Closed: 2010 (as a ride)
Location: Coney Mall, in-between Racer turnarounds
Former Names: Days of Thunder (1994-1997), James Bond 007: A License to Thrill (1998-2000), Paramount Action FX Theater (2001-2007)
Manufacturer: Iwerks Entertainment
Model: Motion simulator
Size: 26- by 59-foot screens
Vehicles: Two theaters, each with 36 two-person motion platforms positioned in a tiered fashion
Description: Action Theater was a 3D film attraction with seating movement that was synchronized to the on-screen action.
History: Action Theater first opened in 1994 as Days of Thunder, named after the 1990 Paramount film of the same name. The same attraction had opened at other Paramount parks the year prior and featured a combination of footage from the film and new footage shot specifically for the attraction. The ride’s queue line, preshow, and exit all included racecar theming, including five stock cars, banners, and a video track. The preshow was played on a 9-by-9-foot screen made of TVs, suspended above two stock cars.
A benefit of the attraction’s format was that the film could be easily swapped out, as was first done for the 1998 season with the introduction of James Bond 007: A License to Thrill, which was loosely based on the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.
The film was replaced yet again in 2001, now with a different film in each theater. This increased the attraction’s re-rideability and offered park guests more choices. The left theater (Side A) became home to 7th Portal, the venue’s first 3D film. 7th Portal was the result of a partnership between Paramount Parks and Stan Lee Media, Inc., in association with Blur Studios. The five-minute film took riders to an alternate universe known as Darkmoor and straight into the middle of a superhero war against the evil Mongorr and the Nullifiers.
Opposite of 7th Portal, in Side B, was Smash Factory. Smash Factory simulated a crash test dummy careening through a test course.
A third new film premiered in the theater in 2001 during FearFest, when Elvira’s Superstition, featuring Elvira: Mistress of the Dark and the “Tragic Kingdom” amusement park. The film would be included as a FearFest (and later Halloween Haunt) attraction most years.
7th Portal remained in Side A for the 2002 season, but Smash Factory was swapped for Meteor Attack. Blue Studios created this intergalactic adventure.
SpongeBob 3D replaced 7th Portal in 2003. The new film followed SpongeBob SquarePants on his quest to retrieve a lost pickle for a Krabby Patty sandwich. It starred characters from the show such as Patrick Star, Mr. Krabs, and Plankton. In Side B, Secrets of the Lost Temple replaced Meteor Attack. The adventure film was created by nWave Pictures.
The Days of Thunder film that originally ran from 1994 through 1997 made a brief return to Side B of Paramount Action FX Theater in 2004. The attraction was short-lived however and was removed before the end of the summer.
Elvira’s Superstition was swapped for Dracula’s Haunted Castle during 2004’s FearFest. The film was a roller coaster ride through Dracula’s castle and was created by nWave Pictures. It only lasted one FearFest and Elvira made her return the following year.
In addition to the return of Elvira’s Superstition during 2005’s FearFest, Fun House Express was introduced on Side B. It was an iWerks film that took guests on a virtual roller coater through a demented funhouse. Both attractions continued to play for several more FearFest, and later Halloween Haunt, events.
In 2006, The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera opened in Side B. The film had previously played at Universal Studios Florida from 1990 through 2002. The story included Hanna-Barbera characters like Dick Dastardly, Yogi Bear, and Elroy Jetson. The theater played the theme song from the defunct Enchanted Voyage ride before and after each film.
The venue was renamed Action Theater in 2008, during which time most other Paramount-branded attractions were de-themed.
In 2008, Action Theater closed before the end of the season and a sign out front advertised an upcoming Halloween attraction. Urgent Scare, a zombie-infested hospital, was added as part of 2008’s Halloween Haunt’s line-up. The maze primarily used the Side B theater, as well as the theater’s queue and exit. Side B was never used for a film again.
SpongeBob 3D continued to play on Side A for the venue’s final few years. When WindSeeker was added in 2011, the theater’s queue was re-routed to span from the attraction’s exit. A crew was hired to operate the ride for the 2011 season, but before the start of the season it was announced that Dinosaurs Alive! 3D would open in the venue instead. The motion platforms were removed from Side A in favor of longer bench seating, and a larger screen was added. The new film featured more crisp imagery than its predecessors, requiring different 3D glasses.
Dinosaurs Alive! 3D operated from 2011 through 2013. It was originally an upcharge experience, included free for season passholders in 2012, and then reverted back to an upcharge in 2013. The attraction did not return after the 2013 season.
Since Dinosaurs Alive! 3D’s closing after the 2013 season, the venue has been used primarily for storage (Side A) and for the Urgent Scare haunted house (Side B). It is inaccessible to park guests most of the year, although it is clearly visible from The Racer and other park attractions.