Disney Developing a “Catapult” System to Improve Boat Ride Efficiency at Disney Parks

Have you ridden Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, or any other similar boat ride, and been frustrated when the boats build up near the end of the ride? Boats build up and then start running into each other as more boats join the traffic jam, and it can be quite uncomfortable.

Current boat rides use a basic system to stop boats mid-ride and maintain spacing throughout the ride. The current system involves a series of arms or gates that hold the boats in place until they are released to continue down the flume. The issues with that are that once they’re released, the boats take time to join the speed of the water in the ride, which can cause incorrect spacing through a slight delay.

This new system would utilize a mechanism that would stop the boat and when it disengages, would catapult the boat forward to join the speed of the water flume much faster. And according to the patent application, this new system is intended for boat rides at theme parks.

The ride includes a boat capture and launch assembly provided on the second wall, and this assembly includes: (a) a body; (b) a drive mechanism rotating the body; (c) a capture arm with a first contact surface on the body; and (d) a launch arm with a second contact surface on the body. When the body is rotated into a first position, the capture arm extends outward into the flume to catch the interaction member and stop the boat. When the body is rotated through a range of second positions, the interaction member abuts the second contact surface and a launch force is applied to accelerate the boat.

We hope this new patent is adopted soon to make boat rides even more enjoyable!

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