Hey Thrill Seekers,
Over the weekend we have discovered that Universal City Studios – which is the sister patent-filing division of Universal Orlando Resort have some possible new patents which points toward some really cool things that could mould the future of Universals attractions.
The new patents seem to indicate a strong connection with the Nintendo and Marvel brands. Some even point towards water rides which would make sense seeing as Volcano Bay is due to open in the summer!
It looks as though Universal have been busy bees when it comes to these new patents, they have filed 5 patents since October to November, all looking at different, unique ways to allow guests to have a better experience.. A lot of them are based around interactivity and how they could maybe base rides around the Mario Kart and Iron Man brands. Now I would LOVE to see a Mario Kart ride!! There is even some speculation that the music aspect of Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit coaster may be bought to a water ride at Volcano Bay!
I have taken a look into the 5 patents and what they could involve:
Drift Racers – This patent instantly points straight at Mario Kart. This looks like it would be a two-rider car based attraction with one passenger seated in-front of the other. Each passenger will have a different experience as the front driver would have a steering wheel and pedals which will control some aspects of the ride and the rear passenger will have an array of buttons to use throughout the ride that can affect the car they’re in and also impact other cars on the track. – Imagine attempting Rainbow Road in real life 😉
Simulator ride – This one looks as though it would be an interactive experience and sort of points towards an Iron Man theme. It looks like it would require guests to get in to a ‘flying simulator’ on a moving track which will look like a suit (probably helmets, chest and arm pieces etc). The patent states examples such as flying through asteroid fields and fighting dragons that may cause sensations in the suit such as heat and vibrations from explosions and dragons. Now I know Iron Man doesn’t have a reputation for fighting off dragons but the images in the patent quite closely resemble Iron Man.
Functional mat racer – This is one for the water rides. It looks as though it could be equipped with lights, a screen and audio! How hi-tech is that!! The patent suggests that the lights could be used for various reasons such as ‘to illuminate the riders’ path or light up the water beneath them to help set the environment they are in.’ The patent states that the mats could come with display and audio elements that could “show images of other riders in the ride experiencing a thrilling section further along in the ride while a speaker may play captured audio from those riders to build anticipation,” It also suggests that you may be able to save your preferred lighting and music choices to a ‘park identification bracelet.’
Slide entry system – This patent looks as a new entry in to a drop slide – my guess is that this will be effective in Volcano Bay. It looks absolutely terrifying but also pretty thrilling! The glass enclosure will slowly fill with water before the trap door opens. The patent states “Not only is this thrilling for the rider, but the image of the rider being enclosed in a fluid-filled space may also provide excitement to the observers” Now that would be one for true thrill seekers.
Boom coaster – This points towards a ‘arm’ and it’s ability to attach to a vehicle that looks as though it is on a track system (but is actually controlled by a separate arm) If this is confusing just picture yourself on a coaster with a element of the story being that your path has been destroyed or there’s a break in the track that you need to ‘jump’. “Because the passenger may believe that the simulated ride surface controls a path of the passenger vehicle, the passenger may fear or anticipate that the passenger vehicle may crash or otherwise incur damage as a result of the elevated gap” Many people have taken it upon themselves to say this looks like it could be a Donkey Kong themed ride using the mine cart idea’s. What do you think?
Although these patents seem pretty well thought out, theme parks file patents on a regular basis and many are not acted upon straight away and some not acted upon at all. I thought it was worth having a nose into these ones though as they all seem pretty fitting due to the opening of Volcano Bay and the proposed Nintendo land.
We will definitely be keeping our eyes peeled.