If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content

Ride systems

How we think about ride vehicles in attractions. Copyright The Walt Disney Company.

Want to join the conversation?

Video transcript

Once we're happy with our beat sheet, we can go back to our first discussion in this lesson, where we talked about how the motion of the ride itself supports the story. To do this, for each scene in the beat sheet we ask ourselves: how emotions support this moment? For example, does the motion need to be fast or dynamic to support a thrilling moment? Or does the motion need to be slow and gentle to support a calmer, emotional moment? Based on the types of motions that we want for our scenes, we can start to think about a ride system that will best suit those motions. We call this the creative intent of our attraction. The motion is critical - that's kind of what differentiates a ride from a theater experience, watching a movie. If you're actually going through a place then it feels like something's more real. Here at Disney and Imagineering we love thrilll, but we never go for something that is just thrill by itself. Because thrill like everything else has to serve our story. It could be a boat, it could be a truck, it could be an airplane, there's lots of different ways we can move you through scene, but they're all about supporting the story. The story may require a boat, in which case we have lots It could be a raft, it could be a log, it can be a traditional boat. The story could be you're flying through space and it can be a spacecraft, it could be a fighter, it could be a space truck. Are they going to be walking through it? Are they going to be flying through it? Are they going to be floating through it? There may be a motion platform on the vehicle that moves the guest compartment around so you may feel like you're you're being bumped from side to side. On a coaster you might feel launched and so high dynamics pushing you back into your seat and then braking you, pushing you forward, but it's all about what your body is doing as you move through the attraction. But the motion is all designed to support the story that you're telling. But once again ask yourself the question: How are the guests going to be experiencing the attraction? What we really like to think about is the types of motions and what kind of feelings those convey. So, I have one example I was working on Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters and I had my creative director come in and say okay we want to ride that fils zippy. We think "Hmm what does zippy mean?" As a mechanical engineer, your job is to quantify things and make them come into a reality. So zippy is kind of like, "Oh, all right." This is a very feely term, but what is it physically mean. And so what we did is we sat him down in a roller office chair and started pushing him around and saying, "Does this feel zippy? Is this what zippy feels like?" And so very quickly, yes, if he's very dynamic there's a lot of turns and motions. And that's the feeling that supported the story of I'm dancing with my family at a beautiful wedding. Once we understand how we want the ride to feel at various moments in the experience, we start looking for the best dark ride system to achieve that desired creative intent. What's great is that we have many different ride systems to choose from. And at Imagineering, we sometimes even come up with a new one to best service our story. Whether its a powered or unpowered boat, a track or trackless vehicle, or a vehicle suspended by cables or an overhead track - Each ride system has its own unique advantages and characteristics. Soaring is an incredibly unique ride platform developed by one of our most senior ride mechanical engineers. It's a very gentle and beautiful and wonderful flight simulator. Where basically guests lifted off of the floor in front of a large IMAX screen and able to experience some of the the dynamics of hang gliding and flight over a variety of areas of the world. It's just a totally visceral, very unique, you know wonderful and beautiful experience from beginning to end. So within the discussion for Avatars: Flight of Passage, this idea that you get to ride a banjee was very very intriguing from a ride perspective. So we took a simulator system to come up with something that is brand-new so that we could tell that story and deliver on that promise that you actually get to ride a banshee. The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in Shanghai has a very different type of story than our other pirates experiences. It starts off feeling just like a normal boat but then strange things start to happen. But the stranger the story gets the stranger the boat motion gets. Sometimes you end up going backwards, sometimes you end up going sideways. And because of that the timing of the experience was very critical. We had to have you exactly where we wanted you, and looking exactly where you need to look, in multiple places in the attraction. The creative lead wanted the boat pointed at this really dramatic scenic element for the entire scene and our traditional pirates ride wouldn't do that. That meant we had to come up with a brand new ride system and the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in Shanghai uses magnets - yes it's a boat, yes it floats, what we're pulling it and directing it via magnets that are underwater. And the magnets go in different paths which can drag different ends of the boat in different directions so it can do a 360-degree spin it can go forward, backward, sideways. The vehicle and track system that we selected for Radiator Springs Racers supports the story in many ways. It allows you to go very slow at a creep speed when you're inside the building, when you're meeting the characters, when you don't want the experience to be about the vehicle you want it to be about the characters in the town that you're in. But then once you leave the building and you enter the race that vehicle can also support extremely high speed maneuvers. We have two vehicles racing side by side at the end and one of the two vehicles wins. Well we had never done a ride like that before, so that required us to come up with some changes to a ride system to support it so we ended up with a ride that had a switch that brought you side by side and then you race through and we also made it random so you don't know which of the two sides is going to win. That was also something that was brand new. So it was a nice combination of something that can be thrilling when it needs to be and it can be slow and calming when it needs to be. In the next exercise, you're going to study different ride systems and choose the one that best supports the story of your ride.