The Curse of DarKastle – The Ride at Busch Gardens

3D Thrill Ride Through a Castle
Williamsburg, Virginia

The Curse of DarKastle is a dark thrill ride located in the “Germany” part of Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA. In 2005, Electrosonic engineered the audio, video, projection and show control elements of the ride, making extensive use of products from its Media Networks range at the time.

The Curse of DarKastle transports guests through a grand Bavarian castle frozen in time. Following a pre-show that introduces the legend, guests board eight-passenger “Golden Sleighs” for a mesmerizing journey through the castle’s ghostly chambers. The ride vehicles, of which there are 15, are equipped for full multi-axis motion and rotation, and computer-controlled to synchronize with the projected imagery.

Curse of DarKastle

Exterior of the Curse of DarKastle.

Oceaneering delivered the ride system, which uses an innovative motion base for providing the vehicle movements. While in the vehicle, guests see a combination of “hard” theming and 3D projected images seen through polarizing spectacles. The ride uses a total of 19 Electrosonic MS9200P High Definition players with HDSDI digital output. One is used for the pre-show, and the other 18 are used in nine synchronized pairs to show the 3D scenes.

Christie projectors are used throughout; a single projector shows the pre-show and nine pairs of 3-chip DLP™ projectors of differing power and resolution (depending on image size) show 3D images on a mixture of front and rear projection screens. Show control is by ESCAN™, using digital, serial and Mini FrEND™ network interfaces to receive inputs from track sensors and to control the projectors, HD players and special effects.

Audio is a mixture of “off-board” audio, derived from the HD players’ SPDIF digital audio outputs, and “onboard” sound within the vehicle. The off-board sound is decoded and fed though a Peavey Media Matrix for equalization, and thence via QSC amplifiers to 51 Klipsch CA8T loudspeakers augmented with JBL sub bass speakers. On-board sound is carried in Electrosonic MP3 solid state digital players; there are four on board channels per vehicle requiring a total of 30 players. Electrosonic also installed the ride CCTV monitoring system and a comprehensive paging and queue line audio system.

The Curse of DarKastle

One of the scenes in the DarKastle ride, each projected in 3D.