This week, Michael Jackson's Captain EO staged an unlikely comeback and reopened at Disneyland. Here are six sadly defunct science fiction fairground rides that you can still visit, thanks to the magic of YouTube.
Who needs amusement parks? The lines are interminable, apoplectic ankle-biters are everywhere, and a candy apple costs as much as a fancy microbrew. Take a staycation with io9's YouTube recap of bygone theme park attractions. You're always first in line, you can ride in your underwear, and nobody cares if you're drunk and rowdy!
1.) Back To The Future: The Ride
Where: Universal Studios Hollywood and Florida
Open From: Hollywood: 1991-2007. Florida: 1993-2007.
In BTTF: The Ride, 1955 Biff Tannen absconds with Doc Brown's time machine to the future. Audience members hop inside an eight-passenger DeLorean and chase Biff to 2015, the ice age, and the Cretaceous Period. If you absolutely must ride this, it's still open at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. Doc Brown will likely be screaming at you in Japanese, but it's the pilgrimage that counts.
Where: Universal Studios Florida
Open From: 1990-2002
The classic animatronic King Kong ride, complete with banana-scented halitosis. This staple of Universal Studios closed in 2002, presumably due to the cost of maintaining two 39-foot gorilla robots. If I were an eccentric billionaire, I'd buy both just to keep the help in line. Giant robot gorilla butlers. Fucking A.
(Also, R.I.P. King Kong Encounter.)
3.) ReBoot: The Ride
Where: Segaland Playdium (Mississauga, Ontario), then Circus Circus and The Luxor (Las Vegas)
Open From: 1997-2007
This ReBoot IMAX attraction ran for a solid decade and well after the show had gone off the air. The footage is a little grainy, but you'll get the gist of it.
4. Star Trek: The Experience
Where: The Las Vegas Hilton
Open From: The Klingon Encounter: 1997-2008. Borg Invasion 4-D: 2004-2008.
In The Klingon Encounter, guests time-traveled to the TNG-era Enterprise and were attacked by the raving Klingon Korath, who claimed one of audience members was Jean-Luc Picard's distant antecedent. As far as Klingon plots go, it's total genius. Rather than engage Picard in interstellar combat, it's way less work to slaughter a bunch of confused Vegas tourists.
The highlights of Borg Invasion 4-D were a visit to the Borg Cube and a last-minute rescue from Captain Janeway, during which she opined, "Congratulations. You've defeated the Borg with one thing the Queen can never assimilate: the human spirit." Thanks, Captain Janeway. I'll remember your rosy words when I'm getting my kidneys forcibly replaced with an 8-track player.
Star Trek: The Experience was supposed to re-open at the Las Vegas Neonopolis mall sometime this year, but there's nothing new to report these days.
The Klingon Encounter:
Borg Invasion 4-D:
5.) Stargate SG-3000
From what scant information I found about this Stargate SG-1-themed attraction, it once resided at several Six Flag affiliate parks but is now only open at the Space Center in Bremen, Germany, which - according to German Wikipedia - closed in 2004. Either way, es ist sehr verrückt, ja?
6.) The Ghostbusters Spooktacular Show
Where: Universal Studios Florida
Open From: 1990-1996
They replaced this with a goddamn Twister ride. How's that for looking out for posterity?