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    Time Riders – FX Thrill Ride


    Time Riders logo

    The motion simulator ride inside the Great Canadian Midway has had a rocky history. It started out as the Fun House Express Ride, then it became the FX Thrill Ride, then it became Cosmic Coaster, and now it is FX Ride Theatre (I might have the two FX names mixed up). They have only shown a couple of movies, and they are all in 2D. In fact, I think it is still the only motion simulator in Niagara Falls that is not 4D.

    Last Thursday I went and saw their latest movie, Time Riders. It is “hosted” by John Cleese. He has created a time machine, and the story is you end up traveling through time. As you stop at different times, you end up being trampled by a woolly mammoth, facing underwater sea creatures, and going into the future into space.

    The video is well done, but it just seemed to lack some excitement. It also seemed short (but I can’t remember for sure how long the other rides were). I suppose the ride caters to a particular audience. If you like these sorts of motion simulators, then you’d probably enjoy the ride.

    DAFE Goes Over the Falls in a Barrel (of Fun)

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    DAFE (Darkride and Funhouse Enthusiasts) are had an event in Niagara Falls at the beginning of December:

    Join DAFE and friends again as we visit the Niagara Falls area for a fun filled informal event! Canada’s Clifton Hill tourist area is filled with an assortment of attractions that would thrill and excite all DAFE members! Don’t miss it as we visit the House of Frankenstein, Nightmares Fear Factory, Ghost Blaster interactive dark ride, Mystery Maze, Haunted House, Fun House, Screamers House of Horrors, FX Thrill Ride Theater playing the Fun House Express, Horror Manor Chamber of Terror, Dracula’s Haunted Castle, Screamers House of Horrors and more!

    Unfortunately the site doesn’t have any pictures of details on how the event went.

    Things to do in Niagara Falls: Great Canadian Midway


    Over the next few entries in this weekly feature, I’m going to write about the 3 arcades that are in the main tourist area. Calling them arcades probably isn’t fair. When I think of an arcade I think of a small dark area crammed with video games and pinball machines. The arcades in the tourist area are giant, open spaces with classic video games, bowling, sports simulators, and more. The 3 operations are the Great Canadian Midway (HOCO Limited), Marvel Superheroes Adventure City (Canadian Niagara Hotels), and SkyQuest (Skylon) (also called Skylon Entertainment Centre or Skylon Fun Centre). To start of the series, I’ll write about the Great Canadian Midway.


    Prior to 2002, HOCO Limited used to have their Dinosaur Park Miniature Golf and Dazzleland Arcade right at the street on Clifton Hill. When construction started, the miniature golf course was moved to a portion of the Comfort Inn Clifton Hill parking lot, and Dazzleland was taken out entirely. In its place a huge Boston Pizza (largest in Canada) and a 60,000 square foot entertainment complex was built.

    Inside Boston Pizza (the upper level) is a bar and games area called Sports Zone which is essentially a continuaton of the games downstairs. Upstairs are several Bowlingo lanes, a sports simulator (soccer, hockey, pitching, etc) and many other sports-related games. Although there are a couple of things that younger children would enjoy, the games are mostly for the teenager or adult crowd.

    Downstairs is where most of the games are, and this is really what is considered the Great Canadian Midway (GCM for short). It’s quite an impressive site as you walk in and you see such high ceilings lit up and games as far as you can see. There are 2 rides inside the GCM that cost more to go on. Cosmic Coaster (previously called Fun House Express and FX Thrill Ride) is a roller coaster motion simulator and Ghost Blasters is a black-lit ride where you shoot at targets that are ghosts. I’ll cover both of these in future postings.

    There are games for people of all ages. There are games that are very easy that are aimed for the small children. They have miniature versions of some of the more popular games such as Skee-ball that is about 1/3 the size and little basketball hoops. There are the traditional carnival types games such as spraying water at a target to make a boat move along a track, a hammer drop game to see how “strong” you are, and more. There are also many of the “pusher” games that are almost like casino games. These games consist of a platform full of tokens with a small bar constantly pushing at the edge of it. As you drop tokens onto the platform, the pusher may push that token into another token, causing some tokens to fall off the platform. In this case, and in almost all of the other games, you get tickets for how well you do in the game.

    As can be expected, the prizes you get when you redeem the tickets are pretty useless, but everyone still gets excited about it anyway. If you spend enough money and earn enough tickets, there are some big prizes such as DVD players and more.

    Inside GCM is also a snack bar and public washrooms. There is also an entrance to the Wendy’s on Clifton Hill.

    Overall I think that the Great Canadian Midway is a fantastic place to visit. The games are fun and my 2 kids love it. I’d highly recommend it to anyone.

    Niagara Tourism Expo

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    The biggest mall in the Niagara Region is The Pen Centre, located in St. Catharines. This weekend (Saturday and Sunday) they are having a Niagara Tourism Expo. There are many of the regional entertainment destinations that have tables and/or displays setup. HOCO was there promoting their Clifton Hill attractions (they were even giving away free passes to Ghost Blasters or the FX Thrill Ride) as was Ripley’s Entertainment. There was also a table setup promoting Aladdin Jr and Avaia. I also saw displays for Oh Canada Eh? and John Daly‘s Thundering Waters Golf Club.

    The displays are up tomorrow (Sunday) as well, so if you have a chance, stop by and see what’s there. I’ve picked up some material that I will be posting later.

    Ripley’s Moving Theatre new movies

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    As I mentioned earlier in the week, Ripley’s Moving Theatre has been closed this week. Regular visitor Lisa from Rochester got the scoop for me. She emailed Ripley’s and got the following response:

    We are doing some construction on the front facade and are changing our films. We will be open Friday, April 28, 2006 by 5:00p.m. Our new films at Ripley’s Moving Theater are “Motion Madness” our most popular roller coaster/dune buggy/snow mobile ride and “Fun House”

    That’s interesting that they will be showing Fun House. HOCO was showing that at their FX Thrill Ride theatre previously, but has since dropped it. However, their sign on the outside of the Great Canadian Midway still shows the clown from the Fun House movie.

    You can learn more about the movies at the Simex Iwerks web site:

    • Fun House Express
    • Motion Madness

    Complimentary Passes

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    Over the last couple of weeks we’ve received complimentary passes for the following attractions:

    We’ll post our thoughts on each as we go.

    What is 4D anyway?

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    Motion simulator rides seem to be a popular thing in Niagara Falls. It is essentially a roller coaster experience in a confined space. In Niagara Falls there are at least the following simulator rides:

    • Ripley’s Moving Theater
    • FX Thrill Ride featuring “Robots of Mars” and “Cosmic Coaster”
    • Dino Rampage
    • Dino Island 3D
    • Skylon 4D Theatre featuring “Pirates”

    I used to think that 4D (the forth dimension) was time. Apparently in the simulator ride industry, it means something entirely different. The seats move in 3 dimensions (up/down, side to side, forward and back). The movie is in 3 dimensions (you wear glasses of some kind). And the 4 dimension is actually some other scensory experience. It may be wind or it may be very light precipitation (mist or snow). I’ve only been on a 2D simulator. I will be going to the Ripley’s Moving Theater soon and I’ll report back on how it was.

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