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Story within attractions

Every great attraction begins with a great story. Copyright The Walt Disney Company.

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Video transcript

Hi I'm Andrea Lawler and I'm a ride control software engineer at Walt Disney Imagineering. I'll be your host for this lesson on attraction design. The goal of this lesson is to introduce you to the art and engineering of attraction design. We'll also help you through the process of designing a concept for your own attraction. In our parks, within a land, there are many kinds of experiences for guests of different ages. These experiences include: rides, restaurants, and live entertainment, and they are designed to engage our guests in the story and theme of the land. That means that these experiences need to fit that land and feel natural there. So, let's first discuss how the story and theme of a land informs the design of an attraction. Everything starts with theme and story and those inform the experiences that we deliver on our rides. The rides are purely a physical way of moving people through that story and through that experience. When we think about our story or the theme there's always this unifying idea behind everything, and whatever you decide it has to reinforce that. Oftentimes I refer to the story as kind of our true north because it's going to be the thing that is going to inform our design, our approach to the design, and everything that we do to bring those immersive lands and attractions to our guests. So knowing it's going in Adventureland, you're already thinking now of a time period in a place. If it's going in Tomorrowland a very different time very different place. So, when you design the attraction, it's really important to have a solid grounding for exactly the story that you're telling and how that fits in the bigger story of your land. The story in Cars in Radiator Springs is the guests enter the town of Radiator Springs. They're joined with their car that's going to take them through and show them their town, and so as you're going through the town you keep getting these hints that there's something more going on in this town than just everyday life. There there's hints that there might be a race going on and and you know there's a big race and you're there to watch it and as the ride progresses you learn there is a big race but you're not there to watch it, you're there to be in it. And so you enter the race and you participate in the race and get to race you know the guests that are across from you on the on the track and experience the thrill of that. In Shanghai Pirates of the Caribbean, our guests are the crew of Jack Sparrow and Jack Sparrow uses us as a tool to accomplish his goal of stealing Davy Jones treasure. Many of our attractions tell stories that rely on a blend of physical thrills, with more calm or thoughtful moments, so we use different ride systems for different kinds of stories. Some of the ride systems that we can choose are: roller coasters, suspended systems like a ferris wheel, simulator rides like with Star Tours, boats that moved through flume of water, ride vehicles that move on tracks or ride vehicles that can move anywhere without a track. So how do we choose a ride system that will best support a story? When you're designing the show, you want the best supporting ride system that goes with the story that you're telling. So for instance if you're talking about Avatar or Pandora in Animal Kingdom, which really conveys this sense of being one with nature and how awe-inspiring it is, you don't necessarily want to maybe scare the pants off of them. And so that's going to inform what kind of ride system do you want? What kind of motions are you looking for? And I think a really good example is if you think of cradling like cradling a baby, there's just this natural sense if you're cradled of, "Oh I'm safe, it's this very nurturing and comfortable feeling." versus the sensation of falling, right? Falling to me is terrifying and it conveys a completely different sense of thrill. And so if you kind of juxtapose those two things between thrilling and then comfortable, and very safe, you can see why a boat ride was chosen for for Navi River journey. Because you want to be be comfortable, you want to feel at home, you want that sense of of oneness. And then that obviously is in taut and in tune with the whole story of being one with nature. Radiator Springs Racers was a really fun idea and attraction, which was obviously all about from the movies: the racing sequence. And so we knew that we had to have a ride system that allowed guests to race each other in a vehicle. Oftentimes we'd like to do attractions where we have a lot of variety, where a guests are perhaps moving quickly through a space, at other times we're going to want them to slow down. And just like good theater we have you know we of our cadence's that we need to adhere to of surprising moments, relaxing moments, fast moments, and of course that big payoff moment. So the ride system gets paired with a story based on the type of emotion that you're trying to get across in that story. To create unforgettable experiences for our guests, we combine art and engineering varying the thrill level to best complement the story that's being told.