Posts Tagged ‘Dark Ride’

Yensid Containment Facility

August 19, 2019

(After studying so many dark rides through YouTube, I decided to try my hand at designing my own. This is a ride narrative of sorts and if I could draw well, I would probably provide imagery. The concept for ride combines my love of Disney with my love of the horror genre. I was inspired both by the older Disney dark rides and the haunted houses in Halloween Horror Nights at the Universal parks. However, this is intended to be no scarier than my experience on Snow White’s Adventures.)

Queue Area:

People step into a large cold, concrete room with a queue set up by chrome railings. There are conspicuous security cameras everywhere and accouterments suitable to a high-tech prison. There are wanted posters up for Disney Villains that have not been caught or are missing in action. Madame Mim, Chernabog, The Horned King, Shan Yu, Shere Khan, Yzma, Prince Hans, Turbo, and Frollo among others. Speakers detail various security rules “Please Remain Orderly”, “Please Report Any Magical Items to Security”, “This Yensid Facility Thanks You for Your Patronage”. At the end of the line, castmembers dressed as “security” waive people through magic detectors instead of metal detectors.

Preshow:

Riders sit on benches in a small theater. It is the same concrete as the queue area but somewhat warmer even before the lights dim. A movie starts up and on-screen is the Duke of Weselton (from Frozen).

Duke: Welcome to the Yensid Containment Facility. I am the Duke of Weselton and I have graciously stepped in to act as warden for this facility. As you well know, all of our worlds have been damaged or threatened at one point or another by villains. While our worlds share the core belief that there is good inside of everyone, some individuals refuse to embrace their good side. They fall into the shadows and never return. This facility was built for the capture and containment of those who would threaten our worlds. A place where they can safely go through the process of rehabilitation but cannot hurt those around them.

We here at Yensid strive to do our absolute best to keep the worlds safe from these rapscallions. I made an error of judgment once and helped hurt innocent people but my eyes have been opened to who the true villains are. This building suppresses the magical abilities of some of our more volatile residents. This is why you were searched for any magical items or effects. While we trust our very important visitors, we do not want to take any chances that would result in the villains getting released or you harmed. Otherwise, enjoy the tour and try to remain calm. You are in no danger. Repeat, no danger. Don’t panic.

The doors open and castmembers usher people into the ride vehicles.

The Ride Itself:

The ride takes people down a winding black stone corridor. That corridor is lined with thick, clear plastic panels. Next to each panel is a computer readout that blinks on as the vehicles approach. These readouts display the name of the villain and a specific warning.

The vehicles approach a line of three cells on the left.

Duke: Some of our villains are relatively harmless, mere humans. However, they are still dangerous. Do not underestimate them.

The first cell holds Cruella De Vil with the Warning: “Do not mention dogs”. Cruella sits on her bed, smoking her trademark cigarette. She looks at the riders and cackles and then sighs.

The second cell holds Stromboli with the Warning: “Watch for Strings”. Stromboli sits on the floor of his cell playing with two marionettes and paying no mind to the riders. Several marionettes dangle from the ceiling of his cell. He looks up and glares at the riders.

The third cell holds Gaston with the Warning: “Requires Five Dozen Eggs Per Day”. Gaston grunts as he does chin-ups on a bar from the ceiling of his cell.

Duke: See? Completely harmless.

There is suddenly a large sound from the right as Captain James Hook slams himself up against the glass of his cell with a shout of “Avast!”. He scratches his hook down the surface, making a squeaking sound. He laughs bitterly as he leers at the riders. “No Ticking Clocks Please”

Duke: Of course, some of them are more dangerous than others.

Immediately after that, The Queen of Hearts slams against the glass on the left. She repeatedly pounds her fists against the glass. She shouts “Off With Their Heads!” over and over. “Warning: Violent Temper”

Duke: Unfortunately, we are finding it hard to keep them from making new friends inside. Some people should not be friends.

The next two cells on the left are Doctor Facilier and Mother Gothel. “No Shadows” and “No Flowers”. Facilier extends his hand and his shadow appears in Gothel’s cell and extends a shadowy flower toward her. She touches her chest in surprise and emotion.

Duke: Others are busy making new enemies.

The next two cells on the right hold Scar and Clayton. Clayton sits on his bed and points his hand like a gun at Scar in the next cell. Scar growls and pounces at the wall and growls. Clayton laughs. Warnings: “Killer Lion” and “Great Shot’.

Duke: Now onto the more magical members of our little prison.

The next cell on the left contains The Evil Queen Grimhilde (from Snow White). Warning: “Do Not Take Food From Inmate”. The Queen, stuck in her Old Witch disguise, stares in her magic mirror. She holds a hand mirror limply in her right hand. The mirror signals toward the riders with his eyes. She touches her face and then abruptly turns from her mirror and smashes the hand mirror against the glass. She cackles and shouts “Don’t Turn Away, My Pretties!”

Duke: This place is so strong it can hold a god.

The next cell on the right contains Hades. Warning: “Talks Too Much”. Hades is chained to the floor with a device across his mouth, preventing his speech. As he sees the riders, his flaming hair turns red and he struggles. The chains tremble but do not break. A blast of hot air hits the riders.

Duke: The next two villains kind of defeated themselves but are still dangerous if released.

Two very small cells on the left each hold a single pedestal. They are for Oogie Boogie and Jafar.

A jar of luminescent bugs wriggles and shakes on a pedestal. Warning: “Do Not Open Jar”

An onyx lamp shakes on its pedestal and falls over and the lid opens to reveal Jafar’s angry eye which blinks and then narrows.

Duke: Don’t worry. They’re all under wraps. I’ll get somebody to pick that up.

On the right, Ursula’s tentacles slam against the glass repeatedly as she laughs. She is underwater. “Poor unfortunate souls!” she shouts. Her tentacles pulsate against the glass but it holds. Warning: “Do Not Tap on Glass”

Finally, the last cell on the left holds Maleficent. She stands in the middle of her cell and glares threateningly at the riders. She then raises her hands and starts to transform into a dragon, spewing smoke and green fire into her chamber. Once again, the riders feel the heat. Alarms start to go off.

Duke: Get them out of there! Do something!

The vehicles speed away from the cells and to the exit as riders hear a last echoing roar of a dragon. As they disembark, the Duke appears on a screen.

Duke: Thank you for taking our VIP tour, I assure you I have everything in hand.

The riders exit into, of course, a gift shop where they can buy Yensid Facility apparel and souvenirs.

Snow White’s (Scary) Adventures

August 5, 2019

Recently, I have been watching shows like Defunctland and Yesterworld and I am starting to branch out from there to like-minded shows. All of these shows delve into the history of theme parks and their rides and attractions. They mostly explore those attractions that have been removed from theme parks. As I explained in my review of Defunctland, they explore things through business decisions, tactical decisions, and creative decisions. All of these decisions effect each other, obviously. It has been endlessly fascinating and has inspired me a lot in my own creative choices. However, it has also served another purpose. It has let me know in great detail that my memory was correct when I was scared by rides.

I have spoken before on a particular nemesis of mine when I was a little child but let us set the scene a little more. There was a time before my brothers when I spent a lot more time taking joint vacations with my mom, my uncle, and my cousin, Brantley. Brantley is the oldest of the cousins on my mom’s side and over time she became a sort of leader when there were eventually six of us. Early on, there were just the two of us though and she and I were fast friends. I remember in particular a visit to New York City together and a visit to Walt Disney World. The visit to the Magic Kingdom (aka the real happiest place on Earth) had a lasting effect on me even though I cannot remember a lot of it now.

Disney parks are an experience as many of the good theme parks are. When you enter, you are entering another world, a self-contained city of pure entertainment. There is so much to do that you could spend a week there and not finish doing absolutely everything. It has always been this other world that I have been interested in and not exactly the actual thrill rides. I do not remember riding Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, or any of the particularly big rides. I know we went on some of the more sedate rides for sure. I vividly remember It’s A Small World and I am strangely not very annoyed by the song now because I was inoculated to it young. I think I almost remember going on the Jungle Cruise which seems like it would be a fun time. Journey Into Imagination is an attraction that has really stuck with me. I remember going on Pirates of the Carribean and getting scared while in line but once the ride started, I was enamored by the fun scenes unfolding in front of me.

When Disney created the Fantasyland section of the park, they wanted to adapt their movies based on popular fairytales. That is why the icons of Disneyland and Disney World are both storybook castles (Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella respectively). They ended up creating a bunch of rides based on Disney animated movies where the riders took the place of the main character of the movie. (Which ended up flooding the park with complaints). When I visited in the early nineties, one of those rides is the focus of this post: Snow White’s Adventure. While on the trip, at some point my mother and my uncle went off to do something. In order to occupy we children, we were put on one of the dark rides. How scary could Snow White be? Well, there is a reason why they changed the name of the ride to The Scary Adventures of Snow White in 1994.

The ride would not be so bad if they had simply followed the movie. Instead, they made it into a straight horror movie. Instead of only showing up once, the Wicked Witch (the Evil Queen in disguise) shows up tons of times. Her animatronic jumps out at the riders over and over, cackling with murderous glee. Among other things, she tries to offer the riders the iconic poison apple, tries to ram them with a minecart, tries to attack them head-on, and finally tries to smash them with a giant boulder. She is more like Wile E. Coyote than the sneaky witch she is in the movie. My little heart could not take it. The relentless witch and the ominous darkness of the ride sent me into full-on panic mode. I ended up covering my eyes and crouching down into the vehicle to make myself as small as possible. If I had even thought of coming back up for air, I swear I heard the witch cackle and call out “Don’t Cover Your Eyes, Sweetie!”

I swear that last part happened even though I cannot find it anywhere on the Internet. In fact, the first results in google are my own blog from a previous claim I made. Still, I have irrefutable and well-researched evidence that proves that the ride was scary. Many people have backed up those words and I have now seen plenty of footage. The witch was relentless and hilariously and needlessly aggressive. I look back and laugh now but I was pee-my-pants scared during that ride. I really believe that it was one of the formative moments that led to me being a fan of the Horror genre. Which is not to say that I was scarred by the experience but maybe somewhat inspired.

I do not blame the Imagineers who made the ride for making it scary. In fact, that was kind of a theme in Fantasyland. The rides there were scarier than the Haunted Mansion ever was. Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan’s Flight were originally also pretty scary. It is alright to scare children a bit. A little darkness shows them about the world in a safe way. I also don’t blame my mother as she had no idea and was there to hug me afterward and assure me that it was going to be alright. I was in the sunshine and everything was safe. At least, safe from the Evil Queen and all the imaginary horrors that would become an obsession later in life.


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