The Walt Disney Company is always pushing the envelope of new ride and attraction technology!
We’ve seen the rise of trackless vehicles on rides like Rise of the Resistance and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, and even an interactive virtual element in WEB SLINGERS. Now the future of water rides looks like it could be bright — and it may include one character with a big connection to the ocean!
If you’re a big fan of Moana, you might already know about the upcoming EPCOT attraction, Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, which is scheduled to open soon in late 2023. But instead of being a ride, it’s actually a walk-through interactive water experience, so there are no ride vehicles involved. But what if Disney created another Moana attraction?
Back at the D23 Expo, Disney suggested that a Moana-themed area could theoretically replace DinoLand U.S.A. in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, although the emphasis was on “could,” with no concrete plans in place at that time. They did release some concept art that depicted what looks like two rides, including a boat ride (check towards the bottom left), and Disney filed a patent recently that could mean a Moana-themed boat ride might be coming to a theme park sometime in the future!
Disney filed a patent for a “Boat Motion Simulator” in July 2021 (patent #US 11,478,718), with the official date of the patent being October 25th, 2022. The patent describes a “system configured specially to impart boat-type motions (e.g., roll, sway, heave, pitch, surge, and yaw) to a passenger boat.” It goes on to explain that the boat “floats naturally in a volume of water,” and it will also be able to “display imagery and a soundtrack that are synchronized with the motions imparted upon the boat.” Overall, this attraction would be meant to “provide a unique and realistic boat simulator or boat ride experience for passengers in the boat.”
The patent includes several images of what this attraction could look like, with a boat floating in a body of water with a variety of machinery underneath to presumably contribute to the movement. Theoretically, this simulator would be able to create the actual feeling of boat-type motions, all while floating naturally and vertically supported by buoyancy in the water.
Another figure actually shows a larger image of the attraction, including a dome screen for projected images, and even Moana and Maui on a separate boat! Disney notes in the application that current water rides “do not meet the demand for new and surprising ways to entertain visitors,” and that most water ride technology has not significantly changed over the years. If you’ve ever ridden a water boat ride in Disney World, you probably noticed that the ride is very smooth, rather than an imitation of an actual boat on a body of water.
Disney also noted that this proposed technology could be used in a water ride with simulated battles, and the boat could be “pitching and rolling the waves, shuttering with the cannon fire, and listing to one side when it starts sinking.” (Is anyone else reminded of the Kakamora attack on Moana and Maui?) Instead of rolling by in a boat while observing all the action around you, like on Pirates of the Caribbean, this ride could actually include guests in the action.
Now theoretically, this boat technology could be used in any number of attractions, but the image of Moana and Maui suggests that this could be intended specifically for a Moana-themed ride. Still, Disney does not specify exactly what theme this technology could be used for.
Disney also suggests within the patent that there could be two different experiences, including a “passive experience” and an “active experience.” You can probably guess what that might mean, but basically, the passive experience would have restrained guests concentrated more on watching the action, while the active experience would have unrestrained guests performing tasks, potentially even including pirate scenes!
According to the patent, there could be more than one ride vehicle or multiple vehicles sharing the space, and guests will be able to decide which side to join — as in whether they want to be a pirate or a traveler, for example. Maybe it’ll be like choosing between the more intense Orange Mission or the more family-friendly Green Mission on Mission: SPACE in EPCOT.
Of course, it’s very important to note that although the patent includes an image of Moana and Maui, this is not a guarantee that this will absolutely be the theme of this theoretical ride. When Disney files a patent, it does not necessarily mean that this is a project in progress right now — it just means that this COULD be a project put in action in the future.
If you’re curious about more Disney patents that have been filed recently, we recommend clicking on the following links:
- A ROBOT that could carry your things in theme parks
- Bringing virtual reality into the real world
- Seeing virtual images WITHOUT 3D glasses
Keep following DFB for more Disney news and updates!
Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!
What do you think about this possible attraction? Tell us in the comments!