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Sally Dark Rides Brings Sponge Bob to Las Vegas
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Sally Dark Rides is bringing someone to Las Vegas that will happily stay in Vegas – none other than the cheerful bright yellow SpongeBob SquarePants. Instead of the character’s cartoon home in Bikini Bottom, SpongeBob will be residing in the immersive entertainment company’s SpongeBob’s Crazy Carnival Ride to be located at Circus Circus resort’s AdventureDome theme park.

The family dark ride is being created under the auspices of Paramount, Global Nickelodeon, and Circus Circus, and will be opening early in 2024. Along with SpongeBob himself, Mr. Krabs, who made his animatronic figure debut appearance at IAAPA in November will be one of six such figures in the ride. Others include Mr. Krabs’ nemesis, Plankton, and Patrick, SpongeBob’s pink starfish friend.

Partnering with Circus Circus, the all-new ride features original sets, animatronics, and a mix of multimedia projections and digital elements. Sally Dark Ride’s own creative team, headed by Chief Creative Officer Rich Hill, created an original storyline, in which Mr. Krabs, SpongeBob’s decidedly crabby restaurant-owner boss, begins the ride, inviting riders to play his collection of midway style games which are part of the ride-through experience. SpongeBob and Patrick are enlisted to help by delivering game supplies. But when the pair accidentally use ingredients for Krabby Pattys such as buns, patties, and sea tomatoes to stock the games, Mr. Krabs’ arch rival Plankton plots to steal the famous secret ingredients that make up the Krabby Patty.

Guests will be greeted by Mr. Krabs, eager to show off his midway, and then ride through the experience in vehicles that can sit up to five. Riders will play the carnival games while also defeating Plankton’s planned theft.

The ride has 15 scenes, each  with interactive targets riders can engage, including bonus targets, designed to boost ride revisits by park guests.

Circus Circus general manager Shana Gerety describes the attraction as part of the resort’s large scale “revitalization,” noting that “The high energy attraction will bring a new level of family-friendly competitive gameplay and theme park ride experiences to all our guests…We’re thrilled to add the globally recognized characters of SpongeBob SquarePants to Circus Circus.”

The ride will be the first dark ride in the resort’s indoor AdventureDome amusement park and will cost approximately $6 million dollars. This year is AdventureDome’s 30th anniversary. Presently, the location brings in over 1 million visitors annually to experience the park’s 25 rides. SpongeBob’s Crazy Carnival Ride should be a significant draw.  “Guests from all over the world will love how the over-the-top optimism and humor that SpongeBob SquarePants embodies is integrated in this exciting new attraction,” Gerety says.

According to Paramount Global’s senior v.p. Marie Marks, working with Sally Dark Rides and the resort hotel to bring the ride to life has been an exciting development for the SpongeBob franchise. She asserts that the characters have brought almost 25 years of “incessant optimism to kids and families all over the world – in more than 170 countries and over 30 languages.” As such, it should present quite a draw for the resort and new fun to SpongeBob’s worldwide fans.

Sally Dark Rides president John Wood relates that the company has been “synonymous with developing and installing one-of-a-kind dark ride experiences for the entire family” for over 45 years. “We understand the importance of meeting every detail and getting everything just right for this special brand. Our team has been fully submerged learning each character’s personality and individual traits so that everyone who experiences SpongeBob’s Crazy Carnival Ride will feel like they, too, live in a pineapple under the sea.”

There will be more collaboration with Paramount Global and Nickelodeon ahead, with another SpongeBob SquarePants dark ride project to be developed and installed in Turkey’s The Land of Legends theme park, a popular destination with over 20 rides and 40 water slide attractions. The family park draws close to two million guests annually.

“As we worked with Sally Dark Rides on this dark ride attraction for SpongeBob SquarePants at Circus Circus Las Vegas, we knew we wanted to do more – create more opportunities to bring this delightful, unique ride to other markets across the globe,” Paramount v.p. of themed entertainment Ty Granaroli explains. “After all, SpongeBob fans are everywhere.”

And, according to Fettah Tamince, the theme park’s chairman, “The Land of Legends is an integrated resort with a family theme park, retail area, and hotels, welcoming guests…For a long time, we have wanted to collaborate with Paramount Global on Nickelodeon properties. This new dark ride is part of that collaboration.”

The Turkey location will follow a storyline that’s similar to the one at Circus Circus, with Mr. Krabs introducing guests to his ride-through midway, and SpongeBob and Patrick bringing both help and comic chaos while Plankton attempts to achieve his nefarious plans. That location will also feature special effects and animatronics along with brightly colored sets.

Sally Dark Rides’ CEO Rolf Paegert says that the company was happy to have unveiled a first look at the Las Vegas ride at this year’s IAAPA, and in close succession to announce that a second dark ride will also debut in 2024.

“Sally has proudly brought beloved intellectual properties to life through interactive dark rides for more than 45 years,” he says. He adds that the company is “honored…Paramount, Nickelodeon, and The Land of Legends are trusting us to continue to bring SpongeBob and his friends to life for guests of all ages.”
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