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Screens on dark rides; what do you think of them?

Matt N

What do you think of screens on dark rides?  

14 members have voted

  1. 1. What do you think of screens on dark rides?

    • Like them
    • Indifferent/Don't mind them
    • Hate them
    • Depends on the context
    • Undecided

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Hi guys. As technology advances, screens are growing ever more present within dark rides. Initially, it was Universal and Disney who pioneered the use of screens on rides, but regional parks eventually cottoned on, and most new dark rides built nowadays have some form of screen within them. However, screens are somewhat of a contentious topic among enthusiasts, with many complaining that their use has killed creativity within dark rides. So my question to you today is; how do you feel about screens on dark rides? Do you hate them? Do you not mind them? Do you like them? Or are you undecided? Or does it depend on the context?


Personally, I don't mind screens at all. In fact, when fused with physical theming as part of a more varied ride experience, I really like them, and I do think they can add a certain something to a ride when used well!


Now I don't rank dark rides to any huge extent, but if I did, I'd say that a big percentage of my top dark rides use screens to at least a certain extent. To be honest, off the top of my head, I'd probably say my top 5 dark rides are Tower of Terror, Gringotts, Spider-Man, Transformers and Forbidden Journey, in that order. 4 of those 5 use screens to at least some extent, and 3 of those 5 are quite heavily 3D-based, although they do have a lot of physical set pieces and effects as well. I love a traditional dark ride with physical sets & animatronics as much as the next person, but to be honest, I do think that the 3D element does add a certain level of dynamicness to those rides that I really like! However, I do think that for me to really love a screen-based dark ride and rank it in that top tier, it's got to be a tracked ride system of some form that fuses both screens and physical theming; I don't think a ride that is literally just a screen and nothing else (I'm thinking of things like Simpsons, Star Tours, Sky Lion, and Flight of Passage amongst others here) is really something that would be able to rank in my top tier of dark rides, as much as I do really enjoy some rides of that type. I personally prefer the tracked ride systems that have a bit of physical theming in there alongside the screens, and they're the screen rides that rank among my top dark rides.


So basically, I'd actually say that I like screens on dark rides on the whole! Don't get me wrong, I love a good physically themed dark ride with physical sets and animatronics as much as the next person, and a dark ride certainly doesn't need screens for me to like it, but I don't personally identify with the hate towards screen technology that some harbour; I do think screens can really add something to a ride when used well!


But what's your opinion on the contentious topic of screens?

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To me it depends on use and if they are combined well with physical sets


A dark ride like Pirates over at Shanghai disney looks a masterclass in the correct use of screens as they blend well with the sets. The same can be applied to the potter dark rides at Universal.


On the flip side, rides like Skull Island which is 95 percent screens with an amazing Kong animatronic I find very lazy. I wouldn't want dark rides going down this route.


Hope that explains my stance on them!!

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Much the same with me really - I quite like screens on dark rides, especially when properly combined with physical sets.


I do understand people's issue with screens though. Some rides really do rely too heavily on them, and I do sometimes think they can take away from what a dark ride should be. I haven't been on Skull Island, but it looks almost as disappointing as Fast and Furious, which was an absolute joke.


When used subtly though they're great - one ride that impressed me was Revenge of the Mummy - that uses physical sets and fire etc, along with subtle screens that are only used briefly to simulate scarab beetles coming out of the cracks in the wall - brilliant.

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Thinking about this made me realise that most (possibly all) of the screen-heavy dark rides I've done have been interactive (ie shooters). And as I enjoy shooters, I've got positive experiences with dark rides with screens.


But at the same time, the ones which are better are the ones where the use of screens is justified and is blended in with real world environments.


I certainly think that more traditional dark rides can benefit from screens if done correctly. I would be more cautious to experience a dark ride which is screen, blank, screen, blank. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The best dark rides combine screens with physical effects and animatronics. I find rides that are screen based only incredibly lazy (even though I know they technically aren't). Whereas something like Forbidden Journey or Rise of the Resistance really appeal to me because they use all areas of technology to create the experience.



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Depends on the attraction.


I always find the best dark rides try to entice you into particular settings. Whether that’s the ballroom in Symbolica, the battle scene in Pirates. Or the likes of attractions such as Rise Of The Resistance or Forbidden Journey, which I’m yet to experience.


Screen-based rides can be great when done right and the best ones use scenery, effects and even animatronics in order to achieve this. However they can come across as a cheaper (cost cutting) alternative to classic rides, where cheap screens are plastered over the ride instead of building set pieces. 

Hopefully the future of dark rides will involve a combination of screens, set pieces and animatronics. 

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