Furuvik amusement park and Sally Corporation have dusted the cobwebs from an old favorite and turned it into a new thriller for all the family; Spökjakten, a “rolling video game” that combines traditional theming with modern interactivity. Hannah Hart reports…
Sweden’s first and only interactive dark ride is described as a competitive ghost-hunting adventure by Furuvik. The park, which is an amalgamation of a zoo, theme park, and concert venue, is two years into a refurbishment project – the jewel of which is Spökjakten, set to open its doors on May 19. Six wagons each ferry four riders through 11 interactive scenes, and the aim of the game is to use the laser pistols and shoot ghosts, ghouls, and other spooks, scoring as many points as possible – or at least more than the person next to you.
Trick or treat
Dark rides have become an increasingly popular option for park owners with limited space or budget, and Spökjakten follows another rising trend that favors the refurbishment of existing buildings to the construction of entirely new ones. “[The Spökjakten site] has always been a popular attraction among our guests but it needed an update,” Furuvik Park tells Park World. Updates have been the name of the game at Furuvik in the last few years, with new attractions such as Small Frogs and Gungan, and now the most recent roller coaster, Fireball, added prior to Spökjakten’s reveal.
A shot in the dark
The building that houses Spökjakten has been completely transformed, inside and out, with the castle becoming a landmark that dominates the landscape of the park. Created in partnership with Sally Corporation, Spökjakten tells the story of Professor Finkelstein, who recruits riders to help him send the wicked Boocifer and his spirited minions back to the other side of the grave. The ride boasts a competitive edge with heaps of replay value, and even the atmospheric queue lines contain “a few surprises”. Animatronics, black light scenes, and cohesive theming contribute to a spooktacular show – and whilst the ride has no official age restrictions, it is recommended that little ghost hunters be accompanied by an adult.
Together, Furuvik and Sally Corporation tackled the challenge of finding a balance between a convincingly creepy atmosphere and a family friendly attraction. A precise mix of elements had to be conjured up – interactive factors, entertainment value, and age appropriate scenes and characters. “It couldn’t be too scary, but it still needed to be haunted,” comments John Wood, Sally Corporation chairman and CEO. “but the Sally and Furuvik teams succeeded in creating a dark ride with a mix of fun, fright, a few thrills and a lot of laughter!” Perhaps the bigger challenge was retrofitting the shell of an old attraction – a task that began with several field trips to the site by members of the Sally artistic and technical design team. After extensive study of the interior space and careful planning, the installation team methodically tackled each issue as they crept up. “That isn't unusual when a new attraction is built into an older building,” explains Wood. “and it is always remarkable to see how Sally Corporation's 40 years of experience pays off in the installation of a dark ride, whether it is being retrofitted into an older space or built into a brand new building.”