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Leisure Expert Group partners with Zierer on new dark ride concepts

Three different layouts and six possible themes are available

Dark Rides LEG Zierer

Leisure Expert Group (LEG), a leading experience design company, has partnered with German ride manufacturer Zierer to market a variety of Advanced Dark Ride concepts. The collaboration between the two companies was announced during the recent IAAPA Expo Europe in Barcelona.

Multiple layouts and themes

Three different layouts and six possible themes are available, including more affordable options for small to medium-sized parks. The smallest, with a footprint of just 12 x 33 metres, comprises a single room with a 20m-long straight track. An eight-seater ride vehicle-mounted to a turntable gives guests the illusion of moving between four different scenes, projected on a screen before them.

The experience lasts a little over four minutes, with an hourly capacity of 100. Best suited to this format are the Farm Frenzy and Cretar (dinosaur) themes.

Leisure Expert Group & Zierer
Leisure Expert Group’s John Ruisch and Max Reims celebrate their dark ride partnership with Zierer, represented by Jeroen Nijpels

The medium layout, as demonstrated in a model on the Leisure Expert Group booth in Barcelona, comprises four physical scenes, four ride vehicles and a total track length of 65m. Together with the loading area, queue line and gift shop, this format measures 24 x 33m. A further Jurassic theme, Dino Scan, is available as well as a music festival theme. Hourly capacity for the 3.5-minute ride is 400. Both this and the smaller layout could potentially be accommodated within an existing building inside a theme park.

Park operators who have 2,000 sq m of space available may wish to invest in the 40 x 50m layout. This comprises nine scenes and boasts a theoretical hourly capacity of 960, based on seven vehicles and a three-minute ride time. Merlin’s Quest and the Norse legend Ragnarok are the suggested themes for this largest format. Like the medium-sized layout, a mix of media and physical props are proposed. 

Dynamic ride vehicles


Zierer’s Advanced Dark Ride system has been operating successfully since 2017 on Ghostbusters 5D at Heide-Park in Germany. With five degrees of freedom (5DOF), the highly dynamic vehicles can move forwards, backwards, pitch, yaw and roll. They have a top speed of 9 km/h and a maximum acceleration of 1G.

Despite the company’s reputation for roller coasters and other amusement rides, Zierer is not widely known for dark rides. Hence the partnership with the Leisure Expert Group, which owns the intellectual property (IP) behind the six themes. The two companies have agreed to work on a non-exclusive basis, meaning customers are free to select their own IP or media if they prefer.

Let the music play

Whilst many of the available themes are evergreens, the music festival story is something a little different. As they move from scene to scene and genre to genre – from classical to country, disco and dance – guests are invited to become conductors as they tap a baton to interact with the rhythm of the music.

Leisure Expert Group dark rides_Music

“LEG is known for its work on the stages of some big music festivals,” says Max Reims, a client expert with the company. “With this new attraction concept, there will be a music genre for every member of the family to enjoy.”

Additionally, theme parks may want to explore potential IP partnerships with music festival promoters. “A dark ride is a great way for festival brands to connect with fans throughout the year, not just in summer,” adds Reims.

Last year, Leisure Expert Group announced that it was working on a new studio tour-themed coaster at Movie Park Germany.

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Owen Ralph

Owen Ralph

As a Lead Features Writer for blooloop, Owen brings with him two decades of experience covering the amusement and attractions industry for trade publications, including World’s Fair, Coinslot International, Kirmes & Park Revue and Park World, where he spent 15 years as Editor. He is currently a member of the IAAPA EMEA Education Subcommittee.

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