Dark rides have been a highlight of amusement and theme parks since the 1930's. Featured in the most renowned parks around the world, dark rides are an integral part of the guest experience. Their appeal stems from a fundamental need to have an emotional connection with a ride and a one-of-a-kind ride experience. Dark rides use storytelling, lush world-building and interactive effects to do just that.

Recently, Sally Dark Rides took part in a live panel discussion for the Blooloop V-Expo to discuss the Power of Dark Rides. Join Lauren Wood Weaver, Sally Dark Rides VP of Marketing and Business Development, as she explores the power of the dark ride with industry experts. Panelists include Amanda Thompson OBE, Managing Director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Andreas Andersen, CEO of Liseberg Group and Chris Lange, Park Consultant and experienced ride designer.

Learn More About The Panelists

Amanda Thompson OBE • Managing Director • Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Amanda Thompson OBE has been the managing director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach in Blackpool, England, since 2004. The historic amusement property is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the U.K. and has won numerous awards from industry associations. 

Thompson has been a prominent individual within the attractions industries global community and has been involved with the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) chairing the Europe, Middle East and Africa committee (EMEA) for numerous years. She was nominated to the board of directors in 2018 and will begin ascension to lead the Global Attractions industry as Chairman of the board in 2020 and has been nominated within the top 10 most influential individuals in the attractions industry.

Andreas Andersen • CEO • Liseberg Group

Andreas Veilstrup Andersen is the CEO and President of the Liseberg Group in Sweden, operating the biggest tourist destination in Sweden, and one of the most visited amusement parks in Europe. Andreas has a legal and financial background, and has worked in the attractions industry for more than fifteen years, first as Vice President at the world renowned Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, and later heading up the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attraction’s (IAAPA) European Office in Brussels. Andreas is the second vice chair of IAAPA’s Global Board of Directors, and is on the Board of the Swedish Association of Amusement Parks.

Chris Lange • Park Consultant and Experienced Ride Designer 

Chris Lange has been a part of the themed entertainment industry for over 20 years. He has held a wide range of positions that have enabled him to fully comprehend all facets of location-based themed entertainment. Chris has extensive experience in all phases of attraction & theme park development; from blue-sky concepts through to opening. His skills have enabled him to work within a variety of financial and schedule constraints while opening attractions on time and on budget. Chris has led international design and installation teams around the world. He proudly serves the Themed Entertainment Association as member of the board of directors in the EME division.

Lauren Wood Weaver • VP of Marketing and Business Development • Sally Dark Rides

Lauren Wood Weaver has held key roles in the global amusement and entertainment industry for over 15 years. Lauren joined Sally Dark Rides in 2007 as a member of their sales team. She quickly progressed to the role of Director of Marketing and Business Development in 2014. In 2020, Lauren was promoted to Vice President of Marketing and Business Development and currently manages Sally Dark Rides’ brand presence, communications and public relations. Lauren also spearheads strategic partnership efforts and has contributed her skills to secure a variety of major clients and marketing agreements. 

In addition, she manages all trade show coordination, organizing the company’s expo presence internationally, and is an active leader of Sally’s expo sales team. Lauren also holds additional responsibilities, such as social media management, IP relationship management, and product development. Lauren has served on IAAPA’s North American Media and PR Committee and is currently Chair of the Service Awards Committee supporting the association’s mission, vision and strategic plan.