The Scariest, Spookiest, Most Spine Tingling Rollercoaster Ever Created!

(its all done with Smoke & Mirrors)
By John Eustace


Warner Bros. Movie World’s new Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster demanded creative invention and innovative thinking far beyond the constraints of traditional themed coaster design to live up to visitor and park management’s high expectations. After searching worldwide, ‘Hollywood on the Gold Coast’s’ senior executive concluded that Australia’s premier theme park could not readily source a dark ride solution for the park’s innovative coaster concept.

Inspired by the feature film “Scooby-Doo” shot on Australia’s Gold Coast at Warner Roadshow’s Movie World Studios, masters of the grand illusion Laservision Macro-Media rose to the challenge. The world renowned Australian laser attractions specialists were awarded this important contract based on the company’s excellent track record and reputation for delivering brilliant high impact attraction solutions. “The fact that it had never been done before”, according to Simon McCartney, Laservision’s Director of Attraction Development, “always stimulates our interest and imagination, we thrive on this sort of creative challenge”.

Accomplished at filling dark voids with dramatic illusion this Laservision installation mandated a complete reversal of Laser display rules. Whilst discreet laser effects have previously been employed to embellish dark rides, ghost trains and haunted attractions. The Scooby-Doo ride concept required that the Laservision effects embrace and create the entire illusion, maintain it throughout the

experience and simultaneously perform for multiple audiences moving through three-dimensional space at speed. Each element of the wild mouse ride created a fleeting opportunity to thrill with different aspects of the laser art.

Once on site Laservision encountered just how different their approach would have to be. More used to thrilling a stationery audience at Singapore’s Sentosa Island or Sydney’s Darling Harbour visitors, here were continuously altering direction, velocity, elevation, and trajectory. This unfamiliar circumstance presented Laservision’s creative team with a novel set of design and programming parameters. To preview each element the production team had to ride the coaster day and night for almost three weeks. “Even though I have seen it on hundreds of occasions it is still a rush for me”, added Lloyd Weir, Laservision’s art director, “I think I’ve become a coaster junkie!”

Other than the Coaster itself, the dark ride building’s almost nine hundred thousand cubic feet (25,350m3) interior contains nothing except smoke and mirrors. The entire 3D environment is created when illuminated with purpose built Laservision projection technology, a grand illusion on an unparalleled scale.

To maintain the ride’s “spooky” theme Laservision’s Stella-Ray projectors were selected for their intense emerald green light and unparalleled colour contrast. “The effects can only be created with laser’s coherent light properties”, explained McCartney, “traditional incoherent lamps, however well focussed will illuminate the environment thus destroying the illusion”.
The Stella-Rays are complemented by a Laservision Mini-Ray system that creates discrete effects as the cars pass through an area christened ‘The Ring of Fire’. Laservision’s design amazingly integrates no less than seven strategically located scanning projector heads fed via optical fiber distribution from two powerful (40Watt) YAG Laser systems. The dazzling array is triggered by track sensors and driven by Laservision’s own Sinodial-Series show control technology utilising two Digital Data-Pumps and associated macro-media hardware, linked via a fibre optic data communications network.

Approximately one hundred (100) laser beam bounce mirrors are mounted within the building on different planes to enhance the illusion of infinite interior space, plus mirrored floor sections adjacent to the vertical illuminations accentuate the illusion of infinite depth still further, more than doubling the riders perception of coaster height. Described as “the scariest, spookiest, spine-tingling roller-coaster ever created!” complete with “laser lighting and sound effects, animatronics and a kaleidoscope of color, depth, height and trickery of dimension”, the one thousand seven hundred and forty foot (530 metres) MACK Wild Mouse eighteen (18) car indoor coaster is set within a haunted medieval castle that is anything but traditional.

Visitors are urged to “Prepare for the supernatural…” as they enter the creepy dimly lit pre-conditioning courtyard and move into the heart of Spooky Castle “…watch out for ghouls, gargoyles and the odd talking suit of armour”!

Four seater coaster cars carefully replicated from Scooby-Doo the film, launch guests on a hair-raising journey through two distinctive experience zones. The first develops the Spooky Castle theme into a ghost train ride featuring the best in traditional movie inspired theming and amusing animatronics. Just as guests begin to think that their journey is nearing conclusion, they find
themselves drawn up over fifty-five feet (seventeen meters) into the castle’s creepy tower. This unsettling experience heralds their reversed entry into the rides second zone as they are then pushed into a darkened void.

Disorientated in the dark our riders are now subject to the will and influence of the ghouls Scooby warned of earlier as without warning the car plunges backwards almost twenty-five feet (seven meters) into the darkness. The breathtaking force of minus three gees (-3G) is instantly inverted to plus three gees (+3G) as the car accelerates down the shoot then climbs at over forty feet per second (44.58km/h) before grinding to an abrupt halt! What next? …Be AFRAID…be kind of afraid!

Perched precariously on an elevated turntable the car is turned one hundred and eighty degrees (180o) to face the fate awaiting its anxious passengers. Transfixed by an apparently infinite tunnel of emerald green laser light the riders now lurch forward, apprehensively, into the shimmering abyss…

Passengers then experience the exhilaration of a full sized Wild Mouse ride as never before. Traditional Wild Mouse installations draw continuously on the perception of leaving the coaster rails on tight corners. The Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster propels riders through a Laservision created environment where either darkness or intense laser light obscures both the coaster’s super structure and the physical space it occupies. Riders are left hurtling through infinite voids, passing ghost-like through shimmering walls, floors and ceilings of light or speeding into infinite tunnels of green swirling mist. Whilst the first zone’s spooky themeing primes the visitor’s senses and perception, once speeding within the haunted castle’s dark interior its abstract architecture of light supports an imaginary cast of ghouls and ghosts manifested solely by the rider’s stimulated imagination.

The ride’s hairpin turns and quick twists navigate Laservision’s iridescent fractle environment, dodging shards of laser light the exhilarated rider’s are overwhelmed by an audiovisual cacophony. Its bumps and breathtaking drops send screaming visitors crashing through a notional dark ride environment of almost nine hundred thousand cubic feet (895,200 ft3 or 25,350m3)
pierced by an ever changing web of penetrating green laser beams and specially created Laservision effects that envelope and thrill every rider. Finally plunging over 7m on their adrenaline-pumping journey they hurtle towards a grotesque creature and the ‘ring of fire’, here riders are again engulfed by a threatening Laservision tunnel effect emanating from the creature’s gaping jaws, then thrust down the creature’s throat only to arrive at the disembarkation station and return to reality. Laservision Macro-Media has achieved a brilliant new ride turning lasers smoke and mirrors into a dynamic, fun filled experience for children and adults alike. Reviews have placed the ride as ‘outscoring the movie’ the Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster is now Movie World’s number one attraction!

Nominated for a “Special Applications” award in the prestigious International Laser Display Association (ILDA) 2002 awards, Laservision is optimistic that their latest attraction will gain similar accolades to those awarded previously for their outstanding creativity and technical flair.

The enormous success of the Spooky Coaster proves that there remains credible and effective ways to thrill a 21st Century audience with themed illusions created with smoke and mirrors!


Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster Statistics

Length: 1,738' 10” (530 meters)
Height: 55' 9” (17 meters)
Drop: 23 feet (7 meters)
Speed: 27.7mph (44.58km/h)
Capacity (riders per hour): 1,000
Ride duration: 4m 13s


For More Information on Laservision, visit their website at


Scooby-Doo and all related characters and elements are trademarks of Hanna-Barbara. Stella-Ray, Data ~Pump and Sinodial ~ Series and all related elements are trademarks of Laservision Macro-Media


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