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MickeyD

World Expo 88 fun Park 'Alien Encounters' details and the fire that destroyed it

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Im wondering if anyone can find some more details on this amazing Dark ride. Here is what I can remember of it:

- the ride operated from the beginning of World Expo 88 in April and was destroyed by fire in June 1988. Rumour has it this was the 2nd fire - the first whilst being built before it even opened!

- 4 people were taken to Hospital from smoke inhalation and hundreds more were evacuated safely at the time.

- it was reportedly destroyed due to an electrical fire, however long rumored sabotaged for the insurance dollars

- the ride was easily the most popular Attraction and easily attracted 2 hour+ waits. Being a dark ride, it was one of few attractions that families could ride together. So why was it never rebuilt?

- If Alien encounters was not destroyed/ replaced, could this have been the magic bullet needed for the Fun Park to survive after Expo? It lasted little more than a year after the expo curtain fell in september. We will never know..

I was just 13 years old when I got to ride, one and only ever time. It was in fact the night before the ill faited fire that would forever make it forgotten. Ill tell you what I remembered.

The front of the ride had a bare painted wall that had the ride's title shown in a bolt of lightning, above it's entrance. Once inside you would navigate narrow staircases and winding corridors that seemingly went forever. The walls were plain, dark with murals of alien faces displayed randomly. These murals wound up inside the queue for Supernova dark roller coaster, after the fire. The queue moved painfully slow and partly because of capacity, but mostly because there were continued estops due to fire effects inside the ride. Yup, fire effects!

After probably 2 hours waiting I finally reached the station. The trains seated just 2, white painted cars with a single bar that would clamp down over the waist. Your feet and rest of your body left very exposed to what lay ahead. As you rounded a black lit landscape entering a cave, snakes hung from a slimy tunnel above and air effects insued. Suddenly and without warning a great big dinasoar like head shot out from the side blasting flames at you from its mouth. These types of jumps occurred over and over as you descended into the slimy dark caverns. I remembered then reaching a crashed space ship set which the train explored. The sounds of beating and steam as well as critters off in the distance together with the dim lighting really built the suspense. I was genuinely shitting my pants and as much as I loved it, really couldn't wait for it all to end. I felt so isolated and think that is what made this such a genuinely terrifying experience.

The ride ended with a rather dull chain lift back to the station. I exited perhaps 2.5 hours after entering the building, and to my parents fury!!

The very next day the ride was destroyed by fire

I have such surprising memories of this ride, it truly made an impact with me. Now more than 25 years later I am keen to find out more about it. Who designed the ride. Was a similar model built elsewhere and of course I ask of any of you fellow Dinasoar parkz members like me have any memories of this? To my account, this is about as much as anyone has ever remembered of this iconic ride. I would dearly love to find out more information on it!!

Edited by MickeyD

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"I'd like to make it absolutely clear to the people of Australia that this is the safest place on earth."

- Sir Llew, after fire destroyed the Alien Encounters ride at World Expo Park.

"Expo is the safest site in Brisbane"

- Sir Llew, after the fifth Expo fire, also in Alien Encounters.

Maybe get in touch with these guys?

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I was 5/6 when Expo was on, so I wasn't quite old enough for the amusement park attached, but I do remember some of the pavilions and shows. My favourite video as a kid was a taped news special, not unlike the one above, about Expo. I played that thing until the video cassette broke.

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Great topic MickeyD!! I never knew about the fate of Alien Encounters nor exactly what the ride entailed- its a shame this ride didn't survive to live on in another park in Australia! I am of a similar vintage to you and it is to my everlasting regret that I never got the chance to visit World Expo 88. Great video too Gary86- I had not seen that before!

It is also with much regret to look at the Expo World Park and see the coasters and rides that were left to leave our shores. I would love to have seen a park pick up the other 2 coasters like Wonderland did with Titan.

Here are some pics of various rides from the park.

In the first you can see the Centrifuge and in the foreground the Breakdance which eventually ended up at LPS as Spider. ( LPS eventually acquired 3 Huss rides from Expo park for its '95 re-imagining, Spider, Ranger and the now defunct UFO)

I have also included some pics of Supernova and also ones from where it currently resides- ironically Dreamworld in Thailand as Space Mountain.

There are also some pics of Centrifuge at Expo park and also at Dreamworld ,Thailand where it is now currently called Skycoaster.

What a shame that these 2 rides could not have stayed in Australia- I guess a visit to Thailand is in order!

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Omg Jobe thanks for sharing those pics - I haven't seen those shots of Supernova before??? That and Centrifuge are they both still operating?

Supernova was a terrific rollercoaster. Not Space Mountain by any stretch but a really fun ride that with just a million bucks spent on it, could have really enhanced the experience

Still no reply back from the expo people on Alien Encounter but I think I may have found the ride's designer - a Melbourne based company named 'Camac Australia'. I would love to get my hands on the design and photos of the ride and will be sure to share them on Parkz once I do! - Maybe with Richard's consent and perhaps Jobe, you might be keen to help with a series of front page article's on Aussie Parks of yesteryear?

Edited by MickeyD

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Omg Jobe thanks for sharing those pics - I haven't seen those shots of Supernova before??? That and Centrifuge are they both still operating?

Supernova was a terrific rollercoaster. Not Space Mountain by any stretch but a really fun ride that with just a million bucks spent on it, could have really enhanced the experience

Still no reply back from the expo people on Alien Encounter but I think I may have found the ride's designer - a Melbourne based company named 'Camac Australia'. I would love to get my hands on the design and photos of the ride and will be sure to share them on Parkz once I do! - Maybe with Richard's consent and perhaps Jobe, you might be keen to help with a series of front page article's on Aussie Parks of yesteryear?

Yeah both Skycoaster ( Centrifuge) and Space Mountain ( Supernova) are both still currently operating at Dreamworld in Thailand. By all accounts this is a nice little park!

Happy to help out in any way MickeyD!! Let me know!

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Interesting..good pick up themeparkgc.

Also noted that they listed First State '88. I went to this when I was in school-certainly cannot recall anything that resembled a ride mechanism or a dark attraction. I am guessing that this would be work on several animatronics that were present at the exhibition.

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I have a feeling the Gremlins ride systems at both Movie Worlds (Australia & Germany) were built by a company called Australian Electric Vehicles. The company states they worked on "many rides" for both parks (http://www.aev.com.au/retail/) as well as parade vehicles (http://www.aev.com.au/b2b/parade.shtml).

Anyway, here's a pic of the German ride system which I presume was the same as the one here:

gremlinsadventurecar.jpg

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