Theme Park Bits: Shanghai Disneyland, Frozen Ever After, And The Return Of The Incredible Hulk Coaster

In today's Theme Park Bits:

  • New footage from the Shanghai Disneyland version of Peter Pan's Flight.
  • An deep dive into the technology behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle For the Sunken Treasure.
  • A new look at Shanghai Disneyland's Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue.
  • The first photos from inside Epcot's Frozen Ever After.
  • Details on Universal's refurbished Incredible Hulk Coaster.

Ride footage from the soft opening of Shanghai Disneyland has been creeping on to the internet over the past week or so and just about everything has looked nothing short of astonishing. Or dazzling. Or awe-inspiring. Pick your adjective and run with it. The point is that Disney's Imagineers seem to have outdone themselves with this park, which feels like a very deliberate shot across the bow of the competition (i.e., Universal). We see your Harry Potter park and raise you this!

Anyway, a ride POV from the park's new version of Peter Pan's Flight has arrived online and the adjective I'm going to use here is "magical." Although it follows the same basic beats as the classic attraction seen at Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida, the scope has increased, the animatronics look far better, and the entire presentation is simply more polished. What we can't see particularly well is the ride vehicle, which has hopefully been modified to allow for faster loading as the original versions are notorious for their long lines.

Speaking of Shanghai Disneyland POV videos, the video above will give you simulated ride-through of Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue, the park's answer to the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters attraction at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Like with Peter Pan's Flight, this ride takes the basic set-up of its predecessor and runs with it, sprucing up the visuals and utilizing modern technology to create a more immersive environment. Still, the ride itself should give theme park fans a blast of deja vu – you are still very slowly riding through a series of environments and shooting enemies with a laser gun. It just looks better now.

If you've been following Shanghai Disneyland news, you've probably already seen the video above, which shows off Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle For the Sunken Treasure in pretty serious detail. And yes, it looks technologically astonishing and even veteran theme park fanatics watched it and wondered "How the heck did they do that?"

Well, a new post at Coaster 101 claims to have some answers. Don't follow that link if you want to have the magic thoroughly shattered for you, but the technology on display here is truly next-level stuff. This could be the future of water-based rides. Here's a sample, where the author explains how the Imagineeers most likely build a ride system that would allow the boat to rotate and move forwards, backwards and sideways:

The Imagineers are able to accomplish all this because the front and back of each boat is tethered to a bogie which is connected to a track hidden under the water.  A metallic plate, or permanent magnet, is mounted to each bogie and interacts with electromagnets (LIMs or LSMs) to control the speed of the boat. A linear motor such as an LIM or LSM is generally an electric motor with a linear or unrolled stator so that instead of producing a torque it produces a linear force along its length that is proportional to the current and the magnetic field. Now the engineers have the ability to start and stop boats at any time if a problem is encountered and the ride control system (RCS) can prevent two boats from bumping into each other, especially when there is a hold up in the station. The ride appears to pause in the video around the 6:13 mark.

The orientation of the boat is controlled by the tracks. The track begins with a single rail with both bogies traveling down it, then the track splits and the front bogie follows one track and the back bogie follows the other. This is how rotation is achieved.

For far more details, including some cool diagrams, follow the link above.

frozen ever after

Meanwhile, other stuff is happening at the stateside Disney parks. While Star Wars land is still three years away at the very least, another hugely anticipated attraction is set to open this summer at Epcot in Florida: Frozen Ever After. And if you're not hugely anticipating it, just talk to the kids in your life. They'll course correct you. Although this ride (which is replacing the Norway-themed log flume attraction Maelstrom) has been kept under tight wraps, WDW News Today has obtained a few blurry photos snapped from inside the the building, where construction is still under way. Anyone who knows Maelstrom well will recognize the location of the top photograph – that's where the angry troll used to send riders backwards over the falls. The art decoration may be completely different, but the basis track layout has remained the same. Hopefully, the Imagineers have found a way to deal with the original attraction's painfully slow loading times...

The beloved Incredible Hulk Coaster at Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure theme park closed down last year for a major refurbishment, a process that involved replacing the entire track. Now that the ride is nearing completion and is looking to re-open this summer, additional details about what visitors can expect have begun to arrive online. The refurbishment went beyond the new track: the coaster will now feature new ride vehicles, a new indoor queue, a tweaked theme, and even a gigantic hulk statue that will greet you at the entrance. The original ride took place in the laboratory of Dr. Bruce Banner, who has seemingly brought you along as part of and experiment to remove the Hulk from within him. The new storyline now sees you visiting a complex run by Hulk villain General "Thunderbolt" Ross, who is planning to use you as part of an experiment to recreate his green arch-nemesis. Story aside (and Universal remains oh-so-very-good at inserting story into their rides), the fact remains that this is one of the best roller coasters in the country is and it's wonderful to see it coming back.