“Post Haste!” Concept Video

Our first look at Winter 2018.

By John Holdun on December 10th, 2018

An article about Post Haste!

A still from the video for “Post Haste!” Click to play!

This video tells the story that we’ll be riding through in our project for Winter 2018. It’s a (scale model) classic dark ride attraction called Post Haste!

All of the attractions I’ve created up to this point are like The Jungle Cruise, the classic Disney ride where a dozen guests take a slow cruise along a jungle river while their skipper recites a spiel, live. They’re these broad stories being told with a lot of exposition and a little exploration. For some reason, this is just the format I’m drawn to, or it’s the one that comes to me most naturally. Either way, I want to branch out, so here’s the plan for Winter: we deconstruct a classic dark ride and rebuild it into something new!

Classic dark rides tend to have many gags, smaller and simpler than the tableaux in Jungle Cruise, and their effect depends on a series of quick reveals. The story in these kinds of rides is usually a little more abstract, or reinforced by a more popular source material—you don’t need to spell out the plot of Peter Pan’s Flight because most people riding it have probably seen Peter Pan. I don’t have that luxury here, so our model should stand alone. The mose popular and successful classic dark ride I can think of which tells a story that its audience doesn’t need to know before the lap bar descends? Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

This story is simple. Mr. Toad drives around recklessly and goes to hell for his actions. That’s all it is! The first 85% of the ride is elaborations on what it means to be reckless in a car, and the remainder is a guilty verdict and demons.

My first thought was to flip this around. Maybe, instead of being reckless, the main character is generous? Can we tell an interesting story about someone who is so over-the-top empathetic that they somehow end up creating trouble? To work in this medium, we also need constant motion, quick changes from one short scene to the next. Mr. Toad’s incessant driving isn’t just a plot point; it’s also the way the story is delivered. I want the motion of this ride to be inherent to the story. I want to tell a story that only makes sense if we’re constantly moving through it. Can we preserve that quality and tell a story that is the opposite of Mr. Toad?

I was talking this over with my girlfriend Amy and she had a great idea: maybe it’s somebody who misses an important delivery for their kid who then chases after the delivery truck, hijacks it, and races back home? This has that careless-selfless thing, it has a lot of motion, and it has plenty of opportunities for jokes. She even figured out the title: Post Haste! Thanks Amy!

The video above is all about the plot and does not actually depict the ride. This film and the ride will tell the same story, but not in exactly the same way, and I wanted to figure out the details of our action before it was time to focus on fitting this onto a track.

In Theme Park Design & The Art of Themed Entertainment by David Younger, there’s a great section titled “Through, Not Past:”

In order to make the guest feel they are part of the scene, it is often good for the designer to move the guest through a scene, not simply past it, or to alternate the side of the ride vehicle the scenes are staged to achieve this effect. This can manifest itself on a forward-facing attraction as placing scenic elements on both sides of the ride track, even if one side is the focus.

Everything in this video is happening on one side of the audience—we’re driving down the street and the whole thing is stuck to the sidewalk on one side of us. I need to find excuses in the plot for the audience to leave the street, or for the action to leave the sidewalk, or both. This will be easier to solve once we have all our gags laid out in space. That’s what we’re doing in December!