Thursday, May 23, 2024

Recipe for a dark ride: Jora Vision

Themed attraction experts Jora Vision talk about dark ride development

interview by Martin Palicki

Dutch creative firm Jora Vision specializes in creating highly themed attractions for theme parks and has been involved in dark ride projects all around the world. Two of their dark ride attractions, Arthur Adventure 4D and the Raving Rabbids Time Machine, both for Futuroscope Park (France), received Thea Awards.

ABOVE PHOTO: A scene from Jora Vision’s Raving Rabbids Time Machine dark ride at Futuroscope Park in France.

Jan Maarten de Raad started the company in the 1980s initially selling theming for retail stores and restaurants. Soon, the company founded a design department and expanded into theming and fabrication for theme parks, zoos, FECs and museums. Today, designing and building dark rides has become one of Jora Vision’s core strengths as the company works on projects around the world.

InPark spoke with Jora Vision to find out more about the company’s philosophy on dark rides.

What are some things parks and operators should know about dark rides, and planning for dark rides?

Robin van der Want, Project Development Director: Dark rides give parks the opportunity to tell their own unique story and offer a compelling experience that can be enjoyed by the entire family, together.

A great dark ride tells a great story, and tells it well. We are storytellers, and designing and building dark rides is one of our core strengths. There are many components involved. Dark rides incorporate not only scenic decor, but also sound, lighting, visual effects, projection, music and a ride system. The list also often includes animatronics, set pieces, show action equipment and custom seats.

Creating dark rides can be a challenging exercise due to the many components and disciplines involved. It requires close collaboration with the client and seamless teamwork.

It’s vital to have a strong network of creative collaborators and partners. With those partners, we can form teams to realize a client’s vision, and we can also create turnkey concepts and products for dark rides. Recently, Jora Vision partnered with Simworx for a new version of the Immersive Tunnel product that we named “The Curse of Blackstorm Bay.”

How does Jora Vision approach dark ride design?

Simeon van Tellingen, Creative Director: At Jora Vision we have three company rules for creating a successful dark ride.

The first rule is to balance the components. Similar to cooking a good meal, the recipe must be right and ingredients balanced. For instance, it’s out of balance to try to create a ride based on one piece of technology – even if it’s the ride system. If there is not enough care and budget for the other ingredients like sound or special effects, the ride system and experience will disappoint.

In our approach we allow the attraction’s story to be our guide and become a recipe for balancing the other components. That is why we always advise clients to create a design first, from which decisions can be made on allocating budget for specific ingredients.

The second rule is to create a clear story. Every element designed in the ride should support the story and concept. Many dark rides have complicated storylines. We believe there should always be a clear reason why the visitor is invited to participate in the experience. Layers of
backstory can always be incorporated into the scenes, but the main reason and concept of the attraction should be very clear and understandable by every target group.

The third rule is to ensure all the ride components are seamlessly integrated. A successful ride blends show sets with media content, and all of that is reflected in what is felt, heard and experienced in the ride vehicle. A dark ride is a theatrical experience and should be considered as such.

A scene from the new Bazyliszek dark ride currently under construction at Legendia park in Poland. Images courtesy of Jora Vision.
What are some of your upcoming projects?

Robin van der Want: Currently Jora Vision is working on several dark ride projects. The first one to open will be the Bazyliszek in Legendia park (Poland), which is a collaboration with Alterface, scheduled to open in March, 2018. Other exciting dark ride projects are currently in the design phase and unfortunately still confidential – but we hope to share more announcements very soon. •

For more information on Jora Vision and their dark ride projects, visit To set up a meeting with Jora Vision at the 2017 IAAPA Attractions in Orlando this November, contact Robin van der Want, [email protected]


Alterface and Jora Vision Team Up to Bring Polish Folk Creatures to Life at Legendia

Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

Related Articles

Latest Articles