As Disney continues to look for new ways to tell stories in its theme parks, a patent might reveal a new way to tell immersive stories on the water without a traditional boat ride approach. In the patent, Disney notes that water rides are some of the most memorable and beloved attractions in the world. Disney says that water rides rarely meet the demand for new and surprising ways to entertain because they have remained largely unchanged over the years. The traditional flume ride is often designed to be as smooth as possible with little pitch and yaw. Disney is looking to change that.
The patent calls for a cable system that is strategically tethered to the sides of the boat and works to simulate a more dramatic boat ride experience. By tugging on a certain part of the boat, the cables will be able to simulate a more intense (and predictable) ride experience than a traditional flume ride.
Additionally, Disney envisions an implementation where the boat and pool of water are surrounded by a projection dome to fully immerse guests in an environment. In the illustrated example, a scene from Moana is depicted. Disney says that the dome would be combined with an audio soundtrack and even some 4D effects such as rain or splashing to immerse riders in the experience.
While the above implementation would be a passive experience, Disney also envisions an active experience such as a pirate battle where guests could perform tasks and the boat would respond to their actions with movements provided by the cable system. Furthermore, Disney says that a multi-vehicle “fleet” implementation could be possible whereby guests pick a “side” to be on and battle each other in an immersive space.
While the use of Moana in the example is just that, an example, we couldn’t help but think of the DinoLand USA overhaul concept art that shows a Moana boat ride. In the artwork, the ride is depicted as a traditional flume ride, but could Disney be looking to move past a traditional flume ride as it looks for ways to create unique experiences in its theme parks?
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