Six Flags Magic Mountain takes on Disney and Universal with Justice League ride

Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia will add an interactive dark ride in 2017, the first in its 45-year history and one designed to compete with Southern California rivals Disney and Universal.

The Justice League: Battle for Metropolis 3-D dark ride, designed by Florida-based Sally Corp., will be themed to the crime-fighting team of DC Comics superheroes.

Six Flags parks are renowned for their towering steel coasters, not indoor dark rides. Magic Mountain has staked its reputation on rides built for speed and thrills, but it has left the slower-paced dark rides, based on storytelling elements and special effects, to Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood.

The Justice League dark ride will feature motion-platform vehicles, animatronic figures, special effects and laser-gun game play inside a 23,000-square-foot building.

The new ride’s back story finds Lex Luthor, the Joker and Harley Quinn teaming up to kidnap the Justice League superheroes and unleash a sinister laughing gas on the unsuspecting citizens of Metropolis.

After hacking into a computer, the supervillains uncover weaknesses in the Justice League’s defenses and kidnap Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern and Supergirl.

The mission: Rescue the Justice League and save Metropolis from destruction. Along the way, visitors will encounter plenty of gunfire, cannon blasts and explosions along with a pair of chase scenes. The digital scenes will play out on multiple 3-D screens that are as wide as 44 feet, nearly the width of a basketball court.

Oceaneering Advanced Technologies will supply motion-platform vehicles that tilt forward, backward and side-to-side based on the action inside the ride. The Maryland-based company has built ride systems for Universal’s Transformers and Spider-Man attractions as well as the Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin trackless vehicles at SeaWorld Orlando in Florida.

Belgium-based Alterface will handle interactive gaming elements and show controls for the new attraction. Riders wearing 3-D glasses and armed with laser guns will be able to watch as projectiles fly through the air and into video screens at virtual targets. Alterface worked on the similar Maus au Chocolat shoot-’em-up dark ride at Phantasialand in Brühl, Germany.

Through the years, Sally Corp. has developed dark rides for every Legoland park (Lost Kingdom Adventure), four Cedar Fair parks (Boo Blasters on Boo Hill), Pennsylvania’s Hersheypark (Reese’s Xtreme Cup Challenge), Indiana’s Holiday World (Gobbler Getaway) and Universal Studios Florida (E.T. Adventure).

In 2012, the company built the $9-million Justice League: Alien Invasion 3-D dark ride at Australia’s Warner Bros. Movie World, which features a story line involving extraterrestrial invaders rather than supervillains.

Six Flags has already installed the Justice League attractions at parks in Texas, Missouri, Illinois and Mexico. Besides Magic Mountain, clones of the dark ride will open in 2017 at Six Flags parks in New Jersey and Georgia.

The new Justice League attraction at Magic Mountain will replace the former Batman stunt show arena. The Magic Mountain version of the ride will feature three scenes not found in previous versions of the ride.

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