Looney Tunes River Ride
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|Looney Tunes River Ride|
|Warner Bros. Movie World|
|Area||Kids' WB Fun Zone|
|Opening date||3 June 1991|
|Closing date||1 February 2011|
|Replaced by||Junior Driving School|
|Warner Bros. Movie World Germany|
|Opening date||30 June 1996 (as Looney Tunes Adventure) |
19 March 2005 (as Ice Age Adventure)
|Closing date||31 October 2004 (as Looney Tunes Adventure) |
1 November 2016 (as Ice Age Adventure)
|Replaced by||Ice Age Adventure|
|Type||Free flow boat ride|
|Manufacturer||Warner Bros. Movie World|
|Lift system||1 vertical lift|
|Boats||14 boats. Riders are arranged 4 across in 4 rows for a total of 16 riders per boat.|
|Height restriction||90 cm (2 ft 11 in)|
|Restraint style||Lap bar|
Must transfer from wheelchair
Looney Tunes River Ride (formerly Looney Tunes Studio - Journey into Fantasy) was a dark boat ride at Warner Bros. Movie World on the Gold Coast, Australia. The ride in Australia opened with the park on 3 June 1991 and closed on 1 February 2011 to make way for Junior Driving School.
The Looney Tunes River Ride opened with the Warner Bros. Movie World on 3 June 1991 as Looney Tunes Studio - Journey into Fantasy, and was sponsored by the Nine Network. It was one of four attractions in the Looney Tunes Land section of the park. The ride later had its name changed to Looney Tunes Studio Tour, and in December 1997, the ride's name was changed to Looney Tunes River Ride alongside the launch of Looney Tunes Village. Nine Network's sponsorship of the ride ended with this.
As the Looney Tunes River Ride had many ongoing technical problems and was out of date, Warner Bros. Movie World announced that the ride would close on 14 February 2011 until further notice in early January, 2011. The ride was also closing due to the closure of Looney Tunes Adventure. Towards the end of the month, the closing date was re-announced to be 1 February 2011. On 1 February 2011, the ride was permanently closed, and its queue area was converted into a viewing area for the Road Runner Roller Coaster, and the Speedy Gonzales animatronic featured at the end of the ride can be found in Speedy Gonzales Tijuana Taxis. It was later confirmed on the 12 September 2014, that the Looney Tunes River Ride would be replaced with Junior Driving School. On 10 December 2012, the boats, electric steam boilers, colourbond slimline tanks and sawed tree used in the Looney Tunes River Ride were put up for auction at Village Roadshow Studios.
Looney Tunes River Ride was originally designed in-house by Warner Bros. Movie World in Australia. Sanderson Group was also involved in the ride's development, as it designed the ride's entrance, queue areas and theming and the earth drill, and was responsible for the ride's special effects. The park's parent company, Village Roadshow Theme Parks, previously opened Lassiter's Lost Mine at Sea World in 1987, which utilised the same in-house ride system used on the Looney Tunes River Ride. The ride system was designed by Australian Electric Vehicles and controlled by ASI systems from Anitech Systems Inc. The ride had easily spotted sensors that would trigger the animatronics' movements and voices when a boat passed them from below, and its fourteen boats catered for 16 riders distributed in rows of 4. The ride's first pre-show room's walls were themed after the 1981 jigsaw puzzle The Looney Tunes Characters. The 91 audio-animatronics featured in the ride used actuators and pneumatics and were designed by Sally Corporation. Sally Corporation would go on to design scenes and Looney Tunes animatronics for Six Flags Over Texas' Yosemite Sam and the Gold River Adventure! dark boat ride in 1992. Village Roadshow Theme Parks approached many companies (including Sally Corporation) about designing the animatronics for the ride. Each company was asked to produce a "test Bugs", and then Village Roadshow Theme Parks would decide on the company to go with the Bugs Bunny animatronic that they produced. One of the Bugs Bunny animatronics that was designed won the multimillion-dollar animatronics contract for Warner Bros. Movie World. Village Roadshow Theme Parks then did something sneaky: they decided to use all the prototype Bugs Bunny animatronics in the ride, which was why they all looked slightly different from each other.
The German ride, Looney Tunes Adventure, was manufactured by Intamin and Australian Electric Vehicles, and its ride system was controlled by ASI systems from Anitech Systems Inc., and it had easily spotted sensors that would trigger the animatronics' movements and voices in the ride when a boat passed them from below. Looney Tunes Adventure and another Warner Bros. Movie World in Germany attraction, Bermuda Dreieck (now Bermuda Triangle: Alien Encounter), utilised the same in-house ride system. The ride's eleven boats catered for 12 riders distributed in rows of 4, and offered a capacity of 1000 riders per hour. Zeitgeist Design and Production's Ryan Harmon served as the Director of Show Development for Warner Bros. International Recreation Enterprises, where he conceived, wrote and managed the design team for Warner Bros. Movie World in Germany's worth of rides, shows and attractions, including Looney Tunes Adventure. Alan Griffith Architect was also involved in the ride's development. The ride's theming was designed by Botticelli's - Atelier der angewandten Malerei and Sanderson Group. Like Looney Tunes River Ride, Looney Tunes Adventure's first pre-show room's walls were themed after The Looney Tunes Characters. The pre-show rooms were painted by Botticelli's - Atelier der angewandten Malerei. Looney Tunes Adventure had more animatronics with moving eye pupils than Looney Tunes River Ride. The ride shared its water, maintenance pools and exit with Die Unendliche Geschichte - Auf der Suche nach Phantasien (now Excalibur - Secrets of the Dark Forest). In 2003, the head of the Speedy Gonzales animatronic in the pre-show was redesigned. The animatronic's open mouth was what made it even creepier than before.
Ice Age Adventure
Thinkwell Group was contacted by StarParks because of its expertise in creating intellectual property-based attractions. Thinkwell brokered the relationship between 20th Century Fox and StarParks to bring Ice Age to Movie Park Germany. StarParks was worried about the cost of licensing a blockbuster intellectual property. Thinkwell convinced StarParks that it wouldn't cost as much as they feared. The project was less than nine months from start to finish, which was about a third of the amount of time it would typically take to complete such an attraction. Thinkwell kept the existing ride system and reworked much of the existing theming from Looney Tunes Adventure to work with the new intellectual property. Unbeknownst to Thinkwell, its storyline was very similar to what Blue Sky Studios was developing for Ice Age's sequel, Ice Age: The Meltdown. Thinkwell worked closely with Fox and Blue Sky to develop the story, got their approvals quickly and went to work completing the design and fabrication to make opening day for the new season as Movie Park Germany.
Blue Sky helpfully provided its 3D computer models of the characters to Thinkwell. This allowed Thinkwell to do CNC carvings for the animatronics rather than traditional hand sculpting, which saved weeks, if not months, in production. Craig Hanna, Thinkwell's Chief Creative Officer and co-founder, flew to New York and met with Lori Forte, John C. Donkin, Chris Meledandri and Chris Wedge, the producers and director of the films, and got to meet the animators and understand the essence of the intellectual property. Later, Thinkwell's designers worked with Blue Sky's animators to pose the characters from the film for the ride. It was a great process. In the beginning, to save time, Thinkwell sent a team to Movie Park Germany, where they worked on-site in temporary offices that they provided for Thinkwell. They quickly developed the initial concept and full presentation to executive management, complete with layout, storyboards, scene descriptions and script in one week. On the night before opening, the last shipment of animatronics arrived from the United States and Thinkwell were in waders walking through the filled trough carrying animatronics through the ride to get them loaded in, installed and wired in place of the animatronics featured in Looney Tunes Adventure in time for Movie Park Germany’s opening on 19 March 2005.
The cost to license the soundtrack from Ice Age was prohibitive, so Thinkwell hired Jean-Francois Cote, a composer from Cirque du Soleil, and created their own that was reminiscent of the film’s theme song, but it was actually a whole new piece. They also had to hire German voice actors to do the voices of the characters in the ride. The voice actors from the German release of Ice Age, such as Otto Waalkes, who voices Scrat and Sid, were too expensive, so Thinkwell hired other sound-alike voice actors. Those actors were famous German comedians that were more popular than the people who did the voices from the film. The ride had a multitude of immersive special effects, including a real snow flurry, explosive steam geysers, smoldering fissure eruptions, and intense blasts of heat and cold. The audio, special effects and lighting system vendors were project managed by Thinkwell's European Technical Director, Philip Hartley, who was working alongside Philip Hartley Associates' technical co-ordinator Annika Oetken. It was announced at the 12th Annual Thea Awards, at IAAPA 2005, that Ice Age Adventure had won the outstanding achievement award in the category of "Limited Budget/Refurbishment". The award's presentation to Thinkwell was made at the Thea Awards Gala on 18 March 2006.
Closure of Ice Age Adventure
In later years, Ice Age Adventure was not received well by visitors to the park. Many of the ride's animatronics were broken and the special effects weren't operating anymore. In 2012, Movie Park Germany promised that a major refurbishment in 2013 would be planned, with characters (like Crash, Eddie, Ellie, Peaches and Buck) and scenes from Ice Age, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Ice Age: Continental Drift. However, the refurbishment was cancelled since the ride didn't quite fit the theme of Nickland. On 1 November 2016, Ice Age Adventure performed its last run, and a wreath was laid down at the ride. On 6 December 2016, it was announced that Ice Age Adventure would not reopen in 2017, because Movie Park Germany's 10-year licensing of the ride had expired at the end of 2016. The ride's closure was also due to the cancellation of its refurbishment, and it resulted in the retirement of the Scrat, Sid, Diego and Scratte walk-around characters. However, the show building that enclosed Ice Age Adventure does not remain unused, as there are already plans for the future, and the ride's queue area was converted into a picnic area, and the souvenir shop still exists, albeit used for Excalibur - Secrets of the Dark Forest, and the boats used in the ride are used as additional boats for Bermuda Triangle: Alien Encounter, and Ice Age 4-D: No Time for Nuts is still shown at the Roxy 4D-Kino, and one of Ice Age Adventure's Diego animatronics can be found in the Roxy 4D-Kino's entrance lobby, and another Diego animatronic and a Manny animatronic can be found as circus animals in Circus of Freaks during the Halloween Horror Fest.
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