Underrated US Dark Rides


Let's face it, outside of Disney and Universal it's pretty slim pickens in the US when it comes to great dark rides. But that's not to say they're completely non-existent! If you dig a little you'll uncover some great dark rides all over America and if you're like me and love a good dark ride you'll definitely want to make sure you ride these next time you find yourself State side.

 I wanted to put this together because I'm so sick of whenever you read a 'Top Dark Rides in America' list they're always absolutely dominated by Disney/Universal. Yes obviously they're the best, not disputing that, but it is sometimes necessary to eliminate the big guns in favour of some diversity!

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Outside of the Haunted Mansion, The Haunted House at Knoebels is probably the best example you'll find in the world of a great classic spook house attraction. It's got that great creepy facade going on and the nostalgic squeaky-wheels-on-wooden-floorboards transit system and it's absolutely stacked with vintage scares from loud whistles to sudden swinging doors and spooky skeletons. It has a bit more class about it than your gaudy funfair Ghost Train and it's equally as charming as it is terrifying!

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When I sniffed this one out I was expecting nothing more than your standard crappy boat ride affair that you come across at so many European park. My god I was so wrong. The ride opened in 2009 and thus far there doesn't seem to be a mothball or dodgy animatronic in sight. It's kind of like Splash Mountain but with more monsters and less racism (but I guess something themed with such 'Southern Charm' isn't going to entirely be without it either). It's quirky, it's bright, it's wonderful and wacky - everything you could possibly want from a dark ride! Oh and it's got an awesome theme song too. Definitely don't miss it!

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Yh, all right, I cheated with this one slightly in that it doesn't actually exist anymore (and I actually never got to ride it sadly!) but DAMN this dark ride looked cool. It's themed to the Moody Blues and their unique psychedelic prog-rock sound and this dark ride ABSOLUTELY NAILS what it would feel like to be in one of their music videos (or trip on acid but I wouldn't know much about that lol.) It's experimental and crazy and messes with your mind. I'm told that those who rode really did come off feeling like they'd been on a trip and it's almost something that wouldn't be out of place at the Tate Modern. Experimental, mad and entirely unique, check out a POV of this one (but maybe not just before you go to bed!)

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If you love cheesy puns then boy do I have a dark ride for you! Imagine a haunted house designed with noughties tech and I promise you you're not far off the final product of this attraction. The facade is delightfully gothic and imposing. The ride uses the same system as Spiderman and Transformers at the Universal parks but on a slightly lower budget, so yh this is a little bit ropey in some parts and can sometimes rely a little too heavily on the screens, but it's still bloody fab, especially if you love your dark rides a little on the kitschy side.

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This gets a special mention on my list because I don't think I've ever laughed as much on a stupid dark ride as I have on Gobbler Getaway. Firstly there's something about the name of this attraction that really tickles me. Next is the premise of a dark ride themed to fucking turkeys of all things. I guess to any American reading this it would seem a little strange that I find this all so amusing what with Thanksgiving being a thing and all, but I really do find this hilarious. That and the ride itself is really cute - harkens back to those classic Disney dark rides with brightly painted cut outs and crude yet adorable animatronics. Just give it one ride I promise you won't be disappointed.

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I guess technically this is a coaster, but it's not a proper coaster really. Way more of a dark ride! It's all about the sets on this one. Having opened in 1972, it kind of smells like your nan's loft but I'd say that just adds to the charm! There's fire, there's water, there's high speed roller coaster action and there's ropey as hell animatronics - it's the gift that keeps on giving! Despite its age, Fire in the Hole is actually really impressive when you look at the scale of the thing in general and how old it is. Long may it continue to operate. FIRE IN THE HOOOOOOLLLLLEEE!

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The words 'Six Flags Dark Ride' don't exactly strike joy into the heart for those of us whom that phrase triggers visions of Scooby Doo and the Mystery Inc. But Battle for Metropolis is a hugely impressive dark ride endeavour that make a worthy addition to any theme park. Think a kind of baby Amazing Adventures of Spiderman but with guns and you're pretty close. It's got shooting, it's got live effects like fire and smoke, it's got screens, it's got audio animatronics and it's got physical theming. Essentially, it's the whole package and it's got a great IP to boot. An impressive attractions and whilst it'll never give the likes of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey a run for its money it's definitely worth commending. Especially for that Joker animatronic, damn.

So there you go, you don't always have to look to Universal and Disney for some good old fun dark ride action! Let me know if there's any I've missed or if there's a dark ride that you think is criminally underrated, I'd love to check it out!

Talk later xoxo,

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