By Andy Guinigundo
Jacksonville, Florida’s Sally Corporation may not pop into your mind when you think about theme park rides. Chances are, however, you have been on a Sally Corp dark ride. E.T. Adventure at Universal Studios here in Orlando? – Sally. Maybe Legoland is more your style. Perhaps you have been on Legoland’s Lost Kingdom Adventure in Florida or California – Sally. Boo Blasters on Boo Hill at several Cedar Fair parks? Gobbler Getaway at Holiday World? Reese’s Xtreme Cup Challenge at Hershey? All Sally. The resume goes on and on in the US and abroad.
Opening its doors in 1977, Sally Corporation started as an animatronics company. They grew from those beginnings into what some describe as the “Great American Dark Ride Company”. They develop interactive, classic and haunted dark rides. They take charge of the whole process of dark ride development including storyline, animatronics, soundtrack, lighting, etc.
This leads us to their latest creation that resides in the land down under, more specifically Oxenford, Queensland, Australia at Warner Bros. Movie World. Obviously, movie-themed, the park houses about 20 rides and attractions including five roller coasters and now a great new dark ride – Justice League: Alien Invasion 3D.
Having personally been on many Sally Corp dark rides, this ride appears to be their most technologically advanced. The exterior is that of the Hall of Justice, the headquarters of the Justice League, i.e. the alliance of DC superheroes including Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Batman and others. Riders make their way through a highly themed queue that tells the backstory of the upcoming adventure. As riders board the vehicles, they don 3D glasses and grab their laser blasters. Riders blast aliens that react to being shot. The riders’ scores are illuminated on in-car consoles. Eight huge 3D screens are utilized in the ride, along with animatronics. The ride could be what some call “4D” in that it incorporates heat and other sensory special effects. By ride’s end, guests become honorary members of the Justice League.
Perhaps, like me, you may not make to Australia any time in the next decade or so. Justice League 3D – The Ride is the first of its kind in the world by Sally Corporation. Certainly, the vast majority of dark rides by Sally Corporation reside in the U.S. Could we see a ride like this in the U.S.? One can dream.