The birth of Disney's dark ride


Finally convinced my daughter to go on Pirates and the Mansion, insisting (again) they are not scary in the give-you-nightmares sense… she was blown away by the magic of the rides - the same magic that has captivated me for almost 40 years since my first visit…

One passage in this article stands out above the others: that the Imagineers would have been a part of Maker culture. Such truth, yes, but I think they WERE - at least, they were instrumental in, well, MAKING Makers.

And is there any other theme park out there that inspires that?

One of the scariest dark ‘rides’ was the extraterrorestrial alien encounter before they toned it down.
You’re strapped in a chair seeing a teleporation demo when they beam in a flying HR Giger type alien.
The Alien breaks out of it’s containment cylinder and then the lights go out. Almost total darkness. You hear it flying around you and feel the air from it’s wings, you feel the floor compress under it’s weight as it’s behind you breathing hot air on your neck…a flick of it’s tongue on your neck.
Up stairs on the cat walk a technician with a flashlight is trying to restore power and he gets killed— dripping a warm liquid on you.

I still have marks on my arms when I took our 9 yo nephew to that one. They did a great job of giving an unseen entity realistic sense of presense and weight.

They had a lot of complaints about it and refurbished it with a comical Sitches Great Escape thing which I haven’t seen.

—Edit: I had to look this up to see if my recall was correct. Yup…right down to the hand crushing.

We went on the Stitches version last year. You can still see the bones of the old version–the seats look like the ones from the dropship in “Aliens” and so forth–and even though it’s supposed to be amusing it’s still sort of unsettling when the lights all go out. (Stitch does things like “burp” and you get a blast of chili-dog-scented hot breath from right behind you.) I can definitely see how it would be pants-wettingly terrifying with the Alien theme.

No mention of the Museum Of The Weird? Whatever…

One of the things about Stitch is that he’s Experiment 626.
Which was a Gill Scott Herron song that was popular in the late 78. Tuskeege 626 --the code for an experiment about Syphilis.

My new book covers the Museum of the Weird, of course - in fact, my extensive interview with Rolly Crump works its way through the entire book. This bit is simply an excerpt from the introduction.

This ride is about as “dark” as an episode of Scooby Doo.

The “dark” in dark ride is in reference to literal light, not to tone.

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