Duel. Time to say goodbye?

Connor98

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Zadra
Big coasters every 5 years costs a huge amount of money too

But they seem to have the best return in terms of visitor numbers and profitability in the UK, maybe not universally across the globe but it seems that way here anyway. But back on topic regarding Duel, I could see them re-using the building it’s housed in one day, like with the Toyland tours/Charlie building, it’s just a case of what gets the most out of the space available I guess. Indoor coaster knowing merlin then:p
 

John

TS Member
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Steel Vengeance
Setting aside the cost argument, Merlin have shown they're not completely averse to building big new dark rides, particularly at the Legoland parks. Within the past 10 years Windsor has added Ninjago, haunted house and now has a flying theatre on the way. The new LL in New York is getting a trackless dark ride from ETF which must be a pretty sizable attraction and will be unique to the park, though presumably they'll be looking to roll it out elsewhere.

New large-scale dark rides are less common at the non-lego Merlin parks but still not completely unheard of - Ghostbusters at Heide Park for example shows they're willing to add a more modern take on the traditional dark ride. I don't know what the budget was for that one though, or if it's actually any good.
 

Matt N

TS Member
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Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
It’s also worth remembering that Merlin did green light Derren Brown’s Ghost Train for Thorpe Park, which was a very expensive dark ride indeed (rumoured budget was around £30m), so they’re definitely not averse to building major dark rides.

In terms of Ghostbusters 5D at Heide Park, I think it’s quite similar in terms of ride system to the Ninjago rides (except it uses regular guns instead of the hand gesture technology), and I seem to remember hearing £7m quoted somewhere as a budget for it, although I would have expected it to be higher given that it was built in a major year for Heide.
 

Connor98

TS Member
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Zadra
It’s also worth remembering that Merlin did green light Derren Brown’s Ghost Train for Thorpe Park, which was a very expensive dark ride indeed (rumoured budget was around £30m), so they’re definitely not averse to building major dark rides.

In terms of Ghostbusters 5D at Heide Park, I think it’s quite similar in terms of ride system to the Ninjago rides (except it uses regular guns instead of the hand gesture technology), and I seem to remember hearing £7m quoted somewhere as a budget for it, although I would have expected it to be higher given that it was built in a major year for Heide.

It's the fact Derren Browns Ghost train failed to increase visitor numbers, that i struggle to see merlin going down that route in the UK at one of their Major Thrill Parks, I don't think mid range dark rides are out of the question at all, as seen with the Lego Parks and Gangsta Granny. as much as i'd love it... I myself just can't see Towers adding something on a large scale when it comes to dark rides. I also imagine it would be harder to catch the public eye with a dark or flat ride when it comes to marketing it, unless it's an IP, A Big coaster however can be marketed much easier and therefore has a larger chance of recouping its investment. But i'd love to be proved wrong
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
I’m not sure if this has already been posted, but here’s a POV of the Haunted House from when it first opened that I thought might interest some of you:

One thing I notice is that it is substantially darker in there than it is now; I’m not sure if this is just the POV, but it seems like there were many periods where you could literally see nothing.
 
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Trooper

TS Member
I love dark rides but the last time I went on Duel, at a meet-up here during Scarefest, it was awful. Embarrassing. I hadn't been on it in years and regretted not using the gun about halfway around. It's about time... knock it down!
 
One thing I notice is that it is substantially darker in there than it is now; I’m not sure if this is just the POV, but it seems like there were many periods where you could literally see nothing.
That's just the camera making it look so dark, it's only VHS. But when it opened there was a high attention to detail with the lighting in getting the effect right, in the timings and the light level.

That video is an edit of summer 1992 and 93, even before then the original lighting had been changed to be darker and a bit more traditional, rather than whimsical (arguably the change didnt play to the ride's advantage).

In the years following the ride kept getting changed to be darker still and some of the scenery removed, so it became more ghost trainy. It mostly stayed that way as Duel until 2010 ish from what I remember, with some moments in total darkness.
 

OilyWater

TS Member
They bring in the crowds though. Dark rides not so much.
Ninjago seemed pretty successful at Legoland, although it did have the Lego brand. More and more family dark rides seem to be being built in the UK as parks move away from an endless cycle of coasters, although coasters probably still make the biggest impact. A redesign of Duel would probably not cost as much as a big new coaster too
 

Islander

TS Member
They bring in the crowds though. Dark rides not so much.
Is there any actual evidence to back this up though? It's banded around a lot by enthusiasts, but not seen concrete evidence of it before.

As has been mentioned, though it's not a typical park in some ways, Legoland Windsor has had multiple dark-ride investments recently, and continues to do so with the up-coming flying theatre, but they haven't taken one look at a Coaster for years. (...ok, except Duplo Dino Coaster this year. But I'd argue that barely counts lol)
 

Benjsh

TS Member
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Steel Vengeance
Is there any actual evidence to back this up though? It's banded around a lot by enthusiasts, but not seen concrete evidence of it before.

As has been mentioned, though it's not a typical park in some ways, Legoland Windsor has had multiple dark-ride investments recently, and continues to do so with the up-coming flying theatre, but they haven't taken one look at a Coaster for years. (...ok, except Duplo Dino Coaster this year. But I'd argue that barely counts lol)

Lego drags the crowd in not the rides persay. You're talking about the most popular toy brand in the world. It's just not the same thing.

They are still important attractions but unless they are of Universal / Disney standard I very much doubt they will bring in the crowds like say Wickerman or Smiler have done.
 

Matt N

TS Member
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Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
I don’t think dark rides are as popular as coasters, by any means. I think they are well-liked, but in this day and age, I do think that they are harder to market unless they have some kind of IP association, which is what gives off the impression that they are less popular.

In terms of other UK parks, DBGT failed to raise guest figures and doesn’t really seem to have resonated with the public hugely, and Sub-Terra wasn’t particularly successful either. Even Valhalla, which is (or at least was) critically acclaimed, is said to have not been as successful as hoped.
 

OilyWater

TS Member
In terms of other UK parks, DBGT failed to raise guest figures and doesn’t really seem to have resonated with the public hugely, and Sub-Terra wasn’t particularly successful either.
Becsuse they were both terrible examples of a dark ride. Thats like saying coasters aren’t popular because The Swarm didnt bring as many guests as hoped. Done right, a dark ride could be very popular with families and as an all round ride
 

Thameslink Rail

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Smiler
Becsuse they were both terrible examples of a dark ride. Thats like saying coasters aren’t popular because The Swarm didnt bring as many guests as hoped. Done right, a dark ride could be very popular with families and as an all round ride
I think Hex would be a good example of that and possibly the Dungeons.
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
I wouldn’t even say that Hex is that popular, personally; it never has a queue, despite not having a particularly high throughput, and it apparently got quite negative reviews from the public when it first opened. Even though it’s critically acclaimed for the most part among enthusiasts, a lot of people I know don’t like it because they find it boring.
 

OilyWater

TS Member
I wouldn’t even say that Hex is that popular, personally; it never has a queue, despite not having a particularly high throughput, and it apparently got quite negative reviews from the public when it first opened. Even though it’s critically acclaimed for the most part among enthusiasts, a lot of people I know don’t like it because they find it boring.
But Hex isnt a headline dark ride, it’s a small attraction and mostly walkthrough with a small ride at the end

We’re more talking about a big headline family dark ride. Other parks do them all the time and done right they’re very successful or useful to the park’s line up. It only seems to be in this country that big dark rides fell out of fashion in the last 15ish years.

Although more recent Gruffalo was popular wasnt it ?
 
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Thameslink Rail

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Smiler
But Hex isnt a headline dark ride, it’s a small attraction and mostly walkthrough with a small ride at the end

We’re more talking about a big headline family dark ride. Other parks do them all the time and done right they’re very successful or useful to the park’s line up. It only seems to be in this country that big dark rides fell out of fashion in the last few years.

Although more recent Gruffalo was popular wasnt it ?
Ah, I see what you are getting at. So something like Symbolica, Efteling or Piraten in Batavia, Europa? As for Gruffalo, yes that is quite popular, shame its at a park that's being run to the ground.
 
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