Alton Towers Resort kicked off its 2019 season on Saturday, March 23, with the launch of a gruesome new attraction. The Alton Towers Dungeon is located inside the park’s former Charlie and the Chocolate Factory building. Miss it and you’ll be gutted.
That’s the promise from operator Merlin Entertainments as it launches its latest Dungeons experience, and the first to be located inside an existing theme park. Guests are invited to take a journey through some of the darkest moments in history from the surrounding county of Staffordshire.
After working with Alton Towers last season on flagship attraction Wicker Man, experience designer Holovis was invited again by Merlin to inject some technological trickery into the Dungeon. This involved designing and installing the attraction’s AV, lighting, audio and special effects, including some ghoulish projection mapping.
Central to the Alton Towers Dungeon is the boat ride that was formerly part of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Toyland Tours before it. Setting sail on freshly themed vessels, passengers float through eight dark and gory scenes, brought to life by actors.
Multisensory immersion techniques from Holovis provide an added layer of discomfort and unease as guests ponder what is happening and who might be around them.
Audio effects, breathing down your neck
“Some of the highlights for me are the zonal audio,” says Holovis creative director Peter Cliff. “During a blackout scene, voices and whispers surround the guests and give the impression that live actors are right behind them, breathing down their necks. Audio is something that often isn’t used to its full capabilities within projects so it’s great to experience it being used here as a key storytelling metric.”
Holovis also used its projection mapping expertise to animate some talking heads featured in the attraction’s physical theming.
“It looks like the head is really talking,” says Cliff. “Details like this make the experience stand out in the minds of guests, whilst the technology remains invisible and frictionless.”
Merlin’s Midway brands at Alton Towers Resort
Available for a supplement of £5.00/7.50 per guest (online/on the day), the Alton Towers Dungeon is the second Midway brand Merlin Entertainments has put into the UK theme park. In addition, guests can enjoy free entry to the Sea Life Sharkbait Reef aquarium as part of their regular ticket price.
Images courtesy Alton Towers Resort and Holovis.