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Ride capacity

How many people can enjoy a ride per hour? Copyright The Walt Disney Company.

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Video transcript

So we just learned how the layout of an attraction is both an artistic and engineering challenge. Another critical challenge is the timing of the entire ride itself which can involve thousands of events from loading and dispatching vehicles, to triggering the start of scenes, to the motion of individual props and to activating the sounds and lighting effects that are needed to really bring scenes to life for emotional impact. It's like a gigantic clock with thousands of moving parts all connected together to do one thing really well which is to tell an exciting story. But there's an important factor to consider. We want to get as many people as possible through the attraction so that everyone at the park has a chance to experience it. We call this measure the capacity of a ride. As we're about to hear, Imagineers understand capacity really well. Capacity is one of the most important metrics that we look at from the ride engineering perspective. This is how many people per hour can we put through that ride system and the more people per hour that we can put through the ride, the shorter the line is. So we want to get you onto an experience as fast as possible, which means the more people we can get through an attraction, the better. So it's our goal to deliver you know the highest capacity attraction possible, while still meeting the creative requirements of the ride and delivering you know a compelling, interesting and wonderful experience Capacity is a really important concept to understand, so let's talk about how we calculate it. Capacity is the number of people per hour that can experience the attraction. And that means that the capacity is equal to the vehicle capacity times the dispatch interval. Where the vehicle capacity is how many people fit into each vehicle and the dispatch interval is how often a vehicle leaves the station. For example, if the dispatch interval is 10 seconds that's six cars per minute that are dispatched into the attraction or 360 cars per hour and if each car holds two people that's two times 360 which is equal to 720 people per hour. So, the two key factors to controlling capacity are the capacity of each vehicle and the dispatch interval. Just like everything we do, trading off those two factors requires us to take both artistic and engineering considerations into account. Let's start by looking more closely at vehicle capacity. For something like Radiator Springs, it would have been great if it could just be you and your date together on that ride, but when we only put a few people in a vehicle that capacity number goes down so it's a goal to get as many people as possible within that vehicle without dramatically changing the experience of the story that we're trying to tell. On Shanghai Pirates, we really wanted to get a lot of people through this attraction so we made our boats a little bit bigger so there's 30 people in a boat. You can't just go for big because sometimes big doesn't work. So going back to the example of riding the Banshee, the Banshee is a very intimate experience, so if you had a situation where - I don't know - 20 people are getting on the banshee with you that might kind of diminish that overall feeling that you are riding it. There's other things to consider for instance if a vehicle is larger, even though you get more people on it it takes longer to load now because you're loading more people. At the end of the day our only options are vehicles filled with a large number of people that are spaced quite far apart or vehicles with just a couple people in it that are very close together. For our dispatch interval, we have to consider how long it takes guests to load into and out of our vehicles. The more people that load into a vehicle, the more time that it could take to dispatch them. Given the vehicle capacity, the dispatch interval determines both the total capacity and the maximum length of time that each scene can play out let's hear more about the trade-off between these two factors. That dispatch interval which is established at the beginning of an attraction sets sets the timing for the rest of the experience for our guests and if it's 15 seconds we have about a 15 second timing to get a vehicle into a scene, have the guests experience that scene, and then get them out of the scene so that it can reset for the next vehicle that's right behind it. That really establishes our scene timing because a vehicle only has 15 seconds before another vehicle is on its bumper. Well if you want to be able to tell a story that has a definite beginning and a different end or a scene that has a beginning and an end, then you need to be the only people in that scene during the duration of that scene. In Shanghai Pirates we have several scenes where it's a big projection screen and we need to make sure that only one boat is seeing that at a time, so the layout of the track and the timing and the spacing of the boats is critical so that you swing into one screen and you get to that moment where you're the only one in that screen seeing the whole thing and you have to get out of there before the next boat comes in. In the Indiana Jones Adventure, vehicles are 18 seconds apart. Exactly 18 seconds apart. Which means your scenes can never be longer than 18 seconds Ideally they don't want to be more than 15 or 16 seconds, well the finale of the attraction has you coming up to the big rolling ball, and Indie's hanging on a rope, you're there to save him, and then you crash to the floor, and well that entire scene is seventeen and a half seconds long. That's as close as we could make it. We would love to make the scene longer, but now you're too long considering how you're dispatching when your vehicles behind you are. And it's a really delicate dance to make sure we're getting the most for the guests and giving them the most show possible, but able to do that you know every 15 seconds for 18 hours a day, 365 days a year. To recap the timing of a ride is integral to the storytelling experience and to our ability to allow as many guests as possible to experience an attraction. Ultimately, it all comes down to vehicle capacity, dispatch interval, and scene length. Timing is an important concept to understand, so we've created a ride simulator for you to use to test the timing of your own dark ride. The next video will introduce you to the simulator, which is really cool. Have fun!