Does Disney's latest patent show the Guardians of the Galaxy coaster?

October 6, 2017, 12:40 PM · Disney has filed a patent application for a new ride system that combines an inverted coaster or track ride with a pendulum ride. Designed to "achieve [a] completely new and unique sensation of swinging on a web or vine," is this just another "blue sky" concept from Walt Disney Imagineering, or might it reveal the plans for a new Disney attraction soon to be under construction?

Richard Bilbao at the Orlando Business Journal first found the Disney's patent application, which was filed yesterday. Titled, "Track-based swing ride with long arm pendulum," you can find the complete patent application on the US Patent and Trademark Organization's website.

Here's the abstract:

A track-based swing ride system providing passengers a unique swinging ride experience. The ride system includes a ride track that supports a moving bogie coupled to the ride track that includes a drive assembly driving the bogie along a ride path defined by the ride track. The ride apparatus includes a pendulum arm pivotally coupled at a first end to the bogie, whereby the pendulum arm is suspended below the ride track and moves along the ride path with the bogie. The ride apparatus includes a passenger vehicle coupled to a second end of the pendulum arm opposite the first end of the pendulum arm. To provide the swinging sensation, the ride apparatus includes a roll driver rotating, concurrently with the drive assembly of the bogie, the pendulum arm about a roll axis extending through the first end of the pendulum arm.

Track-based swing ride with long arm pendulum

The application later states, "The new ride system provides coordinated motion between forward speed of the ride vehicle and the roll angle (as measured between the longitudinal axis of the pendulum arm and vertical). This allows the ride program used or run by a ride controller to be written and/or configured so as to achieve completely new and unique sensation of swinging on a web or vine as the ride system moves passengers through a show provided in the ride space along the track (with the show including physical sets, projection, or a combination of both)."

Here's what the ride's swing path and track path would look like, in a hypothetical installation:

Vehicle swing path

Track path

The description of "swinging on a web or vine" brings to mind Spider-Man or Tarzan, but could that be a misdirection? Because the motion of this proposed ride system sounds very much like what was described to me to be the motion of the ride vehicles on the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster at Epcot.

That coaster is supposed to have a swinging sensation that was described to me as the "way-grown-up version" of the swaying cars on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. This proposed ride system would deliver that, and then some, providing a wild ride, careening through physical space.

Just like the often-out-of-control Guardians of the Galaxy, no?

What do you think? Would you like to go on this ride system? And how would like to see Disney apply it?


Replies (20)

October 6, 2017 at 12:48 PM · Could be or more likely, Disney is getting this down so they can get to it first before Universal or Six Flags. Does look very cool and can't wait to see which ride it ends up being attached to.

Again, doesn't mean built right away as Disney was doing plans and such for Omnimover type rides long before Haunted Mansion was built.

October 6, 2017 at 12:51 PM · Sounds like Spider-Man
October 6, 2017 at 1:09 PM · Could it be California Adventures’ Spiderman? Will this be a practical effects ride instead of screens. You can’t exactly watch a video while swinging.
October 6, 2017 at 1:30 PM · Looks like a derivative of the Arrow Suspended Coasters replacing the shocks with a counter weight. Based on the schematic, it appears that the swinging motion will be completely based upon the roll of the track and the speed of the train (pure physics), not independently controlled by motors or guide tracks to drive a show-based narrative like Gringott's or Forbidden Journey. I'm a little surprised this is such a low-tech system, and very curious as to which major coaster manufacturer they'll be working with on this (7DMT was with Vekoma, which has worked on many other Disney projects too including Everest and RnRC). Maintenance on that roll axle is going to be expensive. If you've ridden 7DMT, you'll know that the cars don't really swing that much, so it probably only requires a quick inspection and some grease. However, if these cars swing as much as depicted, and really do provide the feeling of swinging between trees or buildings, that axle is going to be under some serious force, which will require a lot of attention. That's why the Arrow Suspended coasters fell out of favor, because maintenance costs were far greater than the popularity of the rides.

I'd also note that based on the layout schematic, it looks like these might be single-car trains, which could indicate a significantly low capacity, unless riders are situated back to back (still only 8 per car). Forbidden Journey can get away with 4 passengers per dispatch, because the individual benches aren't in free-motion between blocks (always being driven along the track by motors in the base of the robotic arms), which would appear to be necessary here to get the cars to swing.

You could still do video Anton, especially if each dispatch is a single car. They could also replace practical sets with animated backgrounds projected on screens to reduce the size of each "room" while still creating depth (especially if presented in 3-D). I do agree though that this looks way more like a Spider-man attraction than Guardians. However, it's altogether possible that this patent will cover attractions on both coasts with different themes (like Radiator Springs Racers and Test Track or Dinosaur and Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye).

October 6, 2017 at 1:45 PM · As Russell says, "why not both?" Guardians in Epcot and Spider-Man later in DCA?
October 6, 2017 at 2:44 PM · Hasn’t work already begun on Guardians at Epcot? Seems a little late for a patent, no?
October 6, 2017 at 7:11 PM · I would hate that ride system. It is exactly the kind of divisive, "for the kids" kind of ride that Disneyland is supposed to eschew. That's what made Disneyland Disneyland. I'm so sad that future generations won't know the kind of place I grew up with, the kind of place that made Disneyland legendary. Now it's a mall with some rides that are marketing gimmicks for its movies.
October 6, 2017 at 8:54 PM · Russell: That’s not video. That’s simulated effects using video. You can’t use videos to tell the story as in the Harry Potter Gringotts ride where the coaster actually had to pause to show the storyline. I can imagine the swing chairs going faster sideways than Space Mountain going forward for Ghost Galaxy and Star Wars. Everything will just be a blur.
October 6, 2017 at 9:14 PM · The overhead schematic makes it look more like a black box ride like Peter Pan's Flight. I see no indication of elevation changes needed to be a full blow coaster. But the swinging motion would be cool if it was a Spiderman/ Ironman Ride? THey already have Guardians ride up and running in California Adventure so I would assume this would be for another property. But this is also a combination of speculation and wishful thinking.
October 7, 2017 at 12:00 AM · I thought I'd read that Guardians at EPCOT is a launched coaster into a ten story high building? If so then this patent won't fit that model or space at all.....
October 7, 2017 at 5:36 AM · One HUUUUUGE problem here. The patent clearly states it a "powered bogie" that moves along a "flat track" with "unbanked turns". This is a dark ride, people! Not to mention that the only rumor it kinda matches is the one where it'll tilt like Seven Dwarfs. It won't launch, and it doesn't have the building behind Wonders of Life, it's not a coaster in any stretch of the word, AND they wouldn't be patenting the thing at this late stage. I tend to buy that launched coaster rumor because it's basically the resurrected ride rumor for what was going to go into Spaceship Earth the last time Epcot was allegedly getting a bunch of new attractions. You know how Disney doesn't ever let a ride idea fully die.

None of the upcoming rumors for WDW seem to fit this dark ride idea - not Tron, not Ratatouille, not the Mickey ride. So it's probably for Anaheim. There are actually several possibilities there, one of which is another Star Wars ride, but I don't buy it when it's a little similar to what they're doing in that round portion of the Battle Escape ride. Then there's the rumor about turning the Wonder Bra area into Arendelle with a major ride inside it. This ride could easily become a toboggan-or-saucer down the mountain with the sides being where the toboggan or saucer careens as it can't stay on the path. But that's at most a D-Ticket, and it would be difficult to catch any animatronics or songs on a ride like this. The ride system itself would be beyond perfect for the long-rumored Monsters Inc door coaster. It's not a coaster, but the swinging of the doors would make up for that. But the ride layout obviously doesn't match, as the door vault is a huge open room where you would see doors above, below and all around you. This ride is basically a canyon with limited visibility.

Which brings us back to Spider-Man. Normally I wouldn't buy that Disney would be so dumb as to telegraph what their future plans are, but I read most of the patent application and it felt to me that Disney doesn't seem 100% on being granted a patent for this. They constantly mention other ride systems with pendulums and point out many times how this pendulum works differently from all those other pendulum rides. Mentioning webs and vines tells me that they are really trying to sell the experience to the patent office instead of the actual mechanics of the thing, which means this very well MAY be a ride involving webs and/or vines. Furthermore, the only thing Disney let fly about the new Marvel land in DCA is that it will include Spider-Man and the Avengers. The rumor has long been that the Avengers will be getting a coaster, with no rumor about what Spidey will be getting. I'd say this. With two older-skewing Marvel attractions, DCA will need something for all ages.

Disney's inability to clone Marvel rides to Florida is killing them, so we can assume that they will use the ride system for a different ride in WDW. We all know how much Disney likes reusing ideas. It's not for any of the announced rides, so we have to look to the more-blue-sky projects and the only thing that really fits is the closing of the Imagination pavilion. The ride building there is the same basic shape, and if you flip the schematic the loading bay would be right where the the original loading bay was for Journey Into Your Imagination. Yeah, dropping Tarzan into Future World doesn't really work, at least not in this way.

BUT they have the option of making The Land pavilion actually about the land and not soarin' above it by expanding the entrance area and including this new attraction. Tarzan's Forest! Or they can move the Lion King movie over into the Imagination theater and call this pavilion The Land and call that one The Air (or Soarin'), though what would happen to the Living with the Land ride that nobody cares about is beyond me. Personally I'm all for splitting this land into two, calling the actual futuristic side Future World and the non-futuristic side Land, Sea & Air. Even better, they could put an Up attraction into the space gained by evicting the other two undervisited attractions. BECAUSE DUG NEEDS TO BE IN AN ATTRACTION!!!!

The end.

October 7, 2017 at 8:41 AM · Could it be a monsters Inc door ride
October 7, 2017 at 9:03 AM · I always thought that a good idea for a simulator ride would be a Star Tours type simulator mounted on a roller coaster track. The simulator would go through it's paces, but be also moving along the track. People would still be enclosed inside the simulator. It wouldn't have to be a very big coaster, just enough to add an additional dimension to the movement.
October 7, 2017 at 9:28 AM · It looks cool but there is a reason there aren't a ton of swinging coasters in the world and that's because of the huge stress on the wheels and the track. It's very expansive and one of the reasons the tracks on 7DMT in the corners tilts to minimise the stress during the swing (and due to that doesn't make the ride as special as it could have been).
It all feels as a very cumbersome ride to create an effect that could be done in different ways more effectively.
October 7, 2017 at 9:47 AM · I don't really see how this will be a coaster or free swinging. Doesn't the patent say "drive" for the track and pendulum? I guessed it was an overhead dark ride (ET) mixed with an S&S Screamin Swing.

My guess it would be continuous loading like Forbidden Journey.

October 7, 2017 at 10:46 AM · "Swinging on a web or vine"- that sounds more like a Spider-Man themed attraction to me. Is Disney coming up a Spider-Man ride as part of their Marvel plans at DCA!?
October 7, 2017 at 4:27 PM · Speeder bikes at Endor!!! Bye bye Autopia.
October 7, 2017 at 4:58 PM · I'm pretty confident this isn't for Guardians considering it isn't an actual roller coaster. Based on the abstract, this sounds like a slow moving dark ride with the seats on the end of a pendulum arm. My expectation is that Guardians will be similar to Tron, but with a different layout and train design. Meanwhile, there is a Spider-Man ride under development for DCA's Marvel area, and this looks like the perfect fit for such a ride. A patent doesn't mean it's happening, of course, but I'd say that application seems far more plausible.
October 8, 2017 at 1:42 PM · AJ, that's right. Disney did say that "Guardians of the Galaxy will be joined by Spider-Man and the Avengers." I'm just curious when it will open and when more details will be announced.
October 9, 2017 at 12:49 PM · I wish Disney luck with finding a way to create a better ride based on Spider-Man than what opened almost 20 years ago at Universal's Islands of Adventure. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man continues to rank among the best dark rides in the world. Even other rides that have utilized the technology created for Spider-Man are not constantly ranked as favorably.
The one thing that I think will help separate what IOA has and what this appears to show is one will be based on the Comic Book/Animated Spidy and this will most likely feature the live action (can we honestly call something that is heavily CGI "live action") version.
Only time will tell.

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