Sunday, October 3, 2010

Disney and the Dark Ride

Dark rides are classic Disney park establishments. From Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (Sorry, WDW) to Pinocchio's Daring Journey to everyone's favorite, Peter Pan's Flight, dark rides make the Disney Parks what they are.

Concept art for The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure 
Part of the charm of the dark rides is that they take riders back to the day the park was open, as most of the  Fantasyland dark rides in Disneyland have been there since day one. The rides not only take us through the scenes of the movie, they take us through the world that Walt saw. All the classic dark rides are of movies Walt was there to produce, direct or have some hand in.

Concept art from The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure
Which leads us to the modern dark rides. In a day and age where Disney parks have roller coasters that go from 0-55 in three seconds, can drop you in countless different schemes, or give you a unique experience with dinosaurs or Dr. Jones every ride, taking a trip through black-light painted wooden scenes can be less than thrilling.

Modern dark rides, such as Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and of course, the newest and yet to be opened The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure.

Monsters, Inc. and Winnie the Pooh are space fillers and nothing more. They're great for the kids and due to the success of the two movies the rides are based on, will always find an audience. But they're one-and-done attractions.

From the information that has come out about the new Little Mermaid dark ride, the vehicles are supposed to be a omnimover (doom buggy style) take on the overhead track Peter Pan ships. If they can pull this off right, it should provide a unique experience that modern dark rides are not known for. We'll just have to see how the imaginears lay the scenes out.

Are you excited to see one the most revered modern Disney animated films be brought to life via dark ride, or do you feel it's just going to be another space filler? Will they keep you coming back like Peter Pan's flight or are they a one-and-done ride like Pinocchio's Daring Journey?

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