According to a patent filed on August 29th, Disney is looking to create a system that will allow for better efficiency on water rides. The “capturepult” system would function both as a boat stop and as a boat accelerator or launcher when the boat is allowed to advance (e.g., from an unload/load station, metering point on ride, or the like).
The problem that Disney is looking to fix is that on a traditional flume boat ride, a stopped boat would only begin forward motion again due to the flow of water. With a “capturepult”, the boat would be launched back into the ride via an accelerator system, not relying on just the flow of water. This would increase the efficiency of the ride by getting boats back into position after a stop quicker than just the flow of water would.
As seen below, the “capturepult” system would rely on an arm of sorts to not only stop the boat, but also accelerate it back into the ride flume. Being able to stop a boat for a show scene or the like and returning it to speed after the stop would increase the overall capacity of a boat ride attraction.
Disney did not say where they might use this technology, but the theme parks do have a long history of using boat rides as an attraction – from it’s a small world to Na’vi River Journey to Splash Mountain, Disney is invested in the flume attraction and it’s wonderful to see that they are looking to improve the experience.