Patent: Disney Parks Promises Ability to Customize Attractions and Re-Visit Extinct Ones

If your visits to the Disney theme parks around the world leave you longing for the days of yore when your most favorite attraction ever was still around, or you feel the hankering to share those memories with your children who never were afforded the opportunity, your wishes may soon be answered, and that comes directly from Disney Parks Chair, Tom Staggs.

During the Disney Parks and Resorts presentation at Disney D23 Expo last weekend, Staggs, alongside Disneyland President George Kalogridis, announced an initiative to allow guest to interact with their favorite attractions in a whole new way. With little in way of details, Staggs asked the audience to ponder the possibilities of re-experiencing the Tahitian Terrace and ‘America the Beautiful’ in addition to new experiences such as dining with Imagineers at the Haunted Mansion and personalized tea party with princesses of the guests’ choosing.

Is Disneyland really planning on bringing back every old attraction? Could The Adventurer’s Club really be well on its way to hosting another Radiothon? The answer is a resounding yes, followed by a tiny asterisk. And if you jump down to the bottom of the text, the asterisk refers you to the word virtual.

It appears with the abundance of portable electronics and gaming consoles and a virtually infinite number of entertainment apps chosen specifically by the consumer for their own enjoyment has Walt Disney Imagineering wondering if it would be possible to allow for that same type of personalization at the theme park level, where one attraction is meant to satisfy the needs of millions.

What if, perhaps, what appears to be the Splash Mountain known and loved by millions could become an active volcano inhabited by dinosaurs with cool, refreshing lava for one, simply by donning a pair of glasses? That’s just one possibility that could be considered with US Patent #7837567, ‘Method and system for customizing a theme park experience.’

The patent, which was created by Roger Holzberg, Edward Kummer, Jeffrey Voris and Seth Mendelsohn, allows for a wide range of possibilities of allowing guests to customize their experiences at both the theme parks and at home, including the ability to ‘customize a virtual tour of the most exciting new rollercoaster rides guided by Walt Disney himself. ‘

It covers a wide range of possibilities, ranging from creating and sharing the customized experience at home and online within a community, to designing it at home and experiencing it at the park, to doing it all from within the park itself. Needless to say, if it’s possible for guests’ to customize their experiences, it will certainly be possible for Imagineering to create a pre-existing library of experiences that guests can enjoy within the park.

Another example given allows the guest to customize an existing attraction (like the Splash Mountain example loosely provided above) in the form of a FPS jungle-based warfare game:

‘…Using the specific example of a jungle warfare shooting game to illustrate the present embodiment, interactive theme park experience customizing system, permits a user to produce a custom virtual jungle warfare shooting game suitable for adaptation to a theme park ride, or virtual reality attraction.

By downloading customized theme park experience design and running interactive custom virtual theme park experience design application, a user can designate a shooting game contained as a predetermined motif as the a template from which to design a custom virtual theme park experience. Having designated a shooting game as the designated motif, the user may select customizable features, such as a jungle warfare backdrop, targets, target values, etcetera, from customizable features database. Interactive custom virtual theme park experience design application can then mediate assembly of the designated motif and selected customizable features to produce a jungle warfare shooting game customized by the user.

The custom jungle warfare shooting game produced by the user can then be transferred to custom virtual theme park experience storage and be stored there. That custom virtual theme park experience may in some embodiments be accessed and experienced, as a computer game for example, by other members of a community of users. Subsequently, the custom jungle warfare shooting game produced by the user may be adapted as a customized theme park experience. For instance, the custom virtual jungle warfare shooting game produced by the user may be incorporated into a water ride at Disneyland, at which riders could use simulated guns mounted on a river craft to destroy targets displayed on video monitors positioned at various points along the course of the ride. A decision to adapt the custom virtual jungle warfare shooting game could be based on its rated popularity among a community of users accessing theme park experience design content, ease of implementation as an in-park attraction, or other criteria.’

For your added enjoyment, the patent is available for download here.

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