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  • Spee-lunker Cave at Six Flags Over Texas

    Was anyone else fortunate enough to visit this water boat dark ride from the early '60s? As a child it was my favorite ride in the park. Whenever we'd go to the park, it was the one thing I'd always look forward to the most. It was dark and somewhat eerie, but also immersive and captivating for some reason. There were times that I'd get off and then get back on again for another ride. It was one of the unique things about the park. Then, when I went to visit the park a few years later after Warner Brothers had taken over, I was sad to discover that The Cave was now a Looney Tunes ride. The one thing I'd loved most about the park was gone. Apparently there are quite a few people on the internet who are upset by the change. If rumors are true, it is said Walt Disney himself had a hand in the attraction's development.

    In any case, I'm just curious if anyone else had the good fortune of experiencing this wonderful ride when it was still The Cave. Unfortunately there aren't many videos on YouTube, but this was the best overall clip I could find for those who never rode it.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOVG7OQVsU0"]YouTube- Six Flags Over Texas - 1964 - The Cave[/ame]

  • #2
    Re: Spee-lunker Cave at Six Flags Over Texas

    I've noticed, over the years, that due to the high quality of Disney's dark rides, you just sorta don't really see those kids of rides outside of the various D-Lands and D-Worlds and D-Seas. Too many people compare them and the competitor pales by comparsion.

    However, I've experienced the Monster Plantation in it's older incarnation and I thought it was great, like yourself and this wonderfully mellow tale.

    Nothing like a walk down memorylane with you. Thanks for sharing.

    Peace,
    Roo
    husband, petowner, wordsmith, imagineer, martialist, playwright, traveller, ardent, wit, critic, barista, Taoist, superhero, fortuneteller, reader, fidget, teacher, dreamer, author, blogger, ghosthunter, voter, patient, bear, gourmand, Floridian, friend

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    • #3
      Re: Spee-lunker Cave at Six Flags Over Texas

      I was never able to go on the original version, but I have been on its current iteration: Yosimete Sam's Gold River Adventure. It sounds like a really lame idea, and its certainly not up to Disney standards for a boat-based dark ride (the character's mouths just barely move when they talk), but it really isn't bad. It captures the feeling of the classic cartoons very well, and serves the park well as its only dark ride.

      As for Walt Disney's involvement, which is possible, it most likely comes from the fact that the ride's technical systems (meaning the vehicles and flume) were designed by Arrow Dynamics, then owned by Disney. They used a variation on the same technology found in PotC and Its a Small World, as all of these rides are relatively slow boat rides.

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      • #4
        Re: Spee-lunker Cave at Six Flags Over Texas

        Ok those things in the cave were uber creepy. They would have given me nightmares as a child. :lol:

        Ok I just heard there apparently used to be water moccasins in the water in the cave ride back in the day.
        Last edited by aimster; 05-03-2010, 02:40 PM.

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        • #5
          Re: Spee-lunker Cave at Six Flags Over Texas

          Is this where the Looney Tunes Ride is now? This looks totally cool, wish I could have seen it back in the day.

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          • #6
            Re: Spee-lunker Cave at Six Flags Over Texas

            ^ My post above will answer your question.

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            • #7
              Re: Spee-lunker Cave at Six Flags Over Texas

              Originally posted by Noski View Post
              ^ My post above will answer your question.
              It helps to read.

              I agree with you about the Looney Tunes one. It's a fun little ride. I liked Monster Plantation better though.

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              • #8
                Re: Spee-lunker Cave at Six Flags Over Texas

                Originally posted by sir clinksalot View Post
                Is this where the Looney Tunes Ride is now? This looks totally cool, wish I could have seen it back in the day.
                It was an AWESOME ride. After going back trip after trip with The Cave being the one thing I looked forward to most, I can't express how sad and disappointed I was when I went back and found that it was a Looney Tunes ride. Yeah, it's a fun ride, but it doesn't come close to the feeling of immersion that The Cave provided. I hope they bring it back someday, but I'm not too optimistic.

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                • #9
                  Re: Spee-lunker Cave at Six Flags Over Texas

                  I wish we had something like Monster Mansion (and this) up here in Six Flags New England, or Great Adventure. It would seriously improve my opinion of those parks.
                  -Hale (wumbology)

                  a.k.a. h2mc, omnimover.mousetalgia, omnimover, wumbology, hogbackmtn, hhmcsharry, Hale M., h2m, h2mc

                  (I've never visited Disneyland Resort, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Resort Paris, nor Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, so don't be fooled when I pretend to know what I'm talking about. [But I'm pretty good with the information, if I do say so myself. And you can hit me all you want with Walt Disney World.])


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                  • #10
                    Re: Spee-lunker Cave at Six Flags Over Texas

                    I remember the looney tunes ride when i visited six flags over texas

                    It could be worse, they could have taken it out to save money
                    sigpicDUCKS 2007 STANLEY CUP CHAMPS

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                    • #11
                      Re: Spee-lunker Cave at Six Flags Over Texas

                      If they wanted to save money, they would have left it. It cost much more to replace it than it would to just keep it running, unless it needed a major refurb at the time.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Spee-lunker Cave at Six Flags Over Texas

                        Originally posted by Noski View Post
                        As for Walt Disney's involvement, which is possible, it most likely comes from the fact that the ride's technical systems (meaning the vehicles and flume) were designed by Arrow Dynamics, then owned by Disney. They used a variation on the same technology found in PotC and Its a Small World, as all of these rides are relatively slow boat rides.
                        Disney never owned Arrow. Arrow was founded in 1946, and Disney first contracted with them in 1953. They did purchase about a 1/3 ownership, but never outright owned the company.

                        FWIW I LOVE old-style dark rides. I have fond memories of going on the Cave-train ride and the Haunted Castle in the early 80's. They were nowhere near Disney standards, but they had that charm and plain old cheesiness that made them very special.
                        Last edited by PinBrian; 06-20-2010, 04:47 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Spee-lunker Cave at Six Flags Over Texas

                          Thanks for the correction. I guess if they were completely owned by Disney, they probably wouldn't have been allowed to build things for other companies.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Spee-lunker Cave at Six Flags Over Texas

                            I enjoyed the ride as a child. And as a small child, I was a little intimated by dark ride experiences. But the Speelunker cave didn't frighten me at all. It was just a series of scenes of cute little cave creatures having fun.

                            One memory that stuck with me (and I only went on it once, so I don't know if this was always the case) is that the water looked like blue milk. Maybe they were having filtration problems that day. But it was definitely not the color nor the opacity of any other boat ride attraction I've ever been on.

                            The "Yosemite Sam's Gold River Adventure," however is just plain awful. It may have been ok when it opened. But SFOT's maintenance on this ride is below even Six Flag's standards. The characters are dingy looking and their mouths barely move, if at all. The metal frame of the pop-up Roadrunner head is always visible. And it's hit or miss if the "blown up Yosemite Sam" scene triggers at all! Half the time you just float thru a completely dark scene. I had the opportunity to walk thru it when the park was closed and the building is literally rotting to the ground.

                            They should completely demolish the building and the barely used shop next door, keep and extend the trough and put in a abridged version of Monster Mansion. With a western twist perhaps based on that themed area. It even has a mini lift/drop like Monster Mansion has when you enter the swamp. And Six Flags owns the characters so they would have to pay zilch for licensing fees.
                            "The greatest expression of rebellion is joy." - Joss Whedon

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                            • #15
                              Re: Spee-lunker Cave at Six Flags Over Texas

                              I don't really think that's a good idea. It has nothing to do with Texas history (not that Looney Tunes or anything else in the park does either), plus Six Flags over Texas is not actually owned by the Six Flags company. They just manage it and license the name. Chances are, they would make the Wynne family (who has owned the park ever since it openned in 1961) pay for those characters. It would probably be less than what they are paying for Looney Tunes characters though.

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                              • #16
                                Re: Spee-lunker Cave at Six Flags Over Texas

                                Originally posted by Noski View Post
                                I don't really think that's a good idea. It has nothing to do with Texas history (not that Looney Tunes or anything else in the park does either), plus Six Flags over Texas is not actually owned by the Six Flags company. They just manage it and license the name. Chances are, they would make the Wynne family (who has owned the park ever since it openned in 1961) pay for those characters. It would probably be less than what they are paying for Looney Tunes characters though.
                                While I seriously doubt that SF Corporate would charge OT licensing fees for the MM characters, you make an excellent point with regard to the theming mismatch.

                                I just want something different there. And trust me, the building itself MUST be replaced. And unless I'm very much mistaken, the trough can be salvaged.
                                "The greatest expression of rebellion is joy." - Joss Whedon

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                                • #17
                                  Re: Spee-lunker Cave at Six Flags Over Texas

                                  If the Wynnes want to pay for a better attraction there, I'm all for it, so long as it fits the theme. At the very least, Looney Tunes needs a MAJOR refurb. Not as bad as Texas Giant did though. However, that proves that at SFoT, when things need fixing, they will be fixed...eventually.

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                                  • #18
                                    Re: Spee-lunker Cave at Six Flags Over Texas

                                    I was lucky enough to have ridden The Cave attraction at Six Flags Over Texas from its opening year, 1964, until is was re-themed in the 1990s.

                                    It's full name was The Speelunker's Cave. A speelunker is a person who enjoys exploring and climbing through caves so the idea behind the ride was to learn that this cave was inhabited by odd-looking creatures, named Speelunkers.

                                    The music was a vaguely, spooky, xylaphone plink, plunky tune that was totally unique. The original ride boats had a six foot bench seat most guests straddled. One of the most wonderful things about The Cave was how air-conditioned it was. It seemed to be about 60 degrees throughout and even the queue line was frigid.

                                    Once seated, the boat floated under the rock opening of The Cave. There were small openings in the wall, allowing a tiny bit of daylight to enter. The river made a left turn and into darkness to see the first gathering of Speelunkers. I think they waved at the guests. Ensuing scenes showed them dancing, singing, plaing musical instruments, throwing a giant boulder back and forth above the guest's heads as they floated by. The Speelunkers were brightly painted and illuminted by black light; remember, this was the 1960s and black light was sooo in!

                                    As the ride continued, the cave grew darker and darker. The mid-river lift raised the boats about 10 feet and during the splashdown, guest faced the frightening scene of a Speelunker rolling a huge boulder right at them. Shades of the opening scene of the first Raiders of the Lost Ark movie! It was so cool.

                                    After the boulder scene, the boats floated through a storm scene, complete with flashing lightening, loud thunder claps and the sound of a raging storm at sea. Then the boats went through the hold of a ship with the creaking, shaking, about-to-break ship's supports on both sides. Speelunkers were in their swinging hammocks watching you. After the ship's hold scene, the boats next floated through a 40 foot long, rotating wooden drum that was illuminated enough to cause the most disturbing effect. The rotation caused guests to feel like THEY were slowly turning upsidedown! At the last moment, the tunnel ended and the boats entered the last scene. Speelunkers were in Eskimo outfits in a freezing, snowy cave! I can still feel the extreme cold air shooting out of the side vents directly into my face. The final arch of the cave was lined with scores of the vents and they gave guests one last cooling blast before they floated out into the brutally hot Texas sun.

                                    Looking back, it was years before I realzed many guests used The Speelunker's Cave as their personal Tunnel of Love! How dense was I?

                                    The Six Flags Forum site lists many tales of park hosts witnessing/interrupting some of the more passionate guests as hosts manned the inside viewing stations as part of their shifts.

                                    The Speelunker's Care was created entirely inhouse by the Six Flags staff and I know of no involvement by Walt Disney. He would have loved it because like himself, The Speelunker's Cave was a one-of-a-kind attraction. Maybe it will return someday!

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                                    • #19
                                      Re: Spee-lunker Cave at Six Flags Over Texas

                                      Thanks for the ride-through! The small lift and drop are still in the Looney Tunes ride, now caused by Sylvester and Tweety fighting in a factory. The 60 degrees thing must have been especially great in the summer, where it will easily be 95+ degrees most days. The only problem with it is that it doesn't really fit the theme of the area its in.

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