Disney’s Flying Roller Coaster Concept
I recently stumbled upon a patent for a flying roller coaster with a vertical load and launch. I figured this patent would be listed under Vekoma or B&M, the two most popular manufacturers of flying coasters. I was shocked to see the applicant was listed as Disney Enterprises, Inc. in Burbank, Ca. The inventor is Nicholas Comorre, whose Linkedin profile lists him as a concept designer at Walt Disney Imagineering.
The patent describes a flying roller coaster very similar to B&M’s with one key difference – a vertical-to-the-ground loading station. On a typical B&M flyer, like Manta at SeaWorld Orlando, when the train is parked in the station (with track that is parallel to the ground) the seats rotate to a vertical position, perpendicular to the track, so passengers can easily get in and out.
In this new concept from Disney, the track is perpendicular to the ground while the seats are stationary and do not rotate at all, thus removing all the extra hardware and associated maintenance costs. The vertical roller coaster station would also save on space since it would all be stacked on top of itself and not spread all over.
Another advantage of this style is each row of seats can be a more intimate boarding experience. Your group of 2-6 people are the only ones on the load platform, not an entire train’s worth of people loading together. You would get a very personalized pre-show experience that could be tailored specifically to your group. Like maybe earlier in the queue you had to make some decision together that effected the how the story plays out in the station.
Theme and Location
First, I want to remind you that there are plenty of amusement ride patents out there that have not been used before. For example, Disney also patented a roller coaster car with reclining seats. This particular flying coaster patent was filed in 2012 and hasn’t been used yet. That being said, let’s speculate a little. Where is a good place for this type of coaster and what would be a good theme?
This would have been the perfect ride concept for the banshee ride at the Pandora: World of Avatar under-construction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Instead it seems we’re getting another version of Soarin’.
This concept could also be cool for a Star Wars themed ride. But of the brief descriptions we have for Star Wars Land I don’t think it matches any of them, do you?
What about an Iron Man themed ride? One could be built in China or California.
Maybe this concept was originally conceived for a ride based on the Tomorrowland movie? Check out this sequence from the movie below, as it would’ve been a perfect fit for the vertically launched flying coaster:
Check out the patent here. What theme would this ride system be ideal for? What park do you see it being added to?