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Getting aHEAD of myself
Advisory Panel
Feb 12, 2011
Despite various attempts to solidify the theme of Safari Village, Kings Dominion’s African-themed area has long been subject to criticism due to its inconsistent and incoherent theming. A major cause of this problem is Backlot Stunt Coaster. Visually anchoring a large, central section of the area, this Los Angeles-themed industrial-looking attraction largely offsets the ominous jungle theme of Safari Village. My proposition is a retheme of the attraction entirely, nixing the unsightly Hollywood backlot theme in favor of a much more natural and fitting African landscape.

A retheme would offer vast improvements to the aesthetic appeal of the surrounding area and would renew popularity in this quickly aging attraction. Though a substantial retheme could be pulled off in the tiniest fraction of the price of actually building a new coaster, it could be billed as a “new coaster experience” to encourage guests to come and experience the “new” ride. Thus, it would provide the marketing benefits of adding a new coaster without the price tag.

Some may say such a themed attraction is beyond the realm of Cedar Fair. Keep in mind, however, the new CEO Matt Oiumett, with nearly two decades of working with Disney, has a strong belief in theming, and many of his recent additions with Cedar Fair reflect that. This concept is very extensive, although most changes could be done without great cost. My estimate is that a retheme as written below would clock in around $1 million, but it could be done more minimalistically for a lower cost.

Below is a detailed examination of the re-theme.

General Information

  • Theme - Out-of-control safari jeeps on a chase after wildlife poachers through a jungle
  • Track Color - Light brown (symbolizes dirt road)
  • Support color - Dark brown (compliments track color) or dark green (symbolizes jungle colors)
  • Ride Vehicle - Fiberglass Mini Cooper shells are replaced with individual safari jeep shells

Entrance Plaza

  • The road-themed asphalt in front of the ride is replaced with stamped concrete with tire tracks and African animal footprints stamped in.
  • The metal chain link fence around the perimeter is replaced with a brown wooden fence.
  • Lush plants are planted along the area’s perimeter.
  • Signs mounted on posts around the plaza declare “No Poaching!”

  • The ride retains the same queue design as in past incarnations. However, some thematic elements are added.
  • In the empty grassy field along the extended queue, there is a safari jeep reading “Wildlife Patrol.” Near the jeep is a (weatherproofed) tent.
  • Distressed radio calls coming from the tent call for help to stop a group of illegal poachers.
  • As with the chain link fences around the ride, the chain link fences in the queue are replaced with wooden fences.
  • The bridge over the coaster’s final drop is dressed to look like an old wooden bridge. Concrete stamped to look like wooden planks covers the bridge floor, the rails are painted brown, and rope drapes across the rails.
  • Signs mounted throughout the queue continue to declare, “No Poaching!”


  • The station is mainly the same. More “No Poaching!” signs may be present and Jeep tires are stacked along the walls.

    The metal station roof is covered with a tan tarp to make it look like a tent.

NOTE: For the rest of the concept, the numbers beside each category correspond with the time in the video below, allowing you to visualize the point in the ride being referenced.

First Launch Area - 0:14

  • The shipping crates around the first launch are painted brown, partially covered with rope nets.
  • Speakers hidden along the track play fast-paced drum music. This continues through the rest of the ride.

“Parking Garage”/Upward Helix - 0:20-0:27

  • “Parking garage” structure is made to look like an abandoned temple
  • Concrete “parking garage” structure painted reddish-tan.
  • African symbols are etched into the concrete so it looks like a temple.
  • Vines cover the structure.
  • The “Parking” sign on top of the structure is removed
  • The word “Temple,” written in an ancient-looking font, is written on the top concrete beam of the structure.

First Drop/Police Car Scene - 0:30-0:35

  • The police car on the left-hand side of the track is replaced with a large truck, labelled “POACHING.” The truck has working headlights and honks as riders pass by.
  • On the left hand side are two large crates containing two different animals. The animals are nonmoving and similar to the animal statues found throughout Safari Village.
  • The billboard near the first drop is replaced by a stretch of trees.
  • The shipping crates around this area are painted a dark green and covered with shrubbery.

Turnaround/Airtime Humps - 0:37-0:42

  • The first billboard after the turnaround (right-hand side) is replaced by an overly-large snare trap, surrounded by overly-large bear traps.
  • The second billboard (left-hand side) is replaced by a tent with “Poachers” printed on it.
  • The billboard by the following sharp left turn into the “subway stairs” drop is replaced by a crashed poaching Jeep, facing the drop. There is smoke, honking, and working headlights.

“Subway Stairs” Drop - 0:43-0:46

  • The structure remains, although it is given a faux stone finish to make it look like a small temple. The inside and outside is covered with vines.
  • Spears stick through walls for an Indiana Jones-esque effect (spears are beyond the rider envelope, of course).
  • A large snake figure pokes its head over the structure’s exit.

Turn into MCBR - 0:46-0:49

  • There are virtually no changes in this section.
  • A stretch of trees is planted around the turn.

Mid-Course Brake Run Effects - 0:50-1:03

  • The metal shipping crates around the MCBR are painted brown and strewn with rope nets. Animal species and shipping addresses to different African locations are written on the crates.
  • The pipes and props around the MCBR are replaced with animals in crates and wooden crates and barrels. There are rocks and plants surrounding them.
  • The walls are painted a dark green or brown and covered with ivy.
  • The wall around the entrance to the tunnel is covered in faux rockwork and made to look like a crumbling temple.
  • The helicopter and special effects remain. “Poaching” is written on the helicopter.
  • Tense music plays in the area.

Tunnel - 1:04-1:12

  • Similar to Verbolten, different effects are played on different rides, giving multiple ride experience.
  • Effect 1: Bats - Many pairs of red LED lights light up in the tunnel (to look like eyes) and the sound of screeching bats plays
  • Effect 2: Gorillas - Green LED lights light up while the ferocious howls of angry gorillas play.
  • Effect 3: Lions - Yellow LED lights light up while the growling and roaring of lions play.

Final Drop/Splashdown - 1:14-1:16

  • The “billboard” that riders plunge out of is removed and replaced with a rocky mountain-like structure similar to Mt. Kilimanjaro by Flight of Fear. A waterfall cascades down its side and into the splash pool.
  • The splashdown effect remains.
  • The sewer pipes are removed. The water flowing from them simply trickles out of a hole in the pool.
  • Rocks are placed in the splash pool for a natural look.
  • Plants are landscaped around the splash pool. A small wooden sign labels the waterfall “Diamond Falls,” a nod to the coaster’s predecessor.
  • An animatronic crocodile or two are placed in the splash pool and periodically snap their mouths.

Final Turnaround and Break Run - 1:16-1:24

  • The area around the final turnover is filled with trees and large rocks.
  • To the left of the break run, two (simple) animatronic lions stand proudly on a fake rock, facing riders.
  • A banner hung just before the unloading platform displays a phrase such as “Mission accomplished!”


  • All unmentioned metal shipping crates are painted brown and covered with rope net, or covered in wood if budget permits.
  • The gravel covering the ground around the ride is removed and replaced with grass.
  • The metal tunnel leading into the final drops is covered with faux rockwork.
  • Any animatronics in this ride are very simple to keep costs low.
  • Instead of on-board audio, which is extremely unreliable, speakers placed around the track play fast-paced African drum music.

Thank you for taking the time to read this concept! As you can see, it's rather elaborate. Will the park ever choose to go this route? Who knows? Please leave comments below; I'd love to hear what you have to say. Also, I simply cannot come up with a good name for the coaster. Ideas, guys?
Safari Escape? Safari Run? Safari Attack? Illegal Assault? Jungle fever :)? Congo: The attack coaster!?

Edit... I love this idea and I feel deja-vu with this retheme, like we've shared ideas about this before..But anyway, I think your $ estimate on this re-theme is WAY off. The tunnel electronics/music/installation stuff could easily exceed 500 grand by itself. Stonework is very expensive too. I would at least triple your $ estimate to 3 Million if everything on your list was installed. Great ideas!
  • Like
Reactions: Mushroom
Thanks, guys! (Love the names, Mazakman.) :)

Mazakman, you're right. My estimate is way too low. $3 million, by your estimate, still isn't astronomical, but it is a bit pricey. I wonder what could be done to lessen the price?

One thing I'm thinking of is that the "temple" stone structures could be made of faux stone veneer siding, which could be tacked on to the existing walls of the "temple" structures.

This wouldn't be ideal, but perhaps the exterior parts of the tunnel that are kind of distant from guests could just be covered with artificial stone veneer panels. It wouldn't look perfect up-close, but for the distant parts the structure, it could give a nice rocky vibe. Also, veneer is sooo inexpensive. I've seen some companies claim that their products can cover an entire house for just a few thousand dollars.

With that said, the waterfall/mountain structure at the end would need to stay the same as described in the OP. Hmmm... Lots of cans of spray concrete? :p I dunno.

Lastly, the indoor section could be done cheaply. Heck, string up a bunch of color-changing Christmas lights and black out a bunch of them and they'll look like eyes.

But you're totally right, Mazakman. What else could be done to lower the cost?
  • Like
Reactions: buckler89
Getting rid of the custom fiberglass jeep ride vehicles would be a big savings. Maybe just paint the existing cars tan and camo, or some other alteration instead of a full replacement. Putting grass in everywhere would probably not be the parks first choice. Some of the landscape is quite steep over on the 'Tornado' side as well as the final brake area. Having grass could cause erosion problems on these hills, not to mention it would be ALOT of maintenance to keep it pretty. Painting the existing rocks with an epoxy based dark green/brown paint might work. Or maybe a concrete 'stain' would work to darken the existing landscape without changing its maintenance values.
  • Like
Reactions: Jesy and Mushroom
I love this.

EDIT: Anyone familiar with the old smartphone game called Temple Run?

This concept oddly reminds of the it...
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