Seeing “Dark” Disney & Universal Attractions With The Lights On

by SharonKurheg

Some attractions at Disneyland (DL), Walt Disney World (WDW) and the Universal parks are nearly 100% outdoors – DL’s Grizzly Peak, WDW’s Slinky Dog Dash Roller Coaster and UO’s One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish all come to mind. Other attractions (DL’s Radiator Springs Racers, WDW’s Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Roller Coasters and Uni’s Jurassic Park, for examples) are partially outdoors and partially indoors, which gives the parks the opportunity to control more aspects of the ride experience. Still other attractions are nearly 100% indoors – i.e. The Haunted Mansion and Soarin’ at the Disney parks, or Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey or Despicable Me at Uni – besides even more control over the experience, it also protects guests from the weather (which is more of an issue at the Florida-based parks that have to deal with more rain, thunder, lightning and extreme heat and humidity than their California-based counterparts).

Many of the partially and completely indoor rides are considered to be “dark” rides, which means the rooms you go through are dark, either to make it seem scarier (i.e. Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, E.T. Adventure) or to get the riders to focus on whatever the “lit up” scene they’re up to (i.e. DL’s Monsters, Inc., WDW’s Journey Into Imagination, Universal’s Revenge of The Mummy).

There are occasional opportunities to see “dark rides” with the lights on – Disney Cast Members are sometimes allowed to experience the attractions that way, and there are occasional behind-the-scenes tours at the various theme parks for guests to have the experience. When something goes wrong on a dark ride, the emergency lights sometimes go on, which is also a way to see these usually “dark” rides in a whole new way. Several videos of these “special” experiences have been captured on video, and we gathered a bunch of them. Enjoy!

Note: We didn’t videotape any of these experiences and therefore have no control of the audio/video quality (or if any NSFW words are used – be aware). Some of these videos are great representations of dark rides with the lights on, but others may be older and have less video quality, some faster rides have wind noise, etc. We look at all of these videos as, “Well, it’s better than nothing” and we hope you will, too. 😉

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (Universal Orlando)

Dinosaur (Walt Disney World)

E.T. Adventure (Universal Orlando)

Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey (Universal Orlando)

The Haunted Mansion (Walt Disney World) (the “lights on” part begins at 1:16)

Indiana Jones Adventure (Disneyland)

Peter Pan’s Flight (Disney – they didn’t specify which park)

Pirates of the Caribbean (Walt Disney World) (Note: this video explains a lot of what’s going on. The actual “Lights On” starts at 6:54)

Revenge Of The Mummy (Universal Hollywood)

Rockin’ Roller Coaster (Walt Disney World)

Roger Rabbit’s cartoon Spin (Disneyland)

Snow White’s Scary Adventure (Walt Disney World)

Space Mountain (Disneyland)

Space Mountain (Walt Disney World)

Transformers: The Ride – 3D (Universal Hollywood)
This last one isn’t a video, but Theme Park Insider got an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the attraction just before it opened in 2012 and they included LOTS of pictures of the ride with the lights on. Click here to take a look.

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