Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Will the future WDS Ratatouille attraction use a GPS ride system, or a " LPS " system, or something else...
Since i've mentioned it in a previous post, everybody is talking about the future Ratatouille attraction for the Walt Disney Studios . Some days later the excellent Lauphing place.com web site released more infos about it, and in the forums everybody look excited about this future WDS addition.
One of the reason is because of the trackless technique that will be use. The Ratatouille attraction is supposed to use the same system that WDI imagineers used for the Winnie the Pooh attraction in Tokyo. Which, for everybody is an attraction using GPS. But is it really the case? I mean, is the TDL Winnie the Pooh attraction REALLY using a GPS system to control the vehicles?
May be not, if we believe this well informed Wikipedia article about the attraction. Here is what they say:
Although track-based traditional dark rides based on Pooh do exist at Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, and the Magic Kingdom, Pooh's Hunny Hunt is a different attraction entirely and is exclusive to Tokyo Disneyland.
The ride vehicles are fashioned to resemble honey pots; though these pots have wheels, they are completely hidden, giving the pots the appearance of "gliding" across the show scene's floors. Traditionally, dark ride vehicles are guided along an easily-visible track, and move at a (more or less) constant speed. The Pooh's Hunny Hunt vehicles have no visible means of guidance and appear to move through the attraction independently. Wildly stopping, starting, reversing direction, and even spinning, giving the ride its trademark whimsical and dreamlike visuals.
This 'trackless' ride system is achieved not by GPS, as widely rumored, but by a custom LPS (local positioning system). The patented system works by directional data being relayed from a master control computer directly to each individual honey pot car through a complicated matrix embedded within the actual floor tiles. Every few seconds, the master computer generates a random path and ‘steers’ the honey pot in real-time, so as the cars roll through the ride the vehicles are, in fact, being told where to go. Because this system is in real-time, they can maneuver accordingly in just fractions of a second. This also allows for spontaneous yet synchronized ‘honey pot choreography’ with groups of honey pots (as many as 8 in a single show scene) appearing to ‘dance’ with the others, often timed with ‘beats’ in the music. Due to limitless variations possible, each journey through the attraction is unique.
Other LPS Uses
Aquatopia (at Tokyo DisneySea just next door) is the only other ride in the world to use this groundbreaking ride technology. It is unknown if this ride system will ever be built outside of Tokyo, although a ride based on Disney's Beauty and the Beast using the LPS system (teacups instead of honey pots) was designed by WDI before Hunny Hunt, yet still remains unbuilt. Pooh's Hunny Hunt has been rumored at having a budget of around $130 million, although this cost included the development and testing of the never-before-built LPS ride system.
So, we've learned something: no GPS, but LPS , and this is what should be use in the Ratatouille attraction........although another rumor is saying that WDI was recently investigating a trackless system used by a company at an amusement park in Oregon or Washington or somewhere around there. The Imagineers seems to look for a trackless system without the headaches and expenses that the TDL Pooh attraction has...
If the imagineers finally choose a new system, let's hope that it will work as well as the LPS one they've used at TDL and TDS. Pleeease, no cheap version on this awaited attraction......
So, which system will be finally use by WDI imagineers in the Ratatouille attraction? I'm afraid we will have to wait for the opening to get the answer!
Photo: copyright Disney-Pixar