Thursday, February 6, 2014
Closer Resolution III: Family Coaster
This attraction plan pulls together several well-proven, but rarely well-integrated & -executed ideas:
1. A queue through a meticulously-detailed archaeological dig of an Indian temple in ruins, nestled in the tropical dry forests of the Terai. With booby traps, hidden artifacts, secret passages, special effects, the queue is an attraction in itself and sets the stage for the pay-off (the ride) (examples: IJA; extinct Dueling Dragons queue)
2. A brief pre-show chamber to further develop the story and build the excitement (examples: Stretching Room; ToT library).
3. A mine train coaster relying on visuals, quick dips and turns, proximity to the ground, foliage, rockwork - all to substitute for extreme drops, inversions or speed (example: Big Thunder)
4. The train zips through multiple show-scenes of burial chambers or animatronic animal lairs (examples: Jungle Cruise; Grizzly Mountain).
5. Landscaping: the backdrop and attraction must be enveloped in mature trees and other plantings to sell its age, the exotic locale and make it truly feel like a lost jungle adventure.
6. Where the mine train coaster tracks are above the ground (like the over-water lift hills) the steel superstructure is disguised as knotted bamboo scaffolding. From elsewhere in the land, the entire attraction (not just the temple parts) thereby enhances the wider story and feeling of being transported (as opposed to diminishing it, as a naked coaster track or showbuilding would do).
7. Possibly add the novelty of the swinging cars of the 7DMT (an attraction that looks to beautifully demonstrate the design theory espoused here).
The rarity and value of an attraction of this sort is the sum of its individual parts. The goal is to minimize any breakages in the illusion that the visitor is an Indiana Jones or Allen Quartermain-type explorer in an exotic, pulp adventure world. My belief is that holistically-presented, magnificently-themed (but modest in scale or tech) experiences trump revolutionary thrills or hi-tech darkrides that lack the same level of theme-ing, inside or out.
Of course, the best situation is to have both, but ride systems and their requirements need to be secondary to theme, story, vistas and area aesthetics. The added costs of Tier I theme-ing, in this case, are off-set by the moderate size of the coaster and the time-lessness of the attraction (potentially very long-term shelf-life).
As always, the park should be the E-ticket.