Parkz checks out Arkham Asylum: Shock Therapy and jumps a few queues in this edition of the Parkz Update.
Arkham Asylum: Shock Therapy
The new attraction for Easter 2012 is Arkham Asylum: Shock Therapy. It comprises both a new theme to replace the dated Lethal Weapon branding, and a new train that aims to finally make the ride enjoyable rather than painful.
The ride is based upon the Batman: Arkham Asylum video game, and just like a video game, when you get up close to an object, you realise its all 2D textures!
Must resist the urge to hum the retro Batman tune.
The vinly wraps continue around the main building. Admittedly it's an improvement on the white shed it has been since 1995.
"Hitch hikers may be escaping patients".
In the Batman universe, Arkham Asylum is a mental hospital for the worst villains, such as the Joker, Harley Quinn, Bane, Killer Kroc, Two Face and Poison Ivy.
Moving on from the entrance, you can see the fence around the Superman Escape brake run has been given a gloomy grey paintjob.
The old Lethal Weapon queue courtyard has been turned into the back of house/excercise yard of Arkham Asylum, with barbed wire and the like.
The story of the ride is that the intmates have taken over the Ayslum. The Joker is the ringleader, and has certainly left his mark.
A convenient stack of crates blocks off the old queue entrance.
Looking in the other direction, the other buildings have been themed accordingly, though the old chinatown roof overhangs were not stripped off for some reason.
Quincy Sharp is the chief warden of Arkham.
There are nice little touches around the area like these fake CCTV cameras which even have faux rust on the fittings.
The reason the plaza area has been kept open is to allow the ride exit to remain in the same place, and to allow access to the ride observation area. Obvious, but has been lost on many.
The ride observation area looks the same as always, so no one way glass like a true patient observation area.
Here's the back of the Arkham tower set.
The old retail store houses a booth for on ride photos. Its great the see a retail outlet here, a big improvement from the obviously boarded up store front it has been the last few years.
The funny thing is, if you visit a park in certain parts of the US like Sliver Dollar City (Missouri), you'll see signage telling you not to bring in firearms at the park gate, for real.
Oil barrels = theming.
More contextual signage.
So, do the SWAT team know kung fu?
For now, it looks like the old Chinatown area is cut off, so no more Scooby shortcutting.
At the other end a rendered fence has gone up in front of the Chinatown gate.
Lets head in and ride shall we? The following pictures are from the media preview event
As you first enter you reach the patient admissions counter. This guard is having a bad day. A TV has been smashed over his head, conveniently playing news stories about the takeover of the asylum by the baddies.
Various blood stained bits of theming are on the desk, as are patient records.
The chattering teeth are a sort of calling card of the Joker, and in the video game are a collectable item.
More detail (We love detail).
Each of the cells is themed in some way to the patient within...Mr Freeze for instance has icicles frozen to the door.
Despite the apperance from some angles, the doors do indeed have 3d relief in the frames and hinges.
By each of the rooms is a record, giving a background to the character to the uninitiated.
Waste receptacle, check.
Be on the lookout for Batarangs everywhere.
Safely out of guests reach.
The old bit where the crushed cars used to be now houses a tank of Titan toxin...something the villain bane is dependent on to mutate himself.
Reminds us of the beer-quarium at Duff Gardens. I'ts a tie between this and the TV headed guard for best bit of theming in the queue.
But, theming aside, it is these new trains which make a night and day difference to the ride experience.Look ma, no headbanging!
At the time of our preview the onboard audio system was not fully wired up.The funky little skullcaps don't just suit the shock therapy theme. They also house the ride speakers.
Batman Adventure Replacement
Batman Adventure has of course been closed for a few months now...and the signage half reflects that.... "Great Ride!"
No word on the replacement from the park yet, but judging by the shadows on the artwork Wonderwoman, Superman and Batman will be involved in some way.
Through the openings you can see the building is all but gutted.
The wrap says "Southern Cross Projects", for those interested.
Fast Track trial
Fast Track is being trialed for the first week of the Easter 2012 school holidays. It is Movie Worlds version of the Disney Fast pass system.
Guests can collect a ticket from a manned desk, with an allocated timeslot to ride Green Lantern, Superman Escape or Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster. Rather than queuing for the ride, guests enter via the exit (Or split in the queue on Superman & Scooby) in the allocated timeslot.
Because only a limited number of tickets are handed out for each 15 minute timeslot, the fast track entrance is not overhwelmed, and guests returning can board the ride with minimal wait.
The themed bit of the Green Lantern queue has had a shade roof put over it.
The front bit of the Wild West area has had bitumen laid, replacing the concrete surfacing.
The new bitumen extends up to boot hill.
Who needs a hobby, the gardner? Or us for photographing it?
Attractions seem to be opening at a phenomenal rate in recent times. We'll be back again as work on the Batman Adventure replacement progress towards its Spring 2012 opening.