Black Hole

The tent went blue and gained the (lovely) Jules Verne station interior in 1996. This reflected the initial plans for Oblivion to carry a similar theme, perhaps altered due to marketing pressure, or to avoid comparison to Discoveryland over at the Mouse House in Paris.


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The inside was redesigned in 96, but the tent stayed green & yellow until Oblivion construction I'm pretty sure, I can't find a good photo of it now but you can just about see it still green here.

The transformation looked fantastic. The inside was brilliant, Alton Towers is still missing something with such lovely look & design like that now. Very different style to the rest of X Sector but was cloaked very well by the austere outside appearance and really used to enjoy it.


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Yep, the inside was rethemed in '96 (with awesome mist inside), but the canopy wasn't rethemed on the outside until '98.
I still pine for the Black Hole and hope AT have an indoor, dark thrill coaster at some point in the future.


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Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
I think Black Hole, whilst an iconic ride from the past, would be out of touch these days.

It had a dire capacity and poor layout.

I loved those days and of course, would love to see a new generation indoor coaster back at the park.


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Although I'm not overly fanatical about dark rides (compared to some people on here), I love dark coasters and it's a shame I never got to experience Black Hole. I could always go to Sweden and ride it, but I imagine it wouldn't be the same in the daylight :(


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It was pretty cheap hardware, obviously very dated but as an experience was really entertaining for me even in its final years. So I totally agree a better dark coaster in a building with similar cool presence (but obviously not actually a cheap tent anymore) and a great style inside would be fantastic for Alton Towers.


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I would take a cheap tent over another shipping container/warehouse. At least tents can look appealing.
Warehouses/show buildings are ideal for dark rides. Some of the best dark rides in the world employ them, you just have to dress them up correctly if you want that immersive feel.

Disney parks are essentially lots of warehouses placed next to each other, but you'd never know.


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I do love a good show building. One that doesn't look like a B&Q so probably none in the UK for the last decade.

Black Hole was a rare example of a tent (well, a blue dome, I guess it worked because it didn't look exactly like a tent) working really well for a particular area's look.


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I'll always remember that first drop after going up for what seemed like an eternity in a circular motion.

So good.


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The Smiler
I wonder what happened to the carts - would they of gone with the ride?
Does anyone remember going on Black Hole in its first 4 or so years and remember how it changed in the 80s?

It had a 'space station' themed onload which looked pretty good for its time, plus some blacklit scenery in the ride area like the hanging rocks and spacemen. But I'm not sure if this was original or added when it became 'New Black Hole' around 1988? (This was when the coaster was refurbished to take dual cars)

Originally it also had an indoor corridor with things to spot through windows. Does anyone remember what the effects were? This indoor queue was closed sometime between 93-96 and a new queue built outside.

Later it got redesigned with the Jules Verne style which is how I remember it.

Here are some pictures of the old queue on my Facebook page:
I can't help with all the details requested, but the (lovely) Jules Verne style arrived in 1996, a precursor to how X-Sector was initially planned to be styled.


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Didn't smell as bad indoors as the Space Invader queue in Blackpool.
Monotone grey with an eighties go faster stripe in red. Zig zag ramp and stairs.
Revamp was much nicer, but wetter on a rainy day.


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I remember coloured spot lights in the ceiling with a space centre tone of voice over sound track which made you feel that you are about to be launched into space, I can't remember the exact words, but if my memory served me correctly, it was something along the lines of "T minus X seconds to launch"

Again in my memory serve me correctly, there were no steps inside, it was all slope. I personally preferred the original set up as oppose to the Jules Vern revamp.

The ride itself was better. You started off going up the inside spiral lift with a couple of space men hanging in the middle with the music from Holst The Planet Mars playing. For first time riders, you never really knew that you were going on a rollercoaster, you just think that it was going to be a tame dark ride.

The cars had no restraints. I believe that the original cars only held 6 people 2 pairs sitting in line. Later years they joined two cars together to hold double the amount of people. Don't hold me to this, my memory is very vague on the cars.

The ride inside was in totally dark. The darkness meant that you lost all sense on where you were, which way up you were (even thought it never went upside down), gave the illusion that the first drop was steeper, deeper and faster than it really was.

For me the ride got ruined when they started to light up the inside of the ride.
The cars had no restraints. I believe that the original cars only held 6 people 2 pairs sitting in line. Later years they joined two cars together to hold double the amount of people. Don't hold me to this, my memory is very vague on the cars.
Thanks for your memory of the ride. Yeah you're memory is right, it was a Jet Star 2 model so originally had single cars, but later the coaster got refurbished to have dual cars like the newer Jumbo Jet model (the Beast was this model)