Disney Files Patent for Theme Park Rides Controlled by Guest Emotions

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Disney has filed a patent for a ride system that can alter the guest’s experience based on their emotions.

“Sensing and Managing Vehicle Behavior Based on Occupant Awareness” looks at a way to read riders’ emotions or pre-determined interests to create personalized ride experiences. For example, the patent states that via a camera on the vehicle or a wearable ID device — say a MagicBand — a ride system could read rider facial expressions such as being excited or bored, and then alter the course of the attraction to increase/decrease speed, spin more or less often, change the tone of display scenery and/or more to improve the ride for guests.

Patent for ride controlled by a guest's emotions.
Patent for ride controlled by a guest’s emotions.

“The technology would allow rides to adjust show content appropriate for pre-teens, teenagers or adults; or for thrill-seeking and non thrill-seeking passengers. The control system may also operate the vehicle to address (e.g. even solve in some cases) motion sickness issues for passengers such as by adjusting speed or movement patterns of a vehicle. [Through RFID or some other identifying system] access one or more ride experience goals (or expectations) for the occupant. For example, the occupant may simply desire transportation while in the automated trackless vehicle and, hence, will not be wanting to interact with to be entertained by external display systems. In other cases, though, the occupant may have provided goals/expectations (e.g. by completing a questionnaire on a website or the like) that indicate they want to be educated during the ride, be entertained in a particular manner during the ride, be informed of sales on services or merchandise during the ride, and so on. In the same or other cases, the goals/expectations may indicate whether the ride experience should be thrilling, as smooth as possible, or something in between.” 

The technology could add speed changes, spins and sharp corners for riders who seem bored or have provided prior information that they enjoy thrill rides. In addition, the patent states it may be able to sense passenger comfort levels such as temperature and alter the air-conditioning of the ride to make it more pleasant.

The ability for passengers to customize the ride experience also was mentioned in the patent.

“The ride/travel path may be selected to meet the occupant’s goals, such as to take the path that can be completed at this time of day in the shortest period of time, to take a path that has the best scenery, to take a path that moves past a particular set of display elements, and the like.”

That time flexibility factor suggests the technology may work with guest’s schedules such as trying to get the most of their theme park visits if they have reservations for another attraction or experience elsewhere.

It is unclear how a ride of this type would be constructed, but it is just a patent for now.

SOURCE: Orlando Business Journal

About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]