The dark ride and roller coaster combination is something that has been gaining popularity recently. A combination of something that is typically considered a family friendly ride and the more extreme attraction designed for teens and adults is a brilliant idea to get everyone to ride. The rides of this category that come to mind are the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Walt Disney World and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts in Universal Studios Florida. Both are relatively new and great additions to the dark ride and roller coaster combination.
The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train which just opened last year is a very unique experience. The ride gets into a minecart and is taken on a trip through the mines of the dwarves from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. While the ride is not extremely fast and doesn’t quite compare to other Disney roller coasters such as California Screamin’ or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, but its family friendly enough, while at the same time roller coaster fans will still be able to enjoy it. The ride starts out on a track in typical roller coaster fashion and then goes into the mines where it becomes a visual experience like a dark ride. Inside you see animatronics of the seven dwarves at work. The outside track is the roller coaster (although occasionally it stops for the rider to see a visual) and the dark ride is when the track leads the rider into the mine. The ride does a good job of combining the two themes together.
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is another roller coaster and dark room combination ride that also opened last year. In this ride, riders experience an escape from Gringotts bank and get caught in the middle of a thrilling battle between Voldemort and a dragon.
While this ride shares the same concept as the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, this ride does it a bit different. Instead of being a roller coaster and then switching to a dark ride, this is an indoor roller coaster with a dark ride simulation using projections and moving vehicles. It’s a great way of combining the two types of rides and blending it into one.
While there aren’t many yet at this point, the future looks bright for people who enjoy these rides. It seems they are becoming quite trendy among theme parks and with the success of these two recent ones we are sure to see more soon.
Theme park enthusiast, world traveler, film and animation buff