by Joe Tracy, editor of Theme Park Magazine
When one thinks of a dark ride, thoughts of happy music, storytelling, adventure, visual effects, and firing at objects from a moving car may come to mind. However, there are many places where dark rides are also used to educate. Such is the case with The Shipyard Ride – a Titanic dark ride at Titanic Belfast in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The RMS Titanic is the “unsinkable” ship that was built in Belfast in the early 1900s. The Titanic sank 400-miles off the coast of Newfoundland during its maiden voyage in April 1912, killing more than 1,500 passengers and crew. The four-and-a-half-minute “suspended” dark ride takes a closer look at the building of the RMS Titanic which at the time was the largest ship ever built.
Titanic Dark Ride – The Shipyard Ride Video
The following video takes you on The Shipyard Ride, an educational dark ride of the building of the Titanic. The ride travels around a replica of the Titanic’s enormous Rudder. Further down in Explore More (Videos) you can find a video of Queen Elizabeth on the ride. This video is courtesy of YouTube Channel TTAF.
Titanic Belfast and The Shipyard Ride History
The Shipyard Ride is part of Titanic Belfast which is a monument, museum, and experience built on the exact site where the Titanic was originally built in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Construction of Titanic Belfast started in 2009 at a cost of more than $100 million. The ride opened with the museum for the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic in 2012. The Shipyard Ride is only one element of the enormous 120,000 square-foot Titanic Belfast building. There are several museum rooms/sections covering:
- Boomtown Belfast – what Belfast was like when the Titanic was being built.
- The Shipyard – shown through The Shipyard Ride.
- The Launch – how the Titanic was launched into Belfast Lough.
- The Fit-Out – includes a large model of the Titanic and depictions of the cabins.
- The Maiden Voyage – the route Titanic took on its fateful voyage.
- The Sinking – the turmoil after the Titanic struck an iceberg.
- The Aftermath – the inquiries into the disaster.
- Myths & Legends – providing facts and debunking myths about the disaster.
- Titanic Beneath – an incredible glass-floor “look” at the sunken Titanic.
The entire museum is an incredibly themed experience delving into the largest maritime disaster of its time. While the overall experience goes well beyond the Titanic dark ride, it’s the ride that provides a unique perspective into the building and vastness of the RMS Titanic.
The Shipyard Ride contains several immersive elements including sounds and smells to enhance the user experience. The ride was manufactured by WGH Transportation Engineering which was later acquired by Stage One. According to Stage One:
“We developed and installed the bespoke track, hangers and anchor mechanisms, rotating cars, disabled car and control systems. Titanic Belfast also featured a vertical track lift system to provide access for the maintenance area that was below the main station platform level and the addition of winches to facilitate the rise and fall of cars as they traveled through the hull.”
The Shipyard Ride Info
Year Opened: 2012
Ride Time: Four and a half minutes
Ride Type: Dark Ride
Capacity: 6 people per car
Ride Manufacturer: WGH Transportation Engineering (later acquired by Stage One)
Other Titanic Attractions
While the largest Titanic museum is in Belfast, there are many other museums and experiences around the world. Here are a few of them:
- Titanic Experience in Cobh, Ireland – Your ticket includes the name of a real passenger and you find out at the end if you survived or not.
- Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee — Like with the Titanic Experience, you are given a ticket with a real passenger and you find out whether “you” survived or not at the end. The housing is a 30,000-square-foot partial re-creation of the front half of the ship.
- Titanic Museum Attraction in Branson, MO. If the name sounds familiar to the one in Tennessee it’s because they share the same owner – Titanic enthusiast John Joslyn.
- Titanic The Exhibition – Created by Imagine Exhibitions this National Geographic sponsored touring experience includes a recreation of the ship’s interior. And, like with the others you are given a ticket with a real passenger name and you find out later whether that passenger survived or not.
- The Unsinkable Titanic – Since 2014 there has been an on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again attempt to build a full-size replica of the Titanic, that guests can sleep on, in China by Romandisea and Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group Co. National Geographic was granted the right to document the building of the stationary replica. After some construction, the project is again in a holding pattern.
Explore More (Videos)
Her Majesty, The Queen, goes on The Shipyard Ride