A Look at Four Different Theme Park Ride Concepts

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Not all theme park rides are built alike, and not all appeal to the same audience.

Some rides are focused on water and relaxation, while others are geared to excitement and escape.

Most rides have several elements in common – they feature intricate rockwork, eye-catching water features and themed construction to help tell their stories. Specialized construction companies skillfully incorporate these elements into theme park rides to recreate a natural environment or more mystical surroundings.

No matter what elements they use, their goal is the same – to give guests a brief escape. Here is a look at four different theme park ride concepts that incorporate rockwork, water features and theming to help accomplish that goal:


Water Rides

If you’re looking for a way to stay cool in the summer, a water ride is the answer. Waterparks are a great way to entertain the family without getting overheated, and many water rides are suitable for all ages.

Waterparks have a variety of water features, including waterslides, hyrdro jets, waterfalls, fountains wave pools and geysers. Guests are transported through the rides with rafts, tubes, boats or their own two hands – and feet.

A large-scale water ride at a theme park is an engineering feat that takes careful planning and tried-and-true construction methods. The builder uses a variety of materials, such as steel, fiberglass and concrete, to create the structure.

Water rides also feature a system of pumps and reservoirs to keep the water fresh and flowing. The system pumps the water through strainers and filters to keep the water sanitary.

One of the best areas to enjoy a water ride is central Florida, where summer temperatures soar into the 90s. A favorite water ride in Orlando has slides, flumes, lazy rivers and wave pool surrounded by 200,000 square feet of artificial rockwork.

Across the country, another ride features one of the largest artificial rockwork projects in the world. Guests can bear-ly contain their excitement on this river raft ride around a bear-shaped mountain. Artisans installed about 200,000 square feet of carved artificial rockwork, including the bear mountain, a waterfall, realistic logs, shards of columnar basalt and other highly detailed carvings.


Roller Coasters

Of course nothing beats the action of a heart-thumping roller coaster full of twists and turns. Roller coasters are ranked by height, speed, length, inversions, steepness and popularity.

There are a multitude of rankings, so we’ll share a few here: Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey holds the record for the tallest steel roller coaster (456 feet) and the longest steel roller coaster drop (418 feet.) The home of the fastest steel roller coaster says it all: Formula Rossa at Ferrari World in the United Arab Emirates. This one has speeds topping 149 miles per hour.
If you like a good stomach lurch, you’ll enjoy the 121° vertical angle on the steepest roller coaster, the Takabisha at Fuji-Q Highland in Japan. Inversions, which take riders upside down then uprights them, are also ranked by height and have labels like dive drop, vertical loop, roll out, skyloop, heartline roll and inside top hat.


Scenic Edutainment Rides

If you need to settle down after a roller coaster ride, many rides combine scenery with education. These theme park rides give guests the chance to learn about everything from an African safari to the mysterious world below the ocean.

They’re often a slow-moving ride on a watercraft, trolley or train with a knowledgeable guide describing the scenery and wildlife. They combine relaxation with entertainment, and you might just learn something along the way.

Guests learn about the mysteries of the sea while riding a submarine at a popular theme park in Anaheim, California. Waterfalls, undersea caves, ruins and other iconic elements add depth to this submarine ride.

The journey takes guests through a series of environments as they search for an underwater volcano. Hand-crafted rockwork this “under the sea” experience completes the attraction. Those features include a waterfall, temple ruins, dock pilings, statue pieces and other iconic elements.

Guests learn about African wildlife as they travel by boat on a river through a jungle paradise at a theme ride in Anaheim, California. Artificial rockwork was used to create African riverbanks that are home to tigers, crocodiles, snakes and other fearless creatures. The ride features a dramatic waterfall, temple ruins, facades and several iconic pieces, including a hand-carved 20-foot-tall head covered in thick, tangled vines.


Dark Rides

A dark ride sounds ominous and void of light, but that’s not always the case.

A dark ride is an indoor ride that takes guests on guided vehicles through specially lit scenes that may contain animation, sound, music and special effects.

Dark rides are enclosed and all light is artificial. Most use special lighting to achieve theatrical effects. Selective use of darkness helps hide the ride mechanisms and increases the visual drama of the experience.
The first dark rides were introduced in the late 19th century. A popular dark ride of the past, the “tunnel of love,” carried riders on small boats through water-filled canals.

Dark rides have come a long way since the 19th century. They now use computer technology and feature characters from favorite movies and cartoons.

Theme park owners and developers incorporate themed construction throughout the interiors and exteriors of their dark ride projects to help tell a story. Those thematic elements also serve as camouflage to hide the mechanics of the ride.

At a popular dark ride in Anaheim, California, artisans made the inner workings of the ride disappear so theme park guests could reach a state of suspended disbelief as they enter a dangerous lost temple. Artisans completed a wide range of themed services, including building facades and artificial rockwork. The attraction features hand-carved skulls and bones, hieroglyphics on statues, artifacts and other iconic themed elements.

Outside the Lines’ ability to incorporate rockwork, water features and themed elements into theme parks has made the company a valuable and trusted member of construction teams at a multitude of theme parks. If you would like to tap their expertise, please contact OTL at: (714) 637-4747 or email them at info@otl-inc.com