The making of Dark Ride Database

Progress (update 26-03-2020)

The editor team is working tirelesly to add more rides. How far are they?

# of entries

26-03-2020 - Almost but not quite there yet

We are almost there, we finished up the ride page design. Symbolica has always been our “home” when it comes to showing and testing the ride page. Over the last few weeks some of our friends have tested the site and we tried to use their input to better the information on the page. This had a few results:


  • Some statistics are not clickable anymore. They messed up the search results so we took that out;
  • We’ve added some new statistics and separated the normal and technical statistics;
  • We’ve added an image copyright area. Unfortunately we are currently unable to automatically put it in the image as a watermark. We are going to keep trying though;
  • We’ve added the possibility to add an onride video.

Of course we still have a lot of work left, but I think we will be alright!

Thanks again for following our progress, we love a the feedback and support we received so far.

Screenshot 2020 03 26 Symbolica Paleis der Fantasie1

21-03-2020 - Almost but not quite there yet

It has been quiete from our side the last month. Luckly that doesn’t mean that we sat still! The last month we started working on finishing up the site. We stopped adding new ideas and spent most of our time optimizing the content on the site. This led to a few visible changes from the older version:

– We’ve split the news section between news and specials (yes we have those!);
– The headerbar has been changed to separate news and specials. We also added this making of;
– We’ve made the header image slightly smaller;

Behind the screens more happened on the site:
– We made the site a whole lot faster by optimizing the images of the site. This will be an ongoing process since we have to juggle between the quality of the image and the speed of the site;
– We’ve changed the icons on the map view. While this may seem small it works so much better this way;

One of the most important pages we added however is the submit a listing/ride page:


Most of the changes have been made after feedback we received from a small testgroup.The first page is a submission agreement. The reason we have this is because we want to ensure that all submitted information can be used in the future. While we respect the copyright of all submission we need the information to be ours to use for the site to run properly the next fews years.

Another change we made from the tests is the separation between adding information or just photos. We want to make it as easy as possible to add new information so everything we can fill in is available for you. Once submitted our editors team will try to let you know as soon as possible what they will do with your submission.

With only about ten days to go we still have a lot of work to do behind the scenes, but we are quite sure we will make it!


29-02-2020 - What does a ride page look like?

The single most important page of our website is the page on which a ride is displayed. Because of this a great amount of care was given to the design of the page. We were looking to do something different than RCDB. While we all love the amount of data you can find of RCDB we also wanted something a bit more modern and sleek in terms of design. We opted for a responsive design which could be viewed on all sorts of devices. Every block on the page has its own use. If there is no information available no block will be shown. This way only relevant information will be displayed.

In our first post we spoke about the search options we offer. The same information that can be searched on is available on the ride page. We also reserved space for photos and onride videos (youtube only). Because not all information can be placed under a certain category or statistic we also have space available for general information and the history of the ride. Also we aim to have a simple information clickable to start a new search, for example to check every other ride by KumbaK.

An example of the ride page can be found under need. Spoorwegmuseum’s “Stalen Monsters” was one of the first rides to be added to the database.  (Can you guess which one was the first?)

DRDB ride pagina

23-02-2020 - What is a dark ride?

In the Dark Ride Database we gather all information that we can find about Dark Rides, Semi-Dark Rides and Show Rides and create an overview for all interested visitors of our website. Visitors (or users) can easily notify the editors of the website when they have additional information about a database listed ride or even come across a new ride that qualifies for a listing.

Besides creating an overview, we also want to focus on news items and specials about rides and manufacturers. Through blogs on our main page we will keep you updated on all the dark ride entries on our website.

At last, we also provide a message board for the users of our website to discuss the variety of rides on our database.

In this update we want to talk about the way we divide dark rides. We have chosen to sort the rides into three categories. Within the categories we’ve made a separation by type. Types can be the same across different categories, think about boat rides such as Merlin’s Quest in Toverland and Pirates of the Caribbean in Disneyland Paris. Both are boat rides, but one is mostly outside and the other is entirely indoors.

To start off with the categories, we separate rides in three:

  • Dark Ride: The definition of a dark ride is a ride that contains a transportation system that takes its riders through a building where a variety of scenes are displayed. A dark ride is almost completely enclosed. The station may be outside of the building (for example: It’s A Small World), but no ride elements should take place outside. If a bigger part of the ride or specific elements take place outside of the dark ride building, the ride will be categorized as a semi-dark ride. Small exception to this rule is balconies, that are often found on ghost trains. The balcony is usually out in the open, but so small that the ride will still categorize as a dark ride.
  • Semi-Dark Ride: A Semi-Dark Ride is a transportation system that will enter a dark ride building at some point, but a good portion of the ride, including some elements, is outside. To classify as a semi-dark ride, the ride must pass through at least two or more scenes inside a building. For example: A roller coaster that passes through one scene, is not a semi-dark ride. The types for semi-dark rides are the same as dark rides
  • Show Rides: Another section of the Dark Ride Database devotes itself to what we call ‘show rides’. These are rides that are completely enclosed, contain a ride system, but not a transportation system. Instead, they focus on a certain type of show (that varies between types) and tell a story. Show rides are often highly immersive and contain a special ride system to simulate a certain feeling or vision. Typical rides that categorize as show rides are Madhouses, Motion Simulators and 3D Films. Attractions that do not contain a ride system (animatronics shows for instance) do not qualify for a listing as show ride.
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Within these categories we also divided several types of rides. For (semi) Dark Rides these are the same and Show Rides are a category of itself:

(Semi-)Dark Rides:

  • Boat ride: A common dark ride type is the boat ride. The boat ride itself comes in various types. Tow-boat-rides, splash boats, log flumes, river rapids, they all are categorized as boat ride. The boat type will be listed (and searchable) as a ride feature.
  • Car Ride: Many dark rides are car rides. Cars follow a specific track or path through the building. These cars can be on the ground, suspended or trackless. A car ride can have a second car attached as a trailer.
  • Free Fall: In some rare occasions, a system for a free fall ride has been fitted in a setting that counts as a dark ride. A Free Fall is still a transportation system, which is the reason why it is categorized as a (semi-)dark ride.
  • Omnimover: An omnimover is a ride system that was developed by Walt Disney Imagineering for their ‘Adventure Thru Inner Space’-ride at Disneyland (CA) that opened in 1967. It consists out of various cars that are all attached to each other and make an infinite loop of cars. These cars won’t stop during normal operations. If they have to stop, the complete ride will stop. An Omnimover is also often called Endless Transit System.
  • Rollercoaster: Some rollercoasters are partly or completely enclosed and heavily themed. These rollercoasters also have an entry in the database. Please note that an indoor coaster will not automatically count as a (semi-)dark ride. To count as a dark ride, the ride must pass various scenes and not just attributes in a large hall.
  • Train Ride: When the transport system consists out of a combination of more than two cars, the ride classifies as a train ride. It is not necessary for the cars to look like a train, as long as the cars are attached to each other.

Show Rides

  • 3D Film: The most common version of the show ride is the 3D film. A hall with seats that serves as a cinema. You will need to put on 3D glasses to view the film. Most 3D cinemas nowadays contain chairs that move along with the screen, calling it 4D, 5D or even 7D. All versions of 3D cinema’s, moving seats or not, will be classified as 3D Film.
  • Flying Theatre: A Flying Theatre is a specific type of simulator. Riders are usually sitting on multiple levels above each other instead of in rows. Flying Theatres usually show movies that give its riders the illusion of flying.
  • Interactive Theatre: The interactive theatre is a cinema-like show ride. The audience receives a laser weapon and will have to shoot on specific targets on a movie screen. The multimedia can be both 2D and 3D. Commonly the seats of an interactive theatre have movement.
  • Madhouse: The Madhouse was designed as an improved version of the haunted swing. The concept was developed by de Efteling for Villa Volta. The first madhouses were built by Vekoma. Nowadays, Vekoma and Mack Rides are both suppliers of Madhouse rides.
  • Simulator: Another well-known version of a show ride is a simulator. Most known type is the motion simulator. However, over the years, more simulators have been developed, such as Immersive Tunnels and solo rider based Virtual Reality simulators. A simulator always combines multimedia with movement.

07-02-2020 - Welcome to the Database

Welcome visitor, welcome to the Dark Ride Database!

Theme parks are known for a variety of rides, such as rollercoasters, water rides and carousels. Another popular type of theme park rides are dark rides. These are rides that consist of a transportation system that takes rides through a building with a number of scenes. Dark rides are often highly immersive rides and contain a lot of theming. The purpose of the website is to create an overview of all dark rides and collect as much information as possible about the ride system, theming, manufacturer and much more. Apart from dark rides, the website will collect semi-dark rides (open air transportation systems that enter an enclosed building with scenes at one point) and a category of rides that we dubbed ‘show rides’. Madhouses, simulators and flying theatre-rides will be among this category.


This new website will launch on April 1st 2020 (that’s not a joke!). We will open the website in phases. For the time being, we will only focus on exsisting dark rides in Europe. Future phases of the Dark Ride Database will focus on an archive of defunct/removed dark rides and on other continents. Besides the database, the website will focus on news and specials about database noted rides and will contain a message board for the users.

Who are we?

The Dark Ride Database was founded by three friends The Netherlands: Johan, Erik and Luc. After philosophizing with the idea for quite some time, works on the website began in the fall of 2019 with the intention to open the website at the beginning of the 2020 season. A lot of information about dark rides all over Europe have been gathered in the last 6 months, however a lot is still unknown. After the opening of the Dark Ride Data Base, the website relies on the users to collect information about the listed rides. Users can add rides, photos and information, which (after being reviewed by our editors) will be published online.

We hope to see you all after our opening on April 1st 2020! Right in time for the beginning of the new theme park season in Europe.

DRDB Team.

07-02-2020 - A little sneakpeak

Welcome all,

The next few weeks we want to take you on a journey through our database system. This first blog will look at the different options we offer to search through the database. To ensure that finding the ride you are looking for is easy we have setup a wide variety of information to filter on.

  • Category
  • Type
  • Park
  • Opening year
  • Designed by
  • Ride manufacturer
  • Theming manufacturer
  • Music by
  • Ride duration (in minutes)
  • Capacity
  • Construction cost

The search engine uses a map as the primary way of searching. The current map is shown below. 200 entries can be displayed at a time (this is to ensure short loading times). This is shown below.

2020 02 09 17 06 41 Explore – DRDB

Since mobile internet consumption has risen above desktop and laptop internet consumption, we designed the site with the mobile users in mind. We think it is important to offer the mobile users the same range of functions as the desktop users. For this reason, the mobile search screen is separated into three tabs.

DRDB Mobile

The coming weeks will be spent optimizing and adding a lot of new rides into the database. As said, we will be open on April 1st 2020.