The Sedgewick Hotel - Home-built Dark Ride
Hey Everyone -
I'm new to this forum, but not new to Home Haunting. I'm about to set out an adventure and I'd like to share it all with you.
In the 80's, the owners of Six Flags begun work on a Ghostbusters-themed Interactive Dark Ride that was never built. The ride would have been well ahead of its time, as it was prepared to incorporate IR "laser guns" into the ride itself, essentially combining a Dark Ride (similar to The Haunted Mansion) with an interactive shooting gallery. You can read more about the ride here: http://www.2600connection.com/interviews/roger_hector/interview_roger_hector.html
I have decided to focus my efforts on bringing an amateur version of this ride to life over the course of the next 2 years. This will be a labor of love, and I will be updating this thread as frequently as I can with my progress.
Before I begin, I want to give a big thanks to the few brave souls who have pioneered the home-built dark ride, including Don O'Neil, CoasterBP and the Mystic Motel. If anyone knows of any others that have been active online that I could learn from, please point me to them! I'd rather not traverse unnecessarily into unknown realms if I don't need to.
Everything is subject to change, but as of this moment, this is my plan...
I will construct the ride inside my 2.5 car garage on a grid of 4'x4' base panels that will measure 25'x20' in total size. It will be less than 100 feet of track. I am going to follow Don O'Neil's lead and go with a single bus bar with 2x4s for the straight sections, and laminated plywood for the curves.
The ride car will be approximately 30" x 30". It should seat one adult or two kids comfortably, and maybe 2 adults uncomfortably. It will have a metal frame but mostly be constructed of plywood. It will ride on four 8" rubber tire casters with full 360 degree motion in each wheel. It will be driven by 2 power wheelchair motors that will grip a center rail, receiving power from a 24v 30amp bus bar system. Motor speed (and maybe direction) will be controlled by a PWM controller. The car will also have an onboard sound system.
The car will be heavily detailed to resemble a Dark Ride version of Ecto1 from Ghostbusters, with logo(s), slime, license plate, etc. It will also feature a custom designed rear end with a built in proton pack with working lights, electrical box, slime tank and maybe some other goodies.
Eventually, the car will also have mounts for 2 proton guns which will be custom built to shoot IR signals which will trigger the ghosts in the hotel. That'll come later.
Each gag (scene) of the ride will feature a motion activated scenario where when triggered, a red light will go on, a sound effect will occur, and potentially some air powered motion occurs. When the user shoots the "ghost" with their proton gun, the red light turns off, a green light turns on, a different sound effect plays, and the motion "retreats". Sound amibitious? Yes. But I have a working prototype already, which I'll be showing off soon. =)
For now, I'll leave you with my design for the ride car, and the ride logo. Cheers!