will be a divider blocking off the lower 1/3 of the ride from the upper 2/3 of the ride. This is to allow the lower 1/3 of the ride to load and unload while the upper 2/3 is still a shooting gallery. There will be screens, blinds, and masks down below, so when the Ferris wheel gets cranked up, the bottom section will also become a shooting gallery.

The loading and unloading platform will be designed to load 1/3 of the ride all at the same time. A series of ADA accessible ramps will take riders up to the different levels to enable them to board the lower 1/3 of the gondolas all at the same time. This will greatly decrease the loading and unloading time. Instead of manual human controlled start and stop that most Ferris wheels have, this one will be completely computer controlled, to include automatically opening and closing the doors that give access to the gondolas. This computer control will help sync up the action to the rotation of the wheel.

Inside the gondolas, there will be a speaker system, but no video. The sound in the gondola will be very directional so the sound bleeding over to the other gondolas is as minimal as possible. In the roof of the gondola is a multi-color LED basic illumination system that while in the load/unload area will be very bright, which dims down to only enough light to see inside the gondola after it leaves the station, and then it can flash different colors to indicate an “enemy” impact during the action sequences.

The Ride

Once guests are in their gondola and the Ferris wheel starts moving, in the 1/3 of the gondolas leaving the station, we hear the nameless professor guy again.

“Okay, everyone, prepare yourselves. You should probably see something happen… right… about… now!”

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A cloud of evil creatures geyser out of the ground in a dense swarm. Initially, all the guests will need to do is hold down the trigger and point, there will be so many “bogies” in the air that merely pointing in the general direction should be enough to hit plenty of things. As the swarm is thinned and it approaches the gondolas, a little more skill will need to be used. The system will keep track of how many “bad guys” are destroyed and keep regenerating them in order for there to always be plenty of targets. The majority of the “bad guys” will also choose a gondola to pick on, but there will be other targets that will appear to fly around the Ferris wheel, randomly encountering different gondolas. As mentioned previously, if a creature gets too close to a gondola, the lights inside the gondola will flash brightly to register the impact. The guests in a gondola will have to attempt to work as a team, since they will be attacked on both sides of the gondola at the same time.

When a target is destroyed, the target disappears into a puff of smoke that quickly dissipates.

The bottom 1/3 of the wheel, when in the masked off loading area during the time that the Ferris wheel is spinning, will be the place to encounter more land based “bad guys” like werewolves.

After a certain amount of simple “bad guys” have been destroyed, higher difficulty, harder to destroy, and more dangerous creatures geyser out of the ground, with the Banshee being the ultimate prize before the “boss”.

 photo Banshee-art_zpszns1nmyu.jpg

One of the “final bosses”, which not every ride will make it to, will be themed to The Beast and stand as tall as the Ferris wheel. It can be attacked by all gondolas at the same time. The Beast moves quickly from one side of the Ferris wheel to the other and takes a concentrated effort from all gondolas to vanquish. Even during the boss battle, other, lesser creatures will still be attacking the Ferris wheel from both sides. There will be other final bosses themed to the different major rides around Kings Island.

About 15 seconds before the Ferris wheel is going to start unloading passengers, the professor will report back again.

“I think that should do it.”

Riders will notice that the geyser of “bad guys” immediately slows down to a trickle.

“Hey, while you’re up there could you finish off the rest of what is out there?”

This gives the riders a reason to keep the game going after the main boss has been destroyed or run away.

After unloading from their gondolas, on the way out, there is a short video loop that plays, again featuring the unnamed professor.

“Thank you again for helping me protect the park, you should be very proud of what we have accomplished together. Not that I want to spoil the great mood or anything, but the readings that I am getting now make it look like there is another Mouth of the Abyss nearby. I’m going to look for it and see if we can’t close that one as well. I would really appreciate your help closing the next one as soon as you feel like you have recovered from the current ordeal. Until then, stay safe, and enjoy your time at Kings Island.”

Right before you make it back out into the bright sunlight, there is the obligatory merchandise shop with Mouth of the Abyss products and a photo booth. From the on ride picture booth not only are there pictures of the different passengers on the ride, but it also has the totals of targets destroyed. Since this information is not available at any other place, it should make the photos more frequently purchased if the cost per photo is kept down, so that the different passengers can compare their totals with everyone else. There will also be badges printed on the ride photo if you completed certain worthy goals (like vanquishing The Beast).

Help save Kings Island from the
Mouth of the Abyss
Exclusively at Kings Island

July 25, 2015, 9:06 PM

First, Canada’s Wonderland received one. Then, it was Knott’s Berry Farm. Now, Cedar Fair’s flagship park, Cedar Point, is becoming the third park in the chain to get a Triotech shooting dark ride. Space Defenders will be a 4-D motion-based shooting ride that will place riders in battle with an evil alien empire.
Space Defenders will be located in the Planet Snoopy section of the park. The attraction will replace the ballroom, circled in red below.
The façade resembles a silver, sleek-looking hangar. At the front of the building, a big sign reads, “Space Defenders” with a subtitle reading “Can you defend Cedar Point?”
The queue begins with a staircase and leads into switchbacks. The switchbacks are in a large room, themed to a futuristic space station. TV monitors are all over the walls and are hanging from the ceiling. The monitors show a short film, described in further detail in the “plot” section below. After these switchbacks, riders go down another staircase and into the station, located underneath the switchback room. Here, riders receive their 3-D glasses and board their vehicles.
The plot of the ride is explained via a 5-minute short film that is played on repeat during the queue. The film is told from the perspective of Tred, an alien from the planet Zhum. He talks with a humorous voice and looks similar to the alien below.

In the video, Tred explains how Zhum used to be a land of peace and fun. However, the evil General Orgwar hated fun and destroyed Zhum using his army of evil robots. Now, Tred warns the riders that earth, and more specially, Cedar Point, is next on the chopping block.
The ride vehicles look very similar to the ride vehicle below. However, the areas that are painted blue are instead painted silver, and the sections painted orange are crimson. The ride vehicle also contains 2 rows of 4, rather than the 2 rows of 3 in the picture below. In order to differentiate between the lasers, each laser has a different color. These colors are red, yellow, green, blue, purple, orange, sky blue, and gold.
Ride Experience
After boarding the ride vehicles, riders enter the “launch pad”. Here, the ride vehicle faces a screen and the riders are launched into outer space. During the launch, the ride vehicle shakes rapidly. During the rest of the ride, the ride vehicles move at a slow speed, passing by screens. Also, instead of simply going on the track, the ride vehicle sways, simulating zero-g. After leaving the launch pad, guests view the first screen, which depicts General Orgwar’s space station. All of a sudden, several flying robots come straight at the riders. After battling the flying robots, the ride vehicle turns around to find quite a few robot space ships. When these space ships have been defeated, the ride vehicle turns around once again to find much larger space ships coming towards the riders. Unfortunately, these ships are too large to shoot down, and the ride vehicle finds itself abducted by the spaceship via a bright green ray. Once on board the spaceship, the riders shoot a no-gravity button, which turns off gravity inside of the ship. The ride vehicle then goes into a large room, where they battle robots armed with laser guns. When the riders are hit by a laser gun, the ride vehicle vibrates. After the riders destroy much of the spaceship, the spaceship explodes, sending the riders back into outer space. After battling more robots in outer space, the riders crash into the large spaceship, which was seen at the beginning of the ride. Inside the spaceship, the ride vehicle goes through a narrow tube. Instead of using screens to display the tube, riders go through a practical set. In the tube, there are simple, robot animatronics. After going through the tube, the riders battle more robots inside the interior of the spaceship. After going through two rooms full of robots, the riders come face to face with General Orgwar, who turns out to be an ugly, evil alien. However, before the riders can shoot him, he uses an escape pod to head straight for earth. The riders follow him to earth, and after almost burning up going through the atmosphere, the riders land in the front car of Millennium Force.
When the riders land in the front car, Millennium Force is heading up the lift hill. Then, all of a sudden, General Orgwar appears in a giant, robot suit with a jetpack. After his dramatic appearance, the riders get to battle General Orgwar while simultaneously going on a simulation of Millennium Force. This is the only part of the ride, excluding the launch pad section, where the ride vehicle is stationary. During this boss battle, riders are required to work together by shooting in the same location, which does triple the damage of a regular shot. After a minute of battling General Orgwar, the General succumbs and falls down, defeated. After viewing the score screen, the riders exit the vehicle.

Edited: July 25, 2015, 11:59 PM

Crystal Caverns

Using a combination of physical sets and 3D displays, Crystal Caverns is the world’s first suspended interactive dark ride shooter coaster that delivers an immersive and immensely repeatable experience.

Crystals. Millions of them. Sparkling, shimmering, and glinting in massive caverns beneath the surface of the earth. Construction workers stumbled upon such a sight during the latest expansion project at King’s Island. Park managers attempted to explore the intricate cave system on foot, only to find the ground highly unstable and subject to sudden sinkholes. However, they realized that the crystals were incredibly unique; they emitted a faint pulse of energy. The U.S. government promptly took possession of the land on the grounds of “The presence of an unknown, undocumented substance”, and plans were made to excavate the crystals immediately. King’s Island was allowed to remain in operation during the excavation, but the land above the caverns would not be returned to the park until the crystals were completely gone. Private companies put in their bids in the hopes of winning the multimillion dollar contract.

The winning bid belonged to Robert Q. Arry, who had designed a transportation system that attached to the stable granite on the roof of the caverns, lowering miners in to safely retrieve the crystals. Using an innovative laser claw, workers could safely gather the crystals from a distance. Furthermore, he vowed to complete the project in a mere matter of months.

The excavation began without any issues as hundreds of radiating crystals were collected daily. As days turned into weeks, stories about mysterious creatures and dangerous beasts surfaced, yet Mr. Arry pushed on, determined to meet his deadline. Miners began to stop showing up for work, too terrified of what lay within the bowels of the caverns. Out of time and out of ideas, Mr. Arry has begun recruiting park guests to retrieve the remaining crystals so the property can be returned to King’s Island and he can get his paycheck.

Crystal Caverns is found exclusively in Rivertown at King’s Island.
A mockup of Crystal Cavern's location in King's Island.

Vehicles and Technology
Crystal Caverns utilizes an inverted powered coaster system, manufactured by Mack Rides. This unique ride system suspends guests from the ceiling. The vehicles can rotate 360 degrees and hold two passengers in the front and two in a raised back. Two ride vehicles are linked together to form a train. Mining claws, the shooting mechanism of the game, are attached to lap restraints that are lowered onto guests. Mining claws resemble construction claws on thick wooden dowels and are activated by pulling back a string (think Toy Story Mania). Each claw shows up as a different color on the 3D screen, letting guests easily distinguish their claw from others’.

A mockup of the infrastructure of the ride system. The real ride vehicles (called “mining bells”), have a rusted, metallic floor and sides and resemble a roofless ski gondola. The front is slightly lower than the back so the backseat has a clear view of the targets.

Most of the ride’s scenes have a 3D screen. However, unlike other interactive rides, these screens use Ultra-D technology, delivering a glasses-free 3D viewing experience for a 120 degree viewing range. The company, Stream TV, will license the Ultra-D technology to partners, making it simple for Triotech to implement. In Crystal Caverns, the combination of physical sets and glasses-free 3D screens will deliver a seamless visual experience that redefines the interactive shooter ride.

Corporate Strategy
Crystal Caverns encompasses all of the recent goals set by Max Ouimet, CEO of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. As part of the “Amusement Dark” initiative, Crystal Caverns fulfills Ouimet’s 3 S’s principle: strategy, storytelling, and social interaction. The interactive digital infrastructure allows for easy updates, the ride uses a story based on the world around and under the parks as opposed to purchased IP, and the gaming elements encourage competition between family and friends while driving repeat visits. This attraction is also designed to be elaborate under the typical budget constraints of a regional park. For these reasons, Crystal Caverns is a perfect fit for the Cedar Fair family.

The height requirement is 40’’. The coaster portion, although fast, is smooth and does not physically strain guests.

Guests enter the attraction through a rocky cave. At the entrance, many signs are posted, reading “Help needed”, “Retrieve crystals”, and “Save the park.” The attraction building itself sits behind extensive foliage, giving guests the illusion of entering a mine leading straight into the earth. Inside the queue, the walls and roofs are boarded with wooden planks to protect workers from falling debris. There are small displays of an office, time clock, and pickup station for mining equipment. These help tell the story of Crystal Caverns; Mr. Arry designed a unique system to win a multimillion dollar bid with the U.S. government, workers suddenly stopped showing up for their shifts, and plenty of extra equipment is just lying about, waiting for some adventurous park guests. Mr. Arry’s voice is intermittently heard throughout the queue, bidding guests to move onwards and to do so quickly (“There isn’t any time to lose! We’ve got crystals to mine and quotas to meet!”). The queue then switchbacks up to the loading dock, where guests board the mining bells.

The ride progresses through 7 distinct scenes. The first five feature a combination of Vision-D screens and physical sets as guests use mining claws to gather crystals. The sixth is a surprise encounter with the caverns’ protector, and the seventh is the dramatic coaster finale.

Each shooter scene has a 15-20 foot Vision-D screen, framed by a rocky formation with glowing crystals protruding from its crevices. Both the physical crystals and the virtual ones can be collected for points. The real crystals turn off when hit by a guests’ mining claw, waiting a few seconds to re-illuminate and be collectable again. On screen, crystals erupt in fantastic, colorful shards when gathered, re-spawning a few seconds later. Point value is determined by the size, shape, and distance of the crystal. There are countless easter eggs and surprises to be found while gathering crystals, increasing the repeatability factor. Each shooter scene lasts around 20-30 seconds, and the whole ride is just over four minutes.

Scene 1
After leaving the loading dock, the mining bells quickly accelerate forward. Mr. Arry’s voice is heard over the onboard speakers welcoming guests and thanking them for their help. He warns them to not provoke or kill any of the supposed creatures (“Although those are mere rumors-we hope”) but insists that guests do whatever necessary to gather every last crystal. During this short spiel, the ride vehicles are descending down and turning backwards as guests bid a final farewell to the loading dock. On the walls of the caverns, small bunches of crystals, which are physical set pieces, faintly glow. The vehicles approach the first screen, although it’s turned off. Mr. Arry tells riders to “Grab ahold of your mining claw, and gather them crystals!” A light on the top of the ride vehicle suddenly turns on, synchronized with the screen turning on. The ride vehicles slowly travel the length of the first cavern while guests engage in collecting crystals. This first scene is distinguished by a peaceful cave setting; crystals are elegantly protruding from curious rock formations, and a waterfall stirs an underground river.
Concept art of a scene similar to the one described in scene 1.

Scene 2
Guests take a smooth left turn and enter a dazzling cavern, full of sparkling stalagmites. Bats hang from the ceiling before flying at guests with outstretched wings, revealing crystal “fingers” that can be collected. Rocks slowly begin to roll across the floor before morphing into tiny trolls with crystals on their backs. Turtles creep across the ground, exposing their crystallized shells.

Concept art of some of the crystal creatures. All of the crystals on their bodies can be gathered for points. It’s important to note that gathering a creatures’ crystals does not kill them, but merely exposes the physical features underneath the crystal.

Scene 3
The mining bells make a slow descent deeper into the cave system, passing a few Garner Holt audio-animatronic crystal creatures sitting in small nooks of the wall. The ride vehicles slowly rotate and the guests are facing the next Vision-D screen. They’re greeted by a huge, spacious cavern teeming with life. Fish jump around in small ponds, lizards slither across the floor and up the walls, and bats fly around overhead. Twice in this scene, a centipede crawls along the floor, only to rear up on its hind legs and send the crystals along its back shooting through the air and at the guests. This serves as an ominous warning: the creatures won’t be docile while their habitat is being destroyed.

Scene 4
As the mining bells make a sharp turn, menacing pits of lava gurgle underneath guests, and streams of steam erupt from the ground. Lava pours from a few crevices in the walls. A thundering beast can be heard in the distance, presumably in a distant vein of the caverns. The ride vehicles turn to the Vision-D screen, revealing a cave flooded with lava. Pulsing red, orange, and yellow crystals adorn the walls and ceilings. Occasionally, lava bubbles bursts and guests feel a blast of warm air. Violent sea snakes jump from the lava, mouth open wide, as they fling themselves at guests. Large toads with crystals embedded in their backs hop around the scene, their wet tongues flicking water at unsuspecting guests.

Scene 5
The mining bells descend further into the caverns as thundering footsteps sound dangerously near, before fading away. Mr. Arry comes back on the speaker: “Here’s the motherlode! Collect as many crystals as you can, then head on back up. From here on out, it’s smooth-“. Static is heard, before the signal cuts out completely. By now, guests have entered a long tunnel flanked by Vision-D screens, creating the illusion of a massive cave. Initially, no crystals can be seen. Suddenly, the light of a distant crystal flickers, and the crystals quickly illuminate, creating a wave effect of light. Sparkling, diamond-shaped crystals embedded in the walls glisten throughout the room. During this scene, the ride vehicles make a slow 360º turn, exposing the guests to every corner of the cavern. These crystals award more points than any other target in the ride thus far.

Scene 6
The ride vehicles travel further into the caverns and guests are plunged into darkness. A few crystals glow from their perch in the walls. Thundering footsteps can be heard echoing through the tunnels, getting dangerously nearer and quickening in pace. The mining bells come to a slow stop in pitch black darkness, and the footsteps come to an abrupt silence. Suddenly, the lights flash on and a beastly golem lunges forward, arms outstretched as a deep roar echoes through the caverns. Guests gaze for just a few seconds (and try to shoot the crystals that make up the golem-the highest value targets in the entire ride) before suddenly dropping backwards as the ride vehicles turn to keep facing the golem, now disappearing behind a wall.
Concept art of the crystal golem, the most complicated animatronic in the ride.

Scene 7
The mining bells whip through the caverns, passing animatronic crystal creatures that are crying and screeching, trying in vain to scare away the intruders from destroying their natural habitat. After a few drops and fast turns, the mining bells begin to slow down and Mr. Arry can be heard on the onboard audio again. “Ah, there we go! Now, that was a piece of cake, hmm? Head on back up and you can be on your merry way. Thanks for collecting them crystals! Feel free to stop by anytime.” The ride vehicles slowly ascend up to the loading platform, and the vehicles turn to face a wall. As they rise, they pass monitors with pictures of the guests and their scores as well as a cumulative score from everyone in the mining bell. At the end of the ascent, guests take a look at the digital leaderboard before disembarking.

Crystal Caverns is a truly unique and immersive dark ride, delivering an interactive, thrilling, and immensely repeatable experience that will be a perfect addition to the Cedar Fair family.

Edited: July 26, 2015, 2:15 PM

Another good round, everybody. I'm glad to see that everyone got the gist of what a Cedar Fair dark ride should be. I'm also glad that everyone returned and we didn't get any drops. I hope we have zero drops this season. Now, here are my thoughts...

Douglas (Chrono-Safari: T-Rex Trek): Dinosaurs are a big thing with the Cedar Fair parks, so creating a dinosaur-themed dark ride makes sense. The back story of the attraction works, though I would suggest having a better explanation for the digging than simply "routine digging". You have selected a good location in the park, and by repurposing an old building costs can be reduced. The queue is very detailed and would be one of the best at a Cedar Fair park. You have made a good choice of ride vehicle and the capacity is definitely sufficient for the park's typical crowds. I like that you've incorporated 3D screens with other effects, but I worry about the 3D glasses possibly causing issues with the Pepper's Ghost illusion. As for your ride, the Timeport sounds like an updated version of the start of Kingdom of the Dinosaurs, but with a properly functioning time machine. You then have a convincing transition to the past, followed by a good sequence of dinosaur hunting. However, for a ride named T-Rex Trek, riders seem totally underprepared for this monster. Having a reason why the guns are ineffective (such as a power loss) would be better. I do like the fact that the ride doesn't simply end with a return to the present, but I have to admit this portion starts good and gets worse. The laboratory scenes are fine, but the Park Panorama bit sounds way too cheesy to be convincing. Riders will be fighting a giant dinosaur that is attacking the park, but down in the actual park guests will be strolling about like nothing is happening and totally ruin the illusion. If you want to have a video screen with special footage it would work, but using the actual park, while a cool idea, just sounds like a fail to me. One additional scene following the final wormhole would be nice to explain the plot hole, but the ending still works ok. Overall, this is a pretty good ride and would likely be the best dark ride in Northern California. It does have issues, but there is more good than bad here and it's certainly a quality ride experience.

Keith (The Creature Double Feature! Lost Worlds in Time): Reimagining classic dark rides using modern technology and upgraded for today's audience is an excellent idea at a park with as much history as Dorney Park. Your decision to revive two rides as one attraction is an interesting one, but not a bad idea if done properly as guests will feel they've gotten more for their wait. Locating the attraction close to the park entrance is a great way to ensure guests see it. The queue sounds decent, and making the connection to a B-movie double feature sounds like a smart decision. I love that you've incorporated a mural into the station and wish more dark rides did this. The ride vehicles sound pretty similar to those on Voyage to the Iron Reef, a good choice for this type of attraction. The first portion of your attraction (Pirates Cove: Barrels O' Blood) is quite good, with a logical scene progression and a story to connect the scenes. While you didn't mention it, I hope you've maintained the B-movie style during the ride even though everything is high tech. I'm not crazy about using a simple portal to link the two attractions and would prefer a story driven approach (ex: the Kraken drags guests into an underwater abyss) to instantly changing the setting. The second half of the attraction (Journey to the Center of the Earth) is just as good as the first, and I'm glad to see you did include a couple of animatronics along with the screen-based effects. I'm not sure that using dinosaurs was the best idea given that Dorney Park has a Dinosaurs Alive attraction, but everything else is a nice fit. The final battle with the Creature from Hell is great and the monster is scary enough without being too much. If you're going for the cheesy B-movie style, having the Kraken return is a great twist even if it doesn't make perfect sense. Closing out with a portal makes perfect sense. Overall, I'd say this is a great dark ride with the main issue being linking the two very different settings together. If this was worked out, you'd have an A quality B-movie dark ride.

Karina (New World Expedition): First off, it's California's Great America, not California's Great Adventure. Anyway, the premise of your attraction is decent, though referencing something more recent would likely have been a better choice. The location of the attraction is good and the queuing area does a nice job of setting up the adventure theme of this attraction. The ride system makes sense for a jungle themed attraction and you've got more than enough capacity for the park. I also like that you have gone with animatronics over screens for the majority of effects, and by using simple animatronics you should be able to stay within a Cedar Fair budget. Having Jose as a guide is a smart choice, though if he wasn't introduced in the queue dialogue is needed to introduce him. Starting with pirates is not a bad choice, but is there just one pirate or several? A single pirate seems hardly worth the effort. The drop is a good way to transition from pirates to Indians and is of an appropriate size and steepness for this attraction. Again, giving Jose dialogue and using him as a narrator would be helpful for the Indian scene. The following scene isn't bad, but putting a 40 ft. drop here seems unnecessary. And then with a third drop following that scene, it feels like this is becoming a little more of a themed flume ride (like Splash Mountain) than a dark ride. The underwater tunnel is a good concept, but placing it at the bottom of the lagoon probably wouldn't fly too well. Given that you'll be using animatronics in the water as well as fish and sharks, you really need an artificial tank to do this. The return to the surface is directly out of Finding Nemo (not bad, but not very original), but the resolution is a nice way to end the ride and for guests to say goodbye to Jose. Honestly, this ride isn't bad, but it definitely has a few problems. First, the lack of dialogue would make some of the scenes quite dull, even with a synchronized score. Second, the attraction seems to lean a little too heavily on the thrill elements with three drops (two of which are pretty significant) and only one or two scenes connecting them. Finally, for a 3.2 minute ride there is a lot going on and I imagine the pace of the attraction is quite quick. The concept is good, but I think it would have been better executed by using a slower boat ride with fewer thrill elements.

DPCC (Edison's Automaton Adventure): Cedar Point is probably the largest park in the world that does not have a dark ride, so one would be a welcome addition to the park. Given the relative proximity to Thomas Edison's childhood home, the theme also works well in a park that isn't known for theming. The queue line for your attraction sounds interesting, though I hope it is filled with contraptions in addition to contractions (sorry, I couldn't resist). Introducing the Thinking Machine here is a smart move. The preshow is about the right length for the attraction and covers all the important information. Your vehicle design also works with the theme, and would be better integrated if labeled an Edison prototype. Once the ride begins, starting with a short outdoor section is a good idea to reinforce the fact that guests are searching at Cedar Point. However, it might be a good idea to ensure guests do NOT see the Power Tower since it appears dramatically different just a couple scenes later. Alternatively, delete the scene with the tower since you won't be able to see it once under the boardwalk. I cannot tell if the speed is supposed to be simulated or guests are really traveling at 40 MPH, though I would think the former would make more sense for an indoor dark ride. The labyrinth is a really good concept, but you need more going on during this portion of the attraction. Encounter random artifacts, creatures, or something to make it more interesting. I really like the Van de Graaff generator as that is an outstanding practical effect, but I also can't help but feel this scene goes on too long for a typical dark ride scene. Splitting up the guests' interaction with Tesla's automaton into two or three shorter scenes (with the Van de Graaff being the finale) would definitely be an improvement. The finale of the ride is quick but satisfactory, and the final scene is a nice ending (plus having the Thinking Machine survive instead of "killing" it is much more family friendly). In summary, you have a good concept and a decent ride, but it could use some improvement to take it from "good" to "great". The theme is original and what you've got is mostly great, it just needs to have more.

Tyler Harris (The Legend of Carowinds Swamp): This is an interesting theme for a dark ride. While you are removing Hurler for it, I am glad you are reusing the attraction as part of the story. While a little ridiculous, the story works for the ride. The queue line is appropriate for your attraction. For a swamp themed ride, a boat system is almost essential so I'm glad you chose that. Starting with a slow scene for an atmospheric attraction like this is good to set the mood. Swamp zombies serve okay as monsters, but something a little more original would improve the attraction. While the scenes are good, I'm glad it isn't too long before a new creature appears. Dead Man's Hill is good to add a little thrill to the ride, but when the rest of the attraction is in a dark swamp having it come outside back into the park isn't the best idea. While having hordes of zombies isn't bad for a shooting attraction, I feel like it would be better to flip this and the Swamp Monster, using the gigantic animatronic as the final boss in the attraction. I do like the fact that you find the missing maintenance workers at the end, and finding them alive vs. not finding them (or finding skeletons) may be the difference between this being family friendly or too scary. Overall, I think you've created a great dark ride with an imaginative theme. I wouldn't worry about there being two shooters in the park (after all, Canada's Wonderland has both Boo Blasters and Wonder Mountain's Guardian) as both rides are very different from each other. This would be a great addition to the park and probably a better ride than the one it would replace.

Jeff (Mouth of the Abyss): Playing off the various attraction changes and making a mysterious force responsible is a great concept and right along the lines of a Cedar Fair dark ride. You have picked a great location for your attraction, and covering the building with solar panels is a brilliant eco-friendly idea. The queue sounds like the Banshee queue taken a step farther, with actual components from past rides instead of merely tombstones, and fits perfectly with the theme of your attraction. Using a video playing on loop instead of a preshow is a smart idea as your attraction will likely have a slow moving line. The video may be a little long to keep the attention of guests, however. Using a Ferris Wheel is an interesting idea, and while not technically a dark ride system it can mimic one fairly well. Having an intensity preference (swinging or non-swinging) also allows this ride to accommodate everyone. However, as you mentioned guests will be moving around in the gondola I'm not sure swinging cars are a good idea due to injury potential of falling guests. I would also suggest utilizing a continuous loading system to increase capacity and help the ride to flow better. The ride itself is pretty good with plenty of opportunity for guests to practice their targeting skills. As this is primarily a shooting gallery, however, you must be sure not to run the wheel for too long. I'm not 100% sure what operational method you had in mind, but I'd think once around would be sufficient for most riders. Additionally, the fact that not everyone gets to fight the boss is a little disappointing. Honestly, this is a difficult one for me to judge. It sounds like a fun interactive attraction, but is not what I would think of as a dark ride. You have definitely thought outside the box and gotten very creative with your attraction, but it almost seems like the quality of the dark ride experience would be better with the same story and a more traditional system (such as a suspended track).

Juan (Space Defenders): When dealing with a blank slate, space is often a fairly good choice for a theme. You have picked a good location in the park for your dark ride, but I hope you intend to reuse the building instead of tearing it down and building a new one. The queue is simple but appropriate for your attraction and the story is decent for the attraction. Using a looping video is a good choice here. You're using a ride system similar to Justice League, a good choice for a regional theme park building a top tier dark ride. While maintaining zero-g would be realistic, it may be better to reserve this for certain moments to avoid making guests nauseous. The ride begins with a good opening sequence, immediately allowing guests to begin shooting. From here, the story progression is good through the following scenes. I like the usage of a practical set to break up the screen action. Having General Orgwar escape to the park is a nice way to connect the ride with Cedar Point, but I'm not crazy about ending this attraction with a virtual ride on Millennium Force. I could see a lot of motion sickness complaints here, plus keeping the ride vehicle stationary for 90 seconds or so will absolutely kill your capacity. Other than the resolution, however, you have an excellent dark ride. This would fill a big gap in the Cedar Point attraction line-up and would definitely be very popular with everyone, especially those not yet tall enough for the big coasters.

Andy (Crystal Caverns): This is a great concept for a dark ride. Based on the map, it appears you are putting this where The Crypt formerly stood, which is a good location for a mining themed ride. Your ride system appears identical to that used on Arthur at Europa Park, though I question your seating layout for a shooting attraction. To ensure nobody has an obstructed shot, it would be better to rotate each row individually or use back-to-back seating. Given that your attraction is part roller coaster, using 3D technology that doesn't require glasses is smart. I like that you've disguised the ride building, and your queue is good for this type of attraction. For the ride portion, your overall duration and the length of each scene are good. The first scene is great to allow guests to learn proper operation of the mining claws as all targets will presumably be stationary here. The following few scenes introduce harder targets to hit while also creating story progression, both of which are great. You just need to make sure that guests can harvest crystals from the animatronics as well in order to keep continuity. It's a shame that scene five is virtual as it would make an impressive physical set. Either way, this is a great holding area in case the coaster portion gets a little backed up. Scenes six and seven seem inspired by the finale of Journey to the Center of the Earth and are a great way to end your ride with a bit of a thrill. To me, this attraction would be an outstanding dark ride for Cedar Fair as it truly appeals to all audiences that visit the park. You've got impressive theming, interactivity, and thrills, but for the most part it's not a scary ride. The only problem is that Max Ouimet probably couldn't do much about it (it's Matt Ouimet, not Max).

July 26, 2015, 3:15 PM

Douglas Hindley - Trex Trek

Going with dinosaurs is a solid choice for the family crowd - what kid doesn’t like dinosaurs. Good call on tiered seating.

The story confuses me a bit, if they’ve changed time (how?) how are they able to get back to the main timeline… But I’m not sure that matters too much as its a 5-10 min experience, not a multi year SF franchise you’re selling. I am disappointed you didn’t make more of the sinister side - if you’re going to put a hanger on something, and call it out, you better use it.

However, going to the alternative-present is going to be a great first-time shock, if it can be made to work.

I like how adaptable and reusable the ride is, with it being able to project different creatures. I can see the ability to stick on different overlays for seasons (Rescue santa, etc) or retheme completely when the concept gets tired.


Keith Schneider - The Creature Double Feature

I have to question how much of the audience knows what a double feature is. In this era of multiplex cinemas, the concept appears to be long dead… But then again that seems to be what you’re going for with a lot of old characters/attractions coming back o the park.

This concept appears to be following the same sort of lines as sesame street - Something for adults, something for kids. Yes, there’s a donut hole in the middle just like Sesame Street see, but with a dark ride I think that's unavoidable.

I’m not really sure what the blasters are there for. Why am I blasting apparitions? These just seem to be here for the sake of it.

Overall, its a good attraction, a nice nod to the past

Karina Bhatacharya - New World Expedition

Gosh, I remember this park, I used it for a Dinosaurs alive challenge… your ride is right in the middle of where I was going to place it.

You’ve gotten very technical with your specs. I appreciate the up to 6 seating, allowing larger families to ride together.

I’m not sure if using the term “Indian” is appropriate these days unless you’re talking about Indians from India. The story does seem a bit complex, I’m not sure how much I followed.

Using real fish I’m not sure about, especially when you add sharks. Sharks are in of themselves an attraction in their own right - Alton towers has Sharkbait Reef - Id suggest if this ride was going to have an aquarium building an attraction on top to allow for dual use, so guests can experience them out of the ride in their own time too.

Overall, another good attraction.


DPCC - Edison’s Automaton Adventure

Boy, are you going to get letters! Tesla has a lot of fanboys, and they’re not going to take kindly to someone blackening his name like this. However, I liked it! Taking the public acrimony between the pair and turning it into a ride I thought was brilliant.

I think you need to explain in the story what brings these people together to maintain the thinking machine. Maybe some sort of secret organisation set up by half-forgotten-president X.

Using the park landmarks as a part of the back-story is another masterstroke.

I’m not sure how controllable the Van De Graf Generators are, if they can be made to strike particular point like that… I’m going to defer to you and presume they can… but to me this is the whole thing that is going to define whether or not the ride can be made - Can they be made to strike a particular point on Queue, and how much is the power company going to charge me for that much power…

The noise is also an issue - is it going to be ear damaging, and too frightening?

You’ve got a great ride, but if I was an executive, I’d be asking you for some demonstrations of this before I sign off on it. I also might be looking for a small scale temporary attraction first to make sure my younger guests wont be upset with the noise.


Tyler Harris - Legend of Carowinds Swamp

“Being the cash-seeking company they are”

Remember you’re pitching to me as an executive. Don’t insult me like that (unless we’re really good friends and you know I’ll take it a a joke). If you’re going to open a pitch by saying that the company I help run and make decisions for (and therefore by extension, me) is “Money Grubbing” you’ve already turned me off.

There are more… Polite ways of saying the same sort of thing. “Cedar Fair, never one to let a good opportunity go to waste, used the remains of the coaster to turn the swamp into a new attraction”.

I think you missed a trick on your themeing in the entrance area. I think you should have played on this more by making it look like an incomplete construction site in the swamp - fences with do not enter signs, left over materials, the works. Instead all you really told me was “shack”.

“The ride vehicles look like worn-down air boats with a rusty kind of look to it”

But you told me before that:

“Cedar Fair decided to use the remains of the roller coaster to design boats”

You need it consistent. I like the idea of the ride being themed as roller coaster part, but this latter description seems inconsistent

“As we cross one more bridge, we find our boats on old looking flume troughs (the park tried to save money instead of getting more expensive flume trough models). Park employees help escort the riders on our ride vehicles (the boats)”

Is a flume trough that wide? Whats the difference between an old one and a new model? Its a trough.

You’ve given me a reason for the blaster that supports the immersion. However, I’m not sure how family friendly zombies are. I think this is what you were worried about. This does appear to be more “blaster ride” than “dark Ride”

I’m kinda disapointed its in a show building, I’d have loved to have seen this outdoors, but then it wouldnt be a dark ride…


Jeff Elliott - Mouth of the Abyss

Nice Green credentials in the Solar Panels…

I do like your theming, and using the park in the backstory, and creating this “conspiracy theory” around park attractions.

Okay, technically the Ferris wheel is not a Dark Ride system. However, I think in this case where you’re relying on a vertical trip, rather than horizontal, its justified. It doesn’t rely on “thrill” but the surrounds, so I’m happy to declare that to be “in” scope, and very revolutionary - Bravo!

Personally, I would have reversed it though. Stick the wheel in a pit, and load it from the top, and let em slowly descend down through and into the Abyss.

However, I think this ride is sheer genius. The only concern I have is how much of a dark ride it is, and how much of a blaster ride it is instead. If I was CF, I’d say “Stuff the dark ride, we’ll take this instead”.


Juan Hamilon - Space Defenders.

Again, I’m not seeing so much dark ride, as I am blaster ride. Not a lot of scenes, just blasting. This seems to be more of laser tag on a coaster track… I’d like to have seen more about the scenes.

What happens if noone shoots the Zero G button?

The Millennium force effect might be tricky to pull off if it doesn’t match todays weather…. if its an overcast day and the video is sunny then the immersion is ruined… Also what happens if the ride isn’t running today?

I'd like to see less of an emphasis on a blaster ride, and more on the experience... I'm not looking to ride a video game.


Andy Teoh - Crystal Cavern

I start worried already as this starts off as just another shooter, however, I’m going to give you a credit for quoting the CEO. I’ve talked to others about pitching to me as if I’m an executive, and telling me how you meet the companies objectives is an excellent way to do that.

I think this ride is too much shooter, not enough storytelling, but you’ve got at least some story in there. I think with a little more emphasis on story, this ride could be a contender - more dark ride, less blaster.

I do like the loading area and queue theme - trying to make it look as much like a real mine/workplace as possible. There's something here I think, bit I think it needs a little more in the ride part.

July 26, 2015, 5:32 PM

(Sorry this took so long to get posted. I just got home from work.)

I hope that our competitors get something out of our critiques other than the knowledge that three different people read their proposals. It seem like we all see such different things and visualize the attractions described so differently. Please know that we do not discuss ahead of time what we are going to post in our critiques. We read the other judges critiques at the same time you do, and sometimes we're just as surprised as you are.

Douglas Hindley Chrono-Safari T-Rex Trek

Douglas, you did your homework. You created a proposal for a dark ride that would fit in perfectly with Cedar Fair's dark ride plans, a proposal that could be tailored to fit each CF park. You used realistic, existing technology but pushed it and integrated it to create a truly memorable experience for CF guests. This would be the kind of new attraction that would make attendance figures surge in each park it is installed in. Well written, well presented (I think I found two typos, but I'll let you look for them). I do feel that this ride would need a height restriction for several reasons: 1) There would be some sudden movements in the ride vehicles, such as when the Triceratops' horns throw the jeep asunder, therefore you would need some sort of seat restraint. 2) There is some scary scenes when the various carnivores are attacking that very young children would be upset by, and unless you have some other way to keep stupid parents from taking their 2 year old on the ride other than height restriction you would need to have a height limit.
"Pteranodons bombed guests from above"...with what? I hope it is with water and not with (fill in the blank). Your foreshadowing of the sinister side of Chrono-Safari was not really needed- the situation at the end of the ride with the dinos in modern times was not the result of anything evil, just an incident caused possibly by poor scientific controls. There may be a sinister side to Chrono-Safari, but it was not shown in this ride and is not relevant to the proposal. I'm nit-picking...this was a wonderful proposal. You are showing yourself to be a consistently strong competitor, and I am still amazed that you can produce such solid, well-researched and constructed proposals so quickly.

Keith Schneider The Creature Double Feature! Lost Worlds in Time

Keith, you also did your homework. Excellent research into Dorney Park's history, and I thought your use of various past attractions as present facilities in the surrounding area of the attraction was a great touch. Combining two past attractions into one, a "double feature" was a brilliant idea. Your presentation of the ride was clear and very easy to follow. I question not having a height restriction for the same reason that I questioned Douglas' not having one. I was unsure about one scene- when the pirate ship sinks and carries the riders to the bottom of the sea, is it just done via film or is a drop track involved to physically carry the riders down? This attraction would be great fun to experience, and would be a real crowd-pleaser for all ages at Dorney Park, those old enough to remember the originals and those young enough to enjoy rediscovering it.

Karina Bhattacharya New World Expedition

Confused. That was how I felt after reading your proposal, at least the first time. After I realized that the cartoonish characters were the characters in the proposal then it began to make sense, but something that important needs to be establish right from the start. Having what appeared to be an attempt at a very realistic outdoor setting suddenly being populated with- and please don't take this as an insult, but I don't know what else to call them- Weebles was extremely confusing. There has to be a continuity of theme throughout an attraction. If the settings were done in the same style of design as the - I'll call them animatronics- then the ride would be much less confusing. I understood what you were attempting to achieve in showing an early discoverer of that area of California, but there really wasn't a story, just a series of scenes that really didn't have anything to do with each other except for José wandering into it. At the risk of being overly politically correct, the use of the word "Indian" is really frowned on in most official situations (unless you're a Cleveland Indians fan)- Native American is less offensive. Your carefully-detailed explanation of the attraction, including angles of descent, time of each scene, detailed description of the animatronics, etc. was exceptional, and I'm sure that it gave our resident engineer AJ a warm, fuzzy feeling when he read it :+) Perhaps more time on the story line at the expense of the technical details might have been time better spent. If you did the artwork, such as the "multilayered forest setting", the models renderings and the "underwater tunnel layout" you should be commended. They were wonderful and helped a great deal to clarify the initial confusion. A dark ride needs to have a clarity of continuity and expression, especially if it is attempting to tell a story. Not all dark rides have a storyline, such as "it's a small world" but they then have to rely on exceptional visual scenes. If you created that artwork, I think you have the talent to create something comparable to "iasw". If you need to rely on the storyline, do the storyline first and then bring it to life with the artwork.

DPCC inc. Edison's Automaton Adventure

I was hoping some would be brave enough to chose what many know to be my home park, Cedar Point- brave because I would know exactly where the attraction would be located and how it would fit into the park both physically and theme-wise. I was surprised that you left Cedar Point entirely and went to the nearby town of Milan, Ohio and Thomas Edison's birthplace home. An interesting choice, considering Cedar Point's extensive history in its own right, but one that was appropriate for your ride. You didn't say where in the park it would be located, and that is important for a park like Cedar Point which has limited space, and even more important to meet the requirements for your rather extensive ride requirements and the need to have the Power Tower in the right location. Plus one more thing- most of Cedar Point is built on sand with a relatively thin layer of topsoil. I understand that much of your ride would be underground- that could be a problem.

Now to the story line. I tried to get into it, and I followed the general story line, but it really didn't have anything to do with Cedar Point other than that Power Tower was being used as some sort of power source. It had nothing to do with the history of Cedar Point itself, and Thomas Edison only lived in the house in Milan for seven years. Setting that aside, it was an interesting story and the integration of steampunk themes and images would be an appropriate integration of the Victorian design of much of Cedar Point's historic buildings and the high-tech thrill rides of the modern park. A major problem I had was caused by the confusing use of the word "automaton"- it was used interchangeably between the Tesla automaton and the "Thinking Machine", and at times I had no idea which one was doing what. In the finale, we are told that the Thinking Machine had been destroyed, then we turn and we see it waving goodbye. Inconsistent and confusing.

It was an ambitious attempt with some good ideas and good potential, and you took a chance that I probably wouldn't have thought of or risked.

Tyler Harris The Legend of Carowinds Swamp

This was a solid proposal, well-presented and sure to be a crowd pleaser. There were a few typos (voila' , not vollaih) and "which in reality", not "in which reality" but those were minor. I thought your description of the boats was cute, although I was unsure how the seating of the guests in the boats would be arranged so as not to have riders shooting past each other- or into each other. The various slight jabs at Cedar Fair were cute (but if you were presenting this to upper management they might not find them quite so amusing). I think you missed an opportunity by not incorporating the earthquake-wrecked ride building from Hurler into the ride building facade for "Legend..." This would have instilled some continuity in the ride location and add to the "legitimacy" of the background story. You said that the remains of Hurler were partially used to build this attraction, but I didn't find anyplace where that was mentioned. I could certainly imagine some of the mangled wreckage sticking out of the swamp, adding to the creepiness of this. This was not a ground-breaking attraction, and the theme was not especially original, but you presented it well and this was a proposal to be proud of. You showed definite improvement from Challenge 1. Well done!

Jeff Elliott Mouth of the Abyss

In my critique of your proposal for Challenge 1, I told you that you could do better and challenged you to do so. You did- oh, man, did you! I have written and read many, many proposals over the years. "Mouth of the Abyss" is probably in the top 5 best I have ever read. Well-written and well-presented, you went wa-a-a-a-y out of the box and took a ride system that nobody would think of using in a dark ride and made it the perfect ride system for a spectacular dark ride. You researched the history of Kings Island, incorporated a wide variety of past and present attractions and created a backstory that fits perfectly into the present Kings Island thrust towards breathtaking attractions. The queue was carefully detailed and your use of past attractions being maliciously incorporated into the building was inspired. Just the sheer size of this massive structure, two hundred feet tall and covered with solar panels, would give it the appearance of an evil, malevolent monolith- I thought of the monolith from "2001: A Space Odyssey" (minus the monkeys beating the bones) . The adventure waiting inside for the riders would make it an attraction that visitors would want to ride over and over. The huge screens required would be a challenge, but are totally doable at this time, and the system could be used at other parks with different storylines tailored to that park's history and locale. It would have been easy to just put in a simple Ferris wheel, but the use of an eccentric wheel like the Wonder Wheel was one more example of the careful thought you put into this, the attention to detail and the clear vision you had of what this new form of dark ride could be. If I had ANY concerns about this attraction, it is that it might be too intense for very young children, so an appropriate height requirement should be added. I think that children today are much more exposed to shoot-em-up video violence than children of even ten years ago, and since this is a fantasy-type of shooting and not a blood-and-gore bloodbath a height limit should avoid any major problem. Also, some form of ride restraint would be advisable in the slider cabins, especially with the riders probably moving around. I was a bit uncertain if there were screens on both sides of the ride- if so, then the cabins could have riders back-to-back facing outwards at the same scene being shown on each side. This would minimize how much moving around the cabin the riders would need to do to aim and fire at their targets.

There has been debate about what constitutes a "dark ride", and I am not going to rehash that at this time. I have looked over the arguments/disagreements/fill-in-the-noun-here and feel confident that this proposal meets all of the requirements completely and in a unique, entertaining and thrilling way.

I could go on all day talking about this, but instead I'm going to go back and read the proposal again. I can't wait to ride this!

Juan Hamilton Space Defenders

Once I stopped hyperventilating at the thought of tearing down the Cedar Point Ballroom (in a building technically called the Coliseum) I was able to get to the meat of the proposal. (Sorry, but I'm a Cedar Point history buff, and CP will tear down the Coliseum just about the same time that Disneyland tears down the Castle). OK. This was an interesting proposal, with a cute storyline that, while not especially original or inspired, was easy to follow and would be great for all ages. I really liked the sudden spin when we crashed onto Millennium Force and were fighting General Orgwar on the ride- that surprised me and I thought it was a great way to bring the silly outer space battle directly to Cedar Point. Several things did not make sense to me: 1) Why did you talk about the entryway being up some stairs to the switchback room, then back down to load? It seemed unnecessary to specify this; 2) why would you stop the ride vehicle at the end just to let the riders shoot at General Orgwar? This would require a long spacing period between ride vehicles being launched and would drastically reduce put-through for this potentially extremely popular ride. There must be another way to incorporate this scene, which would be great fun and a very original way to incorporate both shooting at the bad guy and riding MF. 3) Going back to the ride building. Even in parks like Cedar Point some attention is paid to how an attraction fits into the visual appearance of the park, especially where this ride would be located. It is right in the middle of the midway, the most historic part of Cedar Point, and putting a "silver, sleek-looking hanger" in its place would be completely out of place. Far better to maintain the exterior and rebuild the interior for the ride if you had to do that.

Andy Teoh Crystal Caverns

Your grasp of the technology required for this proposal is truly impressive. The backstory you created for this attraction was perfect for establishing a raison d'etre for this attraction. The location you chose was a good one, placing it (I believe) where the now-closed "Crypt" was. The building is still there, and I would have reused it as the entrance to the "mine", but that is a minor point. Your use of the suspended "mining bells" is an excellent use of a ride system not often utilized in a dark shooting ride, and the visuals of going deeper and deeper into a crystal-filled cavern system would be stunning just to look at much less interact with. I especially liked your use of both solid crystals and video crystals, and the introduction of crystal-encrusted creatures was very imaginative. My biggest problem was with the "mining claw" concept. I don't really understand how it works. Is it a physically real thing or just a video projection? If it is real, how does it interact with the video, and if it is video-projected, how does it interact with the solid crystals? I'm sorry, but repeated reading of the proposal didn't clear it up for me. Your incorporation of Ultra-D technology to make 3D glasses unnecessary would be a great benefit for those of us needing glasses to see what is happening.

Crystal Caverns would be a fun, accessible and popular attraction at Kings Island. It is so far in advance of their only other dark shooter, Boo Blasters on Boo Hill, as to make it look pathetic. This was a well-crafted proposal, especially strong in the visual descriptions of the action and adventure.

July 26, 2015, 6:05 PM

Sorry James, I wasn't familiar with the significance of the Colisuem.

July 26, 2015, 7:23 PM


In an interesting twist we had several ties this round. Dark rides are likely the most subjective theme park attractions, with many different opinions on what is or is not a dark ride as well as what is the best. As each judge voted independently and we all have very different amounts of theme park experience, many attractions got vastly different ratings from different judges.

Now, here are the results:

1st: Douglas Hindley - 23.8 points
2nd: Tie...Jeff Elliott & Andy Teoh - 21.3 points
4th: Keith Schneider - 20 points
5th: Tie...DPCC inc., Tyler Harris, & Juan Hamilton - 13.8 points
8th: Karina Bhattacharya - 7.5 points

I'm sorry, Karina, but you received the lowest score in this challenge and are hereby eliminated from Theme Park Apprentice 7. However, you will have a chance at redemption. If you think you can do better, I invite you to continue following the competition, either as a spectator or as an unofficial competitor, and to submit a proposal in the redemption challenge taking place at a later date.

For everyone else, here are the cumulative standings (note that due to one decimal reporting your scores may not add up perfectly):

1st: Douglas Hindley - 46 points
2nd: Keith Schneider - 41.1 points
3rd: Juan Hamilton - 40.4 points
4th: Jeff Elliott - 34.6 points
5th: Andy Teoh - 33.5 points
6th: Tyler Harris - 30.4 points
7th: Karina Bhattacharya - 26.4 points
8th: DPCC inc. - 24.9 points

Remember, this is still anybody's game. Now, Challenge 3 has already begun, so if you haven't done so it's time to read the challenge and get started.

For any further discussion of this challenge, please use the Chatter thread as this thread will not be regularly monitored beyond this point.

Edited: July 26, 2015, 7:37 PM

Juan, I'll get over it ;+) Really, it is one of the oldest buildings at Cedar Point. Built in 1906, the ground floor has been used in many ways over the years, most recently as a huge video arcade (and a great place to stay dry and spend money when it's raining) but the first floor is a huge Ballroom, decorated in Art Deco style and very impressive (if a little bit frayed on the edges). The building also houses many Cedar Point offices, not to be confused with the separate building nearby that houses Cedar Fair offices. Cedar Fair gets a beautiful, new three story building. Cedar Point gets stuffed into the corners of the Ballroom, literally. The General Manager of Cedar Point has a door in his office that opens right into the Ballroom- I've seen it. When you see the Coliseum in person, and if you look closely, you'll notice that the entire building, including all of the domes, are made of wood, and that the red domes are usually streaked with white seagull droppings. Cedar Point is in the middle of Lake Erie- you're going to have seagulls! The building is so iconic that removing it would be almost unthinkable. Funny thing is that a few years ago there was a rumor- and Cedar Point fans live for rumors- that the building was going to be gutted and a dark ride installed. Didn't happen. They really need the Ballroom space- it is huge, and is used throughout the season for meetings and for marching bands to meet up at, and during HalloWeekends as the only place in the park large enough for all of the Screamsters to get into costume and makeup. I didn't really take offense, but if you ever make it up to the North Coast let me know and I'll take you inside it.

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