Monday, October 24, 2016

Disney's new Star Wars ride may kick guests off and make them walk partway

Posted By on Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 12:01 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA DISNEY
  • Photo via Disney
Disney has been very up-front about how much they expect Star Wars land to boost attendance at WDW's Hollywood Studios. They're already expanding the parking lot in anticipation of the large crowds the new land will draw, and have been toying with the idea of blocking annual pass holders from accessing the new land when it first opens.

We also know that the new land will include two rides: one where guests can pilot the Millennium Falcon and another "ground-breaking" ride. Few details have been given regarding that second ride, but the rumors of what it will be have been gelling around some interesting ideas.

This ride, known internally as "Alcatraz," according to MiceChat, will be more of a traditional dark ride in that guests will board vehicles and travel through various rooms where the storyline plays out. All Disney has confirmed regarding this second ride is that guests will find themselves "in the middle of a battle between the Resistance and the First Order in a race against time."

The ride vehicles featured in the only official rendering of the ride look to seat roughly six to eight and will likely be trackless. This would be one of the first major uses of the trackless technology in a ride at Walt Disney World; Antarctica at SeaWorld and King Kong at Islands of Adventure both use similar technology. The rumored Secret Life of Pets at Universal Orlando and Ratatouille at Epcot attractions are also expected to use trackless ride systems. 

If rumors are to be believed, "Alcatraz" will be Disney's most daring ride to date with hundreds of animatronics, including over 150 Stormtroopers. The ride will also feature a unique experience – guests will disembark their vehicles mid-ride to go on a journey by foot before re-boarding the ride itself, essentially making this two rides with a walk-through attraction in the middle. Little is known of what guests will experience during this walk-through section of the attraction, but it's believed that live in-character cast members will be present to help guide guests through multiple highly interactive rooms. Disney has filed patents for laser firing drones, interactive light sabers and other technology directly linked to the Star Wars land.

With so much loading and unloading taking place, the ride is believed to have an hourly capacity below 2,000 guests per hour. That's roughly a third less than Pirates of the Caribbean or Haunted Mansion.

The ride will use an elevator system similar to that used on Universal's Transformers ride. On that ride, most guests don't even notice the elevator system due to the large screen where the 3-D video moves up and down the elevator shaft with ride vehicle. We still do not know if "Alcatraz" will have 3-D elements, but it's unlikely both new rides in the Star Wars land experience will use the technology.

All phases of the new Star Wars experience should be open by WDW's 50th anniversary celebration in 2021. Current permits for the project expire in the fall of 2019.

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