Laff Trakk

Do Laughter Better

With a desire to extend the seasonality of the park, we collaborated with the Hersheypark team on creating the park’s first indoor roller coaster. Our solution? Laff Trakk—an indoor, spinning “glow-coaster”, the first of its kind in the U.S., combining a high speed thrill ride with an immersive dark ride environment, taking guests on a fast-paced, unpredictable journey through the bright larger-than-life fantasia of a classic American fun house.

Project Type

Indoor spinning coaster dark ride

Location

Hersheypark, Hershey, PA, USA

Client

Hershey Entertainment and Resorts

The
Challenge

Beyond the need for a new attraction to drive attendance, and to re-energize a section of the park, the client needed creative direction and technical expertise to define their vision and realize the full potential of the project. The solution also needed to be cost-efficient and realized on a tight timeline without losing sight of the big goals. The attraction had to be a meaningful “next step” in the destination’s evolution, enriching the park’s array of offerings, and bringing something unique to the market. We collaborated with the Hershey team to expand their creative horizons and understand the full breadth of what they could achieve.

The
Approach

We worked with the client to define what was feasible, viable, and to articulate the full range of creative possibilities for the space and experience. Together, the team saw the potential to bring new dimensions and resonance to Hersheypark’s brand storytelling by drawing on the park’s 115 year heritage. The idea emerged of recombining the old and the new, celebrating Hersheypark’s past using 21st century technology to create something wholly original.

The
Solution​

  • Took a deep research dive into the past of Hersheypark and the bygone era of amusement parks like Coney Island’s Dreamland and Luna Park as well as European amusement traditions.
  • Explored a variety of creative avenues and concepts to recapture and reimagine the past for a new generation.
  • Identified Hersheypark’s history of funhouse attractions as a creative focus and a source ripe for reinvention, setting the goal of creating a funhouse rollercoaster for the 21st century and transforming the “old” into cutting-edge.
  • Designed a spinning coaster ride aimed at optimizing the space and experience and expanding the appeal for a variety of age groups.
    • Balanced the intensity of the thrill experience with family-friendly considerations
    • Free spinning rotation increases re-ridablity
    • Spinning maximizes the 360-degree scenic design potential of the space and opportunity for discovery
  • Visual design evokes outsized funhouse aesthetic and iconography, incorporating large scale scenic elements, blacklight technology, point source audio, and evocative background music.
  • Reintroduced traditional elements like theatrical drop curtains and application of blacklight to 2D printed graphics and intersecting scenic elements to create a 3D illusion.
  • Introduced first themed queue concept to Hersheypark with photo ops and Instagrammable items from the Hersheypark historical archive.
  • Used a smart combination of proven methods and design techniques developed by Raven Sun to optimize cost-efficiency of design, fabrication, and installation and deliver at a regional park price point.
  • Assembled and oversaw fabrication team.
  • Reintroduced Hersheypark’s Laffin’ Sal character as a new icon for the ride.

The Results

Laff Trakk is a fan favorite among park visitors.

The project has expanded Hersheypark’s brand storytelling boundaries, extended their season and increased guest satisfaction. Laff Trakk’s success has inspire the team to explore new frontiers with subsequent projects including Reese’s Cupfusion

Client's Words

"Louis knows everyone in the industry. He brings a lot to the table – different options for us to consider."
Vikki Hultquist
General Manager, Hersheypark

Unique
Features

  • First indoor spinning coaster in US
  • Hersheypark’s first themed queue experience
  • Wild Mouse-style coaster featuring a four-seat ride vehicle with two seats in two rows, back-to-back, capable of 360-degree free-spinning rotation
  • Innovative use of scenic 2D flats to create a 360-degree environment with something to discover no matter the guest’s orientation in the vehicle
  • Scenic graphic blacklight flats, many in excess of 25-feet tall
  • 1,400 feet of track which includes an Immelman turn, multiple high-banked curves, and camelback airtime hills

Our
Scope

  • Concept development
  • Ride vehicle design
  • Show set design
  • All ride and show graphics
  • Audio Design
  • Lighting Design
  • Themed queue with Instagrammable elements
  • Storyboards, animatics, and previsualizations
  • 3D models and wireframes
  • All production assets, over 750 digital files delivered 1:1 in 24 weeks
  • Delivered and supported all market and promotional assets
  • Owner representation
  • Sight review and recommendations
  • Coordination with Hershey executive management and project directors
  • Oversight of all vendors
  • Show Quality Systems (SQS) recommendations
  • Provided all marketing assets

More Work

Laff Trakk’s winter holiday overlay transforms the funhouse world of the indoor rollercoaster into a whimsical winter wonderland. The introduction of new scenic pieces embody the festive mood of season– as seen through Laff Trakk’s distinctly wacky sensibility.

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