Omnimover

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The Omnimover is an amusement ride system used for Disney theme park attractions. Roger Broggie and Bert Brundage developed the system for WED Enterprises, which patented Omnimover in April 1968.[1] The term was coined by Imagineer Bob Gurr and is a portmanteau of OmniRange and PeopleMover. Outside of Disney, it is known as an Endless Transit System.

Description[edit]

The Omnimover system was created by Roger E. Broggie and Bert Brundage to provide a ride system capable of providing passengers with a motion picture type experience by controlling the line of sight.[2] This concept also allows the designers to be able to place infrastructure elements of the attraction, such as lighting and projectors, behind the vehicles without concern for having the illusions of the attraction revealed to the riders. The system consists of a chain of vehicles operating on a track, usually hidden beneath the floor. The chain of vehicles maintains constant motion at a specific speed (usually about 2 feet (0.61 m) per second[3]) throughout the entire course of the attraction. To facilitate boarding and disembarking from the vehicles, a conveyor belt moving at approximately the same speed as the ride vehicles parallels the track at the loading and unloading areas. Passengers step from the moving belt into the vehicle or vice versa.

One of the features that differentiates this system from other ride systems is the ability of the vehicle to be rotated to a predetermined orientation. In addition to the main ride rails, each vehicle also has two control rails attached to a wheel. One controls swiveling allowing the vehicle to face in any direction at any point on the track. The other allows the vehicle to tilt in relation to the inclining and declining portions of the track.[2] Early Omnimovers such as the "Adventure Thru Inner Space" at Disneyland were manufactured by Arrow Development,[3] with later systems such as the Buzz Lightyear attractions being manufactured by Sansei Yusoki.[4] Previous ride conveyor systems (such as Futurama at the 1939 New York World's Fair and Ford's Magic Skyway at the 1964 New York World's Fair) did not allow the individual ride vehicles to rotate.

Two Omnimover systems have been in continuous use since their debut but have featured different attractions:

  • Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin at Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom uses the Omnimover ride system of two former attractions. The first attraction to occupy this space was If You Had Wings, which was sponsored by Eastern Airlines from 1972 to 1987, when they dropped sponsorship. The ride then was known as If You Could Fly until closing in January 1989. Six months later, the old ride system was reused as If You Had Wings was transformed into Delta Dreamflight, which was sponsored by Delta Air Lines until 1996. The ride vehicles were reprogrammed in 1989 to alter their viewing direction. In 1996, the ride became known as Take Flight, and closed on January 9, 1998. Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin uses the very Omnimover ride system of If You Had Wings/Delta Dreamflight, except for having new third generation vehicles that can be rotated by the riders to any angle to shoot at various targets. Space Ranger Spin also uses two of the speed tunnels from If You Had Wings.
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends previously was home to The Living Seas, which utilized a different attraction theme as well as a different Omnimover vehicle design.

Although Journey Into Imagination with Figment in Epcot is now an Omnimover basis track it was once all Omnimover (this was back when the Dream finder was still part of the attraction).

Current attraction series using the Omnimover system[edit]

  • Haunted Mansion Series
    • Disneyland
    • Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World
    • Tokyo Disneyland
    • Disneyland Paris
  • Peter Pan's Flight Series
    • Disneyland
    • Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World
    • Tokyo Disneyland
    • Disneyland Paris

Current individual attractions using the Omnimover system[edit]

Omnimover attractions no longer in operation[edit]

This list includes all Omnimover attractions that have been permanently removed and not recycled.

Variations[edit]

  • Horizons at EPCOT is notable for being the only attraction to utilize an inverted Omnimover. The vehicles did not rotate, but instead traveled sideways during the entire attraction.
  • The Living Seas at EPCOT featured a short "sea-cab" trip that traveled through a tunnel into the pavilion's main aquarium. When the attraction was re-themed into The Seas with Nemo and Friends, the opening ride-through portion utilizing "clam-mobiles" was extended. Although visually similar to the Omnimover system, these vehicles do not tilt or rotate away from parallel to the track. This is due to the lack of space below the track for the mechanics and space in the ride area to place anything behind the vehicles for them to turn around to face.
  • Buzz Lightyear is the only ride to have the riders spin the vehicles manually.
  • Peter Pan's Flight is an Omnimover, despite the ride vehicles changing speed. While not a traditional Omnimover, that has all of the cars evenly spaced between each other at all times, the ride does not stop for loading and unloading, which makes it an Omnimover. The ride is also the only Omnimover ride that is suspended from a track above (using an overhead conveyor-like system), rather than running on a track below the cars.[6]
  • Journey Into Imagination at EPCOT used multiple individual trains of Omnimover-like cars. While the cars do rotate, they come to a full stop for loading and unloading of guests.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Amusement Ride System - Patent #3,554,130". US Patent & Trademark Office. Retrieved November 16, 2005. 
  2. ^ a b "United States Patent 3,554,130". Scribd. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Limbo: Loading the Doom Buggies". DoomBuggies.com. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  4. ^ "Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (Disneyland)". Parkz. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Disney World’s Fantasyland expansion". WOFL FOX 35. 18 January 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "7 Impressive Facts about Peter Pan’s Flight". disneyfanatic.com. Retrieved 5 December 2014.