Patents filed by Disney suggest that Walt Disney Imagineers are currently working on ride technology that could change guests’ ride paths depending on how frightened they are. If you start to feel sick during the ride your vehicle would slow down, and if you start to feel scared the attraction could turn off some of the scarier show elements. The inverse is true as well, if the new technology senses that you are bored, then the experience would amp up the intensity.
The technology behind this patent could eventually use a combination of the guest’s heart rate, facial expressions, skin temperature, perspiration, vocal stress, eye movements, and even their age to gauge their experience. This new technology would have the ability to adjust or change certain ride elements, special effects, animated characters, or even entire ride environments.
Seen below is the diagram featured in the patent that details how this technology would be implemented.
Disney Imagineers like the Executive Ride Mechanical Engineering David Crawford, Creative Designers Studio Lead David Durham, and Senior Show Producer at Walt Disney Imagineering Jon Georges were all listed on the patent.
This technology will likely change how we experience and react to theme park attractions. As the Orlando Sentinel points out, “such technology might also cause guests to be a little more conscious of how they are reacting to a ride. (Because) if you close your eyes, you might be put in the slow lane.”
It is unknown at this time what attractions this technology would specifically be used on. The patent does reference a Haunted House, which would seemingly be in reference to the Haunted Mansion, but at this time any guess as to which ride or rides this technology would be integrated with is just speculation.
Disney had this patent approved by the U.S. Patent Office in October, but on Thursday, March 8, 2018, Disney filed another patent that would extend this technology into any environment. In the Orlando Sentinel, registered patent attorney Terry Sanks is quoted as saying, “Disney isn’t limited just to theme parks. They could be wanting to use it in other venues, like cruise ships.”
Stephen "Steve" Porter started going to the parks with his family in 1996. Since then he hasn't looked back! Steve was a cast member participating in the Disney College Program in 2013. Most recently he graduated from Penn State University!