10 Amazing Theme Park Rides That Took Us Off the Rails, Literally

Image: Disney Parks
Image: Disney Parks

Innovations in theme park attractions have come a long way. Trackless rides are the way of the future at Disney Parks, Universal Studios Resorts, and other global amusement experiences.

Here are 10 rides from around the world that fully immerse park-goers in the worlds of films and classic icons, including Star Wars, Scooby-Doo, Shrek, and Beauty and the Beast. These attractions boast ride vehicles that run on a local positioning system, using computers to guide guests through predetermined routes instead of a traditional track. Take a look at how each ride creates unique experiences in this gallery.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance - Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios

On this Star Wars ride, it really feels like you have infiltrated a First Order base. Rise of the Resistance utilizes not just trackless tech but a carefully balanced mix of other ride features to make it all the more thrilling.

Shrek’s Merry Fairytale Journey - Motiongate Dubai

This one looks like a classic dark ride in its meta nature much like the Shrek films, but upgrades it with a trackless adventure. Here’s hoping it will one day be used stateside at one of the Universal Parks.

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway - Disneyland and Disney World’s Hollywood Studios

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway brings the feel of classic cartoons to life in a new way. Inspired by the Paul Rudish animated series, it’s a Toontown and Hollywood Studios favorite for families; the trackless motion means it feels like each train cart is possessed by cartoony spirit.

Scooby-Doo: Museum of Mysteries - WB World Abu Dhabi

This Scooby-Doo mystery comes to life in a funhouse mansion attraction that looks spooky and delightful. A lot of international parks seem to have gotten the trackless tech first, especially at places like WB World in Abu Dhabi.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure - Walt Disney World’s Epcot and Disneyland Paris

The Ratatouille rides at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris shrink you down to rodent size in a cute retelling of the Pixar film.

Mystic Manor - Hong Kong Disneyland

Mystic Manor is a Danny Elfman-scored Haunted Mansion offshoot at Hong Kong Disneyland. The attraction takes the classic idea of Haunted Mansion rides with a new twist: instead of running on an omnimover, it’s trackless and makes the magically enchanted mansion feel like an unfolding labyrinth.

Skull Island: Reign of Kong - Universal Studios Islands of Adventure

Universal Studios Islands of Adventure took the studio tour section of Universal Studios Hollywood’s Peter Jackson’s King Kong and applied it to its own dark ride using the trackless tech. With an expansion of story and an incredible queue it mostly works, but isn’t our favorite.

Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast - Tokyo Disneyland

The full-on fairytale immersion on the Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast makes us want to get to Tokyo Disneyland immediately. The trackless tech and the magic illusions on the ride seem too good to just be seen on a video. The Beast’s transformation is breathtaking.

Pooh’s Hunny Hunt - Tokyo Disneyland

One of Tokyo Disney’s first trackless rides, this one is a fan-fave among Disney lovers who have visited the parks around the world.

Hotel Transylvania - Motiongate Dubai

Dubai got the jump on trackless with another ride—but while the Hotel Transylvania attraction boasts the feature,the ride itself seems pretty static with statues.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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