The pricey part of these things is always going to be the carts and the structure. But think of what you could do with Arduinos, MP3 players, and digital projectors.
Imagine a reality show where the participants -- teams of Makers -- make competing Dark Rides.
The "plant" would be the same. A standardized track and shack and set of cars. Maybe they could set up in an abandoned factory floor in Detroit.
I worked at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk as a ride operator for 3 years. My absolute favorite ride to run was the "Haunted Castle" dark ride. It was probably built in the 50's or 60's and almost all the "characters" were vintage. The best position on the ride out of three was the catwalk, where you made sure none of the guests were being idiots or trying to break things. They tore it down a few years back to rebuild from the ground up, but the new one is a poor replacement for the original. Nothings really scary with a lot of day-glow paint.
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