Discussion in 'European Parks and Attractions' started by Ted, 11th Jun 2012.
It didn't work on Shaman at Gardaland or Galactica at Alton Towers.
I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of VR in theme parks on the whole. I think the technology definitely has potential, but I’m not sure if retrofitting it onto existing coasters or the way they did it with DBGT is the best use of that potential, personally. If I had to pick, I’d probably say that my favourite use of VR in a theme park from what I’ve seen of it is Battle for Eire at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, where it was basically used as a new form of video technology for the park’s simulator and it looks to work very well. However, on the whole, I’m not really a huge VR fan as far as theme parks go.
My only experience with VR in a theme park (or at all, for that matter) is Galactica at Alton Towers, and I experienced the VR twice; once in 2016 and once in 2017. In 2016, I was actually somewhat impressed with it, but I wasn’t really a huge fan of it at all in 2017. Let’s just say, I enjoyed my first non-VR ride post-Galactica refurb in 2018 far more than either of my VR rides, and was very happy when the VR disappeared in 2019!
With regards to Derren Brown’s Ghost Train; I haven’t actually ridden it, so I wouldn’t like to judge it too much, but it doesn’t really look like my sort of attraction at all. Even excluding the VR, I’m also not hugely into the whole actor-led, forced participation dynamic that a lot of Merlin dark rides seem to follow, being an introvert who’s massively uncomfortable around scare actors. I can understand why someone would like it, if you’re more into forced participation and scare attractions than I am, but I personally prefer my more traditional dark rides to the more intimate, forced participation based experiences.
Define "didn't work".
I only got to do Galactica with VR once but it seemed good in theory, just with poor quality visuals. If they had a much better animation budget it could have been good. In contrast Crazy Bats was quality animation.
I found Galactica boring, it wasn’t helped by the poor quality video but it needed multiple videos so there was a variation.
The better VR experience I’ve had was on Dr Archibald at Winter Wonderland.
DBGT was one of those things where they hyped it so much it wasn’t possible to match the claims, the theming though is great! Again actors / VR quality let it down along with reliability.
From a financial perspective, I imagine Ghost Train has been anything but!
I can’t see the ghost train working for corona, yes you could limit the numbers so you spread out in the ore show, and also the train. However would say it will be classed as high risk to have goggles on, also in such a small environment. Also cons hardly have people rushing around to get on and off the train, with social distancing in place.
The turn around time for effective cleaning of the headsets - not the brief wipe down they receive as standard - pretty much prevents the operation of the ride. I did the calculations a while back for cleaning and transition between headset time, and with existing staffing levels, it would likely take around 40 minutes cleaning per cycle. 20 minutes of that being at the mid scene.
Sadly it just seems moving the attraction ever closer to the scrap heap to me.
Question is just when did they do cleaning on DBGT?
When they make you wait looking at the train, you see the other people get off and then you go straight on which leaves zero time to clean the headsets (otherwise you’d see them cleaning while you sat down)
In theory I believe it is done both times guests exit. They certainly have the wipe container visible most times at the main station.
However, given the turn around time you've mentioned, it does make me question what level of cleaning they actually receive. I know personally I've picked a headset up caked in what I hope was bronzer.
The problem with with attractions that absolutely rely on VR is what if it ends up not working? Would be very expensive to replace and what would happen if that wasn't possible?
I would suspect if they decide to bail on the VR they might try to simplify the train scenes, possibly something like replacing the train windows with screens. It’d probably be a lot cheaper to run and manage as you can do away with the whole cleaning procedure. If you were to do that and have actual actors inside the trains along with this it might still have a good effect.
I think there’s certainly potential to rework the attraction into something simpler while retaining the same basic premise. Perhaps when the licence with Derren Brown comes to an end they might do something like this and try and relaunch the attraction for a low/mid investment year.
I think the way forward is to turn this into a Hogwarts Express style attraction by replacing this windows with screens and adding some 4D effects onto the trains such as air blasts, leg ticklers and water sprays etc. Once in the dark it would create the same effects as Sub-Terra did which did work pretty well in the end.
Yep, worked so well that the attraction is now SBNO...
There're already leg ticklers on DBGT, but they haven't been used since the first iteration. water effects wouldn't be practical to implement - how'd you feed a water supply to a moving ride vehicle?
Using a device known as a tank
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Where would you suggest locating that, how'd you top it up, how'd you ensure sufficient water circulation to prevent legionella etc.?
No idea but that would possibly be the only way to do such an effect.
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"No idea" - hence my thought that it wouldn't be practical lol
A simpler suggestion would be to sit on the train, pop 50p into a slot and let it rock about from side to side.
It's SBNO because they made such a bad job on it in the first place that word had already spread that it wasn't worth riding.
Half of Merlin's attractions are or were SBNO, that doesn't mean they're not any good.
Plus, I'm pretty sure if trains and planes can manage to have water on them, then a simple water spray feature could be implemented, or replaced by other effects instead.
In other news the Black Mirror Labyrinth maze will be delayed until 2021.
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