A terrifying, story-driven dark ride experience at IMG Worlds of Adventure pits riders against a cast of ferocious prehistoric beings, as they race against time in search of something very precious.
Client: IMG Group
Location: Dubai, U.A.E.
The Lost Valley at IMG Worlds of Adventure is one of four zones that the team at Falcon’s Treehouse master planned for the enormous indoor theme park located in Dubai. Falcon’s conceptualized and brought to fruition five attractions for this dinosaur-themed area that would that fire guests’ imagination and provide powerful “wow” moments.
One of these attractions is Forbidden Territory, which takes guests on a wild ride through an untamed and nearly uncharted region. An intense blend of over 40 animatronic characters, dynamic scenic environments that burst alive with special effects, a motion-based dark ride system, a gripping story, and engaging 3D media content forges an immersive and unforgettable experience and boosts the sensation that riders are actually on this unsettling trek.
Designing the entire experience for this thrilling dark ride was a joint effort between Falcon’s Treehouse and Falcon’s Digital Media. The design team handled attraction design, vehicle design, and project management duties, while the media team led efforts in pre-production, content creation, and onsite sound mixing.
It all starts with the queue line, which is an open-air bazaar of sorts, where goods, plants, and even dinosaurs are usually unpacked and sold by those brave enough to venture into the dangerous, predator-filled jungles. Today, however, guests can tell something is amiss. There are unpackaged crates and barrels strewn aside with seemingly little thought to organization. The bazaar has been quickly reconstructed into a staging area for a mission into “The Danger Zone.”
TV monitors positioned throughout the line broadcast various urgent announcements. Dr. Akkad, the leading scientist of the Lost Valley Research and Preservation Society and head paleontologist, explains that an impending volcanic eruption is about to wipe out many of the species on the island. He’s asking for help to find the eggs of the hypacrosaurus in order to preserve the species. It won’t be easy, though. After all, it’s called the Danger Zone for a reason. Beyond the relative safety of the established path live some of the most feared dinosaurs that ever existed.
As the volunteers load into their sturdy but open off-road jeep vehicle, they are welcomed by the voice of Calvin Thomas, who’s stationed at mission control. His priority is different than Dr. Akkad’s, but nonetheless, both will monitor the journey through a hood-mounted camera, guiding the adventurers through the dangerous path ahead and advising on the many creatures they will encounter.
Oceaneering, an engineering firm and ride vehicle maker, provided the jeep that carries the passengers. It features 3DOF – pitch, roll, and heave. Falcon’s customized the ride vehicle, giving it a steam punk look that fits within the attraction’s world. The jeep’s functioning headlights and other lighting elements play a key role in the main show.
As the journey gets underway, the volunteers pass by relatively harmless dinosaurs who don’t seem to be bothered much by the tiny visitors passing by. Off in the distance, Mount Magmadon, the volcano on the verge of eruption, rumbles and hisses…an ominous reminder that time is running out. The somewhat peaceful start to this trip is about to suffer a dose of reality.
As the passengers’ jeep approaches a quick-moving river, Director Thomas spots one of the fleet’s stranded vehicles. During the rescue attempt, the guests’ jeep is swept up in the strong current and slides downstream into a much more unfriendly environment.
The volunteers soon find themselves surrounded by a group of sarchosuchos, better known as prehistoric crocodiles. They snap angrily at the back of the vehicle as it makes a quick escape. Moving quickly around a corner, the vehicle suddenly screeches to a halt, confronted by a massive animatronic T-Rex feasting on another dinosaur. Efforts to carefully sneak by fail, and the gigantic meat-eater spins around with an epic roar. The chase is on!
Moving quickly through the jungle, nearby trees shake in response to the T-rex’s mighty footsteps. The vehicle barely escapes by driving into a cave that leads to a glen, and lo and behold, this is exactly where the hypacrosaurus’ nest is hiding! Red sirens flash, alerting the team at mission control that the eggs have been found. There’s no time to celebrate, though, because the volcano has just started to erupt!
The research team helps remotely guide the volunteers to another cave to escape, but the vehicle suddenly loses power as colossal spiders climb down from the cave’s ceiling. Fortunately, this hairy encounter doesn’t last long, and the vehicle finds its way back out.
Just when it looks like this harrowing expedition is about to reach a safe conclusion, the T-rex makes another appearance, this time on a massive curved media screen. He stares down the riders before opening his jaws to bellow his trademark loud hello. Right before he lunges at the vehicle, another even larger and more terrifying dinosaur attacks him. As the two prehistoric animals do battle, the ride vehicle backs up, spins around, and eventually stumbles right underneath the battle between these two massive predators. The jeep finally gets back on the right track, and the volunteers soon find themselves at the docking station, having successfully completed their mission while remaining in one piece.