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Dan_Rush

The 5th Dimension

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Wow so it really looked absolutely nothing like it does today (well, obvious different theme.. but I thought there'd be noticable things).

Thanks ElectricBill!

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I really am a huge fan of Douglas Adams' work, and reading the original script for the ride, it's as if I'm GLAD it wasn't the final script! It's a bloody masterpiece as it is in text form! :D

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Well, there is DEFINITELY some Douglas Adams feel to it at some points! :)

In reality the ride is a little trip into a computer where jolly, fun, adventures happen. Its all rather innocent - almost boring, and under no circumstances would the management of Chessington be prepared to allow its paying customers to be eaten by any giant green slavering alien form, with laser beam eyes and razor teeth, even if we were all scared witless by it, which we aren't because it doesn't exist. So no need to worry on that score. Nor will you be killed by robots. Other things you don't need to worry about are this noise -

 

(terrible roar)

 

... which has been dealt with and won't be troubling anybody any more.

 

(even worse and longer terrible roar)

 

Just ignore it.

 

Now I want you all to look at the floor, or each other for there is nothing to see on all the TV monitors whatsoever.

 

These TV monitors have nothing to do with our ride and are not showing the visitors who just went on our ride a few minutes ago.

Please do not press backwards, but move forward through the aisles in a happy, orderly manner, and once we have cleaned the slime from all the seats, we will soon have you on your way

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Wow, interesting video, it's amazing how much creativity and quirky gimmicks were made during the park's early (magical) days.

Such a shame the ride closed long before I could've ever ridden it.

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:wub:  :wub:

 

On my first trip to Chessington, 5th Dimension was the most memorable thing I rode that day. If it was still around now it would be dated beyond believe but at the time it just seemed wonderful.

 

Thanks for the link Coasterdude (via Neilfever)  ;)

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The end section of the video does confuse me though. Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't the track playing at the end be the first track (below), because I'm sure the one playing in the video is from disembarking the ride:

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That first track sounds like an 80's childrens cartoon lol. So happy and cheesy.

 

Too bad this ride was removed a year before my first visit. It looks more interesting and unique than the Terror Tomb it was replaced with. That guitar finale good god...

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That first track sounds like an 80's childrens cartoon lol. So happy and cheesy.

 

Too bad this ride was removed a year before my first visit. It looks more interesting and unique than the Terror Tomb it was replaced with. That guitar finale good god...

I never got to experience the original Terror Tomb, but it must have been better than looking at a snake doing the exact same thing for two minutes.

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Terror Tomb was amazing, one of the most cinematic dark rides around. Such a shame the budget was cut hugely during construction meaning some fantastic ideas were compromised, then its great animatronics weren't so well maintained and so 'dated' quickly.

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It's only just struck me how 90% of terror tomb was recycled to be used in the Tomb Blaster re theme in 2002, which means much of the additions are over 20 years old.

It shows how lazy things got around that time when the only new additions were a giant snake and lasers.

5th dimension & terror tomb definitely look superior rides to what we've got now (from their time).

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All the sets from Terror Tomb and most animations (except for the advanced animatronics that were removed) are still there now. With Tomb Blaster they got the same studio that made Terror Tomb to build the giant cobra and hired a composer to produce new music. That was pretty much it. I *think* parts of the awesome rock guitarist were cannibalised into the slow moving, dorky mummy with a laser that you meet in the spike room.

 

A whole lot more was removed in the redesign than what was added.

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Preview:

 

The past year I have been producing a documentary series on classic dark rides in the British theme park industry. Part 1 is now published, documenting the story of The 5th Dimension. Featuring new interviews and a lot of newly discovered archive material with the team that built it in 1987.

 

All the original concept drawings were discovered, music, SFX & vocal tapes, and further archives were uncovered and restored as part of this project. Enjoy!

 

Please watch via the link to watch the FULL video with best video & audio playback.

 

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Utterly sublime. Chessington was the theme park that got me into rides and rollercoasters and my earliest theme park memory was that first room with Zappomatic. Too know that there was a heart and soul behind Fifth Dimension really makes me feel honoured to have ridden it. Although in relative terms it was a complete failure as a ride, it's humbling and fantastic to know that as a show it was revolutionary, cutting edge and completely ahead of its time. You can tell that massive lessons were learnt from the way Fifth Dimension was done when Bubbleworks opened in 1990.

 

I applaud your video EB, it has shone a light on a ride that has pretty much been forgotten and a ride that very few people got the chance to experience.

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Thanks again Mark, not only me who would enjoy reading that, I wish there was an easy way for the 5D team to see their work is well loved, even retrospectively. Knowing them I'm sure it would be really quite something after all the work they put in and how hard they pushed to make these rides great.

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Thanks so much for creating this.

I have never realised how crucial & prominent the Fifth Dimension was in setting the bar & standard for dark rides and Themepark park standards at the time. A group of ride creators building a Disney style dark ride on limited budget & resources yet trying to obtain a similar level of magic is remarkable, from things such as lights in pipes to replicate space, the creative Mack transit system (which still exists) to the swamp scene even.

The changes just a year later mentioned is interesting, in the way they tried to enhance the ride with re-recoded dubs, especially some of the suggestions of him using different accents amongst replacing the giant Gorg at the end, it's just such a shame the ride was such a technical struggle and it didn't receive the understanding by the gp as well as first hoped.

The designers of this ride definitely had more creativity in their fingers than the current ones have in their whole body and makes me disappointed I never got to experience this amazing sounding ride in what was likely the golden age of Uk theme parks.

I'm assuming Layout wise:

The lights to space was where the boulder is now

The zappomatic scene is where the mummies shooting scene is now

The Gorgs & ice are where the tomb shooting bits are now

The Swamp was where the Sphinx is now

The giant Gorg scene is where the snake finale is now.

Such an interesting watch.

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You're welcome, glad it was a nice surprise for you how extensive the 5D was.

It's actually not as easy as you'd think to compare the old scenes to what they are now, as the Tomb sets were much smaller (except the fire pit which goes much deeper than the old swamp set) and the space divided into different areas.

5D was a much longer ride time, it stopped 3 times instead of 2 and slowed down for the swamp scene.

What you don't see in the video (because there's no footage of it actually working) is the full Snow Battle scene which was the second stopping point, Zap would race along in front of the cars as smoke explosions fired off all around. A spaceship or asteroid would also appear to land in the background. That's all where the weird laser mummy is now (spike room), which only uses about half the space the snow scene did.

Zap's speech was at the top of the ramp where the broken snakes effects are now.

The building is giant.

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Commenting on an old thread here but it seems pointless starting a new one when this is relevant to the original discussion. After watching the 5th Dimension Documentary on Vimeo, it has really rekindled my interest with the ride.

 

This might be one for you @Wumbamillio, are there anything in the way of remnants of the Fifth Dimension (Other than the actual Mack transit system) in Chessington at all? I have for years been looking around in the Tomb but Farmer Studios did such a good job that it really is unrecognisable from the original ride. It has been much easier to find back of house things in the building since 2016 due to the way that the sets are absolutely flooded with light but it still doesn't leave any real clues.

 

What ever happened to the large open plan queue line with the TVs? I've been wondering if this is still behind the façades or if I am mapping the building out incorrectly.

 

Do we know if the stops are in the original places still? Because the first stop in the Tomb seems to be a lot later on than when you'd originally meet with Zapomatic. I think I've read somewhere (might have even been here) that the turning is built into the transit system so this is still all in the original places.

 

Are any of the Zapomatic's stored around Chessington still or have they just been thrown out like the destructive Imperial Leather Bubbleworks replacement?

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Chessington holds nothing of The 5th Dimension at all, all that's left of it in the ride that I ever saw when I worked in the building was an old fire alarm system still labelled with the 5th Dimension scenes and some rocky ravine scenery from the swamp that was kept as you enter the trommel.

 

The stopping positions were changed - where the snake pit is now, this was Zappomatic's first scene, the train travels straight through now. The second stop is the same, where the ice scene was. In the swamp, it used to slow down to a crawl, instead the train now travels at normal speed through the fire pit. The final scene is the same.

The queue line is the same interior clue where you walk past the souk windows today. The steps up to the operator console are the same, but are now behind a wall so it feels different. It was very clever how they turned that open plan, cattle pen space into its own themed walkthrough - which in the Terror Tomb days was brilliant and atmospheric (today it is awful, flooded with white LED light and pants).

There is a small amount of 5D blue & silver queue space left hidden in the corner of the building behind a wall so they say :) 

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Thanks, that's really interesting information. Flooding everything with LED lights seems to be a thing these days. I wonder if the sound system was changed at some point in the past year or so because I noticed that the sound effects didn't seem to be present or at least not in the correct places. Perhaps it's just music downloaded from Youtube again which is another thing they like doing.

 

Not anywhere near as funny as in the 2006 Bubbleworks where random sounds cut in & out and Professor Burps still shouted "It's hard work" after the fairground scene as if he was haunting the place. Right up to closure the Bubbleworks had some really funky stuff going on with sound, very amusing.

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19 minutes ago, Vince800 said:

Thanks, that's really interesting information. Flooding everything with LED lights seems to be a thing these days. I wonder if the sound system was changed at some point in the past year or so because I noticed that the sound effects didn't seem to be present or at least not in the correct places. Perhaps it's just music downloaded from Youtube again which is another thing they like doing.

 

Not anywhere near as funny as in the 2006 Bubbleworks where random sounds cut in & out and Professor Burps still shouted "It's hard work" after the fairground scene as if he was haunting the place. Right up to closure the Bubbleworks had some really funky stuff going on with sound, very amusing.


Unfortunately the park don't have a clue about the difference between LED and other lights, so old style light fittings and lighting effect circuits all now have LED bulbs stuck on them, meaning they either fail easily, don't flicker, strobe when they shouldnt, and are always way too bright. And let's not get into colour temperature making everything look like an office instead of an atmospheric warm low lit environment. If only they knew how teams spend months designing and fine tuning these things when the attractions were built, just for the atmosphere to be completely destroyed for every guest by some clueless people later, such a shame.

LED designed properly can look great and be very flexible, but it's totally different to designing with traditional lighting. Just sticking LED bulbs on old style circuits is such a basic mistake, your average handyman wouldn't do that in your own home - but Merlin parks do for some reason, in a themed attraction of all places where lighting is so important. Whatever!

All the Tomb sound system was ripped out unnecessarily and replaced with some cheap stuff in the so called "upgrade" in 2016. All the spot sound effects and timed SFX were never replaced and no one seemed to even notice. When it was pointed out, some SFX tracks were just put through the music speakers on a loop instead, and "that'll do". Clueless.

 

BubbleWorks was a complete mess too but in their actual words "most people wouldn't notice" and "the problem does not exist". These people should not be in charge of maintaining a dark ride then.

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