Apr 19, 2024 - Things to Do

Adventureland's "The Underground" gets a facelift

A giant skull lit up and with red eyes

The skull of "Bad Bob" — one of the new animatronics that's part of The Underground. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

The Underground — Adventureland's beloved, musty, indoor rollercoaster— is getting a major facelift.

Why it matters: The ride, which first opened in 1996, will reopen this summer with nostalgic remnants of the past — and a few more lights and scares, thanks to the team behind Slaughterhouse Haunted House.

What's new: The coaster cars, animatronics, audio and lighting are getting revamped. The actual ride itself will have the same twists and turns as always.

State of play: The Underground's original storyline won't change, but expect some additional scenes.

  • And an updated, recorded narrator will share the tale of "Bad Bob" while you wait in line for the ride.

How it started: Ian Miller, the CEO of Gaff Box, the company behind Slaughterhouse, says he was "nagging" Adventureland to revamp The Underground even before Palace Entertainment took over in 2021.

  • Growing up in Des Moines, Miller says he loved going on the ride and experiencing the special effects in the pitch darkness. "We didn't get to go to Walt Disney World or Universal ... so this is as good as it got for us," he says.
  • After helping Adventureland with its Phantom Fall Fest, he got his chance to help shape The Underground after Palace announced it was temporarily closing the ride in 2023 for updates.

The intrigue: While learning about the ride's history, Miller discovered it actually goes over an old pool pit previously used for dolphin and sea lion shows.

What's next: Adventureland reopens May 18 and park officials say The Underground could be ready by then.


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