In a (usually) ever moving world, parks change and update. Whether that be building attractions themed to blockbuster movies, the latest children’s book or original ideas. whilst new attractions rise, old ones will naturally and unfortunately fall. Due to age, redevelopment or reasons unknown. On the ever-growing list, here’s 10 attractions I wished to have experienced.
1/ Pirate Adventure- Drayton Manor Theme Park
I have quite a soft spot for dark rides, especially those with a Pirate theme. Pirate Adventure was one of several dark rides to open, taking a spin on the “POTC“Format. For example one scene apparently features a goat instead of a dog. It was one of the biggest park attractions at the time.
It closed around 2015 time on the grounds it was getting repairs, however never reopened. This was eventually confirmed by park management. In 2020 much of the ride’s props and scenery were sold at an auction, putting a final nail to the coffin.
I was naturally disappointed I never got to experience this, especially considering I first visited in 2016. It was likely amongst one of the most distinctive and characteristic UK dark rides in it’s time.
2/ Transdemonium- Parc Asterix
It probably wasn’t the best or most technologically Advanced dark ride, but looked among of the most quirky and original ones out there. Opening in 2003 at a cost of 6 million Euros, it was the park’s only dark ride at the time. The ride system was manufactured by UK based WGH Transportation with scenery completed by Farmer Studios, who worked on attractions such as Terror Tomb at Chessington.
It’s underground queue and mix of medieval and circus theming, helped it’s unique appeal. Including some random yet hilarious effects such as a random train horn and the exit going out through a demon-like creature. It is believed to not be the best kept Of attractions, with temporary Halloween theming kept up amongst a determination of speed over time.
In 2019 Transdemonium didn’t open and quietly disappeared off the map. It was believed the attraction was closed for renovations and would reopen for Halloween or in 2020. However park management eventually confirmed it’s permanent closure and started gutting the former attraction. The former space was used for the park’s winter event to house numerous temporary attractions.
Missing this Dark ride (so narrowly too) seems one that has hit the most and summarises many things that were happening around that time.
3/ Duelling Dragons/Dragon Challenge- Universal Islands Of Adventure
Once an Orlando icon, but quickly falling from grace. I think the original theme and setting looked great, from it’s compelling backstory to amazing queue-line. Sure, they didn’t have the best layouts but their (once) unique duelling element made for something of a special ride.
It’s clear the ride lost it’s elements over the years. The Potter re-theme resulted In most of the original theming being removed and never properly fitted in. What’s more, an incident meant it could never duel again. With lessened appeal and another Potter addition planned , it was clear the ride’s days were numbered.
In late 2017 Universal would slay the dragons. Both coasters were scraped, making them the first B&M coasters in history to do so (if you don’t count Hulk’s re-track). I may be a bit of a Cred hunter, but missing on these unique inverts is definitely a disappointment especially considering my hopeful dreams to visit Orlando oneday!
4/ Knightmare- Camelot Theme Park
I never visited Camelot Theme Park, but heard it was an interesting mixed bag of a park. One of the top draws to the place (for it’s latters years at least) was the installation of Knightmare, a relocated Schwarzkopf from Japan. Sure it lacked much of the impressive facade from it’s former home but was still an impressive attraction for the park it was in.
In 2012 the park closed down and a number of attractions were relocated. Knightmare unfortunately wasn’t and despite rumours of buyers, stayed put where nothing happened. At the start of 2020, the rusting coaster was demolished putting to rest any hope of relocation. It’s such a shame that such a unique coaster ended up like this, let alone one in the U.K. Schwarzkopf coasters are a dying breed.
5/ The Great Movie Ride- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
One of Disney’s many ambitious projects of the eighties was to open a ‘’Movie themed’’ Park. This would not only fulfil original ideas of a Movie pavilion for Epcot but prepare Disney for it’s increase of competition with Universal opening a year later.
Situated within a replicant building Of the Los Angeles TCL Chinese Theatre, the ride’s content was just as grand as it’s exterior. Featuring a mixture of live acting, set pieces and animatronics. Mary Poppins and The Wizard Of Oz were amongst the films included.
The ride was cut (no pun intended) from the lineup due to the park’s shift and redevelopment, where things shifted away from movie making and more towards entering the world of movies. A Mickey Mouse is a great fit, however it is still such a shame a former grand attraction has been removed, especially being a vocal part to the park when originally opening.
6/ Big Bad Wolf- Busch Gardens Williamsburg
It’s such a shame these coasters are a dying breed now, especially given how fun they can be. The Big Bad Wolf was definitely amongst the better models, from it’s beautiful scenery, interaction remarkable drops. Those POVS make the ride out to be Vampire on steroids.
Hearing such an iconic ride being torn down was naturally saddening, especially at a time when Vampire was the only suspended coaster I’d experienced. Verbolten looks an adequate successor, but it’s greatest weakness being it isn’t the Big Bad Wolf.
7/ Volcano The Blast Coaster- Kings Dominion
I remember seeing this coaster on countless documentaries and was instantly fascinated by this coaster due to it’s uniqueness. It’s volcanic theming and the fact it was the first LIM
launched inverted coaster. It seemed quite a signature attraction for the park.
The ride appeared to have numerous reliability issues and closed around 2018 to never reopen. In 2019 it was demolished, whilst I’ve been able to ride some of featured documentary rides, this wasn’t one of them!
8/ Eagles Fortress- Everland
Another suspended coaster for the list. If you thought I was obsessed with these attractions, you’d be right!
Less is known about this one than others, but it was believed to be highly unique within a stunning location. The ride’s downward hill position certainly enhanced it’s experience. The attraction became SBNO
in 2009. Whilst the reasons are unknown, it is likely as a result of age and maintenance. The ride was demolished six years later. A shame for such a unique looking coaster!
9/ Back To The Future Ride- Universal Studios Orlando
The Back To The Future Ride was probably amongst the most popular and iconic attractions at Universal parks back in the day. I remember hearing about this ride in primary school, years before I became a proper park enthusiast.
Whilst it would probably look dated now, it’s such a shame this unique attraction was shuttered especially being such a big fan of all the movies. As much of a fan I am of The Simpson’s (which replaced it), it’s replacement looks somewhat inferior and appealing to what was there before. Least the train theming still exists.
10/ The Never Ending Story Rapids- Movie Park Germany (formerly Warner Bros Movie World)
1995-2004 Or Earlier
Never Ending Story was one of the biggest fantasy films of the eighties. Although I only watched it for the first time 3/4 years ago, I instantly became obsessed with the movie from it’s unique and provoking themes.
When Movie Park Germany opened in 1996, it was owned by Warner Bros, who own the rights to the movie and built an attraction based on the film series. Comprising a rapids ride and pre-show, the attraction passed through numerous scenes depicting the settings and characters from the movies including the iconic luck dragon Falcon!
At somepoint around 2004, the park was sold and rebranded, resulting in many rides being re-themed. This was one of them, resulting in a similar (yet watered down) theme with the pre-show removed completely. Whilst traces of the original may have remained, the attraction was fully are-themed in 2018, resulting in any final traces heading towards the nothing.
Whilst the new theme has been done rather well, there is a part of me that is disappointed it never got to ride with the original theme. But like all rides on this list, it shall remain a wonder I never had the experience to try.
Thank you for reading. What defunct attractions does everyone wish they’d got to experienced? Feel free to comment below.