A brand-new theme park has opened in the United States with a red-hot dark ride. Volkanu at the Lost Island in Waterloo, Iowa, is one of three new interactive experiences launched in June featuring interactive technology from Alterface. The others are Harrington Flint’s Island Adventures at Fantasy Island in the UK and Imagination Express at LEGO Discovery Centre Brussels in Belgium.
Volkanu: Quest for the Golden Idol
Designed and produced by Sally Dark Rides, Volkanu debuted along with the rest of Lost Island theme park on June 18. The 90-acre (36 hectare) theme park complements the existing waterpark of the same name and was developed by the Bertch family.
The park features realms themed on fire, water, earth, air and spirit. It is in the Mura (fire) realm that explorers will encounter Volkanu and its imposing volcano-like facade. The fully interactive dark ride takes its name from the great god of fire, a legendary bestial of molten rock who lurks inside Lost Island. Guests must locate six statues including the sacred Ora-Tika and return it to the Temple of Fire.
The 750 square foot (69 sq m) Sally dark ride packs a lot into four minutes. Seated in trackless ‘Inferno’ ETF ride vehicles with added on-board motion, passengers experience interactive 3D media, dynamic scenery, animatronic figures and dazzling special effects.
The gameplay, together with the theming, take guests deeper into the story. The volcanic rock-like ‘Thermal Blasters’ feature a crystal that glows as guests hit targets within the ride. Both the shooting technology and the ride’s interactive system were supplied by Alterface.
With its interactive technology now featured in 27 dark rides at LEGO Discovery Centres (LDC) around the world, and two more on the way, Alterface’s systems are well proven. The latest opened in June in Brussels.
LEGO fans are promised a train ride like no other on the Imagination Express. For this, Alterface has supplied ‘magic’ devices with which families collect points. Their journey takes them through an over-sized LEGO world into a giant bubble bath, down the plug hole, deep into a brick-built ocean and finally into outer space.
“For us, it’s super important that the media and theming are combined in such a way that you forget about the technology,” said Alterface CEO Stéphane Battaille. “We never just provide a shooting system. We always try to figure out how it is going to transport people into the experience.”
Only Alterface’s pointing technology makes engagement with the projection mapping, media and physical targets featured in the ride possible in such a seamless way. The 420 sq m (4521 square foot) attractions features ETF Mystic Mover ride vehicles and media content by Pure Imagination Studios. In total there are four interactive scenes and a great emphasis on storytelling.
Harrington Flint’s Island Adventures
An interesting project Alterface was involved in recently was a new dark ride at Fantasy Island Resort near Skegness in the United Kingdom. Harrington Flint’s Island Adventures was designed by the Mellors Group, the park’s operator, which assembled its own team of suppliers. Alterface’s shooting devices were already featured in the five ETF Mystic Mover vehicles acquired from a former dark ride in the United Arab Emirates.
“Alterface and ETF were great to deal with, and had a lot of patience when working with our guys on site,” said James Parker, director of operations and business development at Fantasy Island. “Among other things, they changed the intensity of the guns to make the shooting quicker and more responsive”.
The storyline is based on a fictional explorer and treasure hunter. Riders join Harrington Flint as he comes face-to-face with his old enemy Professor Crow, who is on a mission to raise an ancient Mayan god of war and take over the world. Can riders help Flint defeat Crow and shoot down the Mayan zombies?
A nice touch comes at the start of the attraction as riders shoot at a sliding door which opens unexpectedly to reveal the rest of the ride. In total there are five scenes, using a mix of media and physical content. The Fantasy Island team has been smart and used existing elements inside the park’s pyramid building such as concrete, rocks and pillars and integrated them to the ride’s theming.