Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Awesome 21st Century Upgrade to Disneyland's Peter Pan Ride

I've had this idea for about eighteen years now.  I have no way of making it happen, but I do have an outlet to share the idea with you Imagineers out there, boldly assuming you haven't already considered this and abandoned it for some reason.   Here goes.....

I propose an entirely new Peter Pan ride, where you are sprinkled with pixie dust, think happy thoughts, then fly, actually fly, like Peter, Wendy, and the boys over London to Neverland.  You would not be in a fake boat riding on a clanky overhead rail.  You would be completely untethered.  What's the secret?  

Magnetic levitation, or maglev, has been around for a while now. Remember, back in science class, trying to put two magnets together with the same polarity?  The resistance you felt is the basis for maglev.  I first read about it in 1995, when Japan launched a train line using this technology. The trains are guided along a rail without wheels, propelled by electromagnets while levitating above a track.

If it works with trains, could it work with people?  Imagine a jolly, exhausted Disneyland visiter putting on a specially imagineered vest, then being propelled along a similar track that he or she could not see. They would fly - really fly - over the Thames, over London, through the clouds and down to Neverland.  They would really only be a few feet off the ground, but completely untethered.  The sensation would be amazing.  


Some Ward Kimball madness from Mars & Beyond

Apply maglev technology much more simply in a Tomorrowland attraction.  Bring back the Mission to Mars, or some such space ride.  Wearing the same specially imagineered vest, when the ship leaves Earth's gravity, fire up the electro magnets and we can all float freely about the ship for three minutes.  You could combine the 360 degree theater idea, running a space film out the windows around the ship, elevating the zero G experience.  Vomiting patrons might spoil the illusion, but special grates in the floor would allow fast and easy clean up.  That is a technology developed by college bars.

So there you go, WDI friends.  A freebie.  I've done a little work for Imagineering in the past, on It's Tough to Be a Bug, Alien Encounter, and Cranium Command, and I have seen how much thought goes into every single detail in Disney's themeparks.  It's a maddeningly slow process, with so many considerations beyond entertainment: costs to develop, build, and operate, square footage needed, crowd flow, safety, and the ride's shelf life -  any one of these factors could knock the attraction off the feasibility chart.    

But a guy can dream, can't he? 

PS: Jerry Rees shared this video that demonstrates this idea perfectly....Thanks Jerry!

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