Disney’s Newest Ride Has Robotic Arms That Pick Up Ride Vehicles & Relocate Them to Different Tracks

haunted mansion doom buggies and robotic arms
Credit: Disney Wiki/Canva

Disney’s newest ride technology will make its state-of-the-art trackless systems seem like child’s play.

Imagine riding in a doom buggy at Disney World’s Haunted Mansion and taking in every element of the creepy old abode. You note the specific color of purple used in the wallpaper in the hallway as you make your way toward the seance room. Under your breath, so as not to infuriate other guests around you, you recite all of Madame Leota’s incantations in real time with the medium’s voice and then wait for the tambourine, harp, and horns in the room to play aloud as they’re commanded to do so by Leota.

disney world haunted mansion

Credit: Becky Burkett

Classic Attractions Will See Modern-Day Upgrades

Blink, and you find yourself in the attic of the eerie old mansion, perusing the stacks of boxes and boxes of keepsakes, hoping to notice something you haven’t before. But just before you come face-to-face with Constance Hatchaway in the dark corner of the attic, you close your eyes tight and hold on for your very life to the safety bar in front of you–but not because you’re afraid of the bridal hatchet murderess.

Fan Tries His Hand at Selling the Supernatural From Magic Kingdom Ride -  Disney Dining

Credit: Disney Parks

Rather, you’re holding your breath, waiting for the most terrifying part of the experience–when giant robotic arms swoop down from the ceiling of the old mansion, lift up your doom buggy, and whisk you down to the track that winds throughout the graveyard scene.

Wait. What happened to the part of the ride where your doom buggy rotates before titling you backward down a steep incline, symbolizing your “death” after apparently falling out of the attic window?

Disney’s Patented New Ride System

This week, Disney filed an application for a patent on what the company describes as Systems and Methods for Transferring a Passenger Compartment Between Ride Systems Using Robotic Tool Changers, which could allow the entertainment giant to create some very hair-raising experiences in its parks.roboti

The new system features a robotic arm that can engage a passenger compartment at an attraction, such as conjoined ride vehicles, remove them from the track they’re on, place them on a different track, and disengage from the ride vehicles, at which time guests can continue their experience inside the attraction, but on a whole different track.

If it works the way Disney says it will, it would look like the figure below.

Disney patent application

Credit: Walt Disney Company

And if the thought of a giant robotic arm reaching down, lifting you and your fellow guests up as you remain seated in the ride vehicle, and placing you on a different ride track isn’t thrilling enough, you’ll be happy to know that Disney’s patent application associated with this system states that “in some instances, a passenger may control a movement of the passenger compartment.”

You better hope they’re in good spirits–and that they know what they’re doing!

Disney’s Tracks and Trackless Rides

At Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, multiple ride systems are used throughout the experience. One system involves a trackless ride vehicle on a motion base. Another system involves the ride vehicle being placed onto a platform that then drops (and another one that lifts the vehicle up again).

rise of the resistance storm troopers

Credit: Becky Burkett

The attraction is one of the newest at the Walt Disney World Resort and is considered a state-of-the-art experience, but Disney’s new ride technology involving robotic arms as a means of transport could completely revolutionize the industry, making even the advanced ride systems found at the Rise of the Resistance attraction seem archaic.

star wars rise of the resistance

Credit: Becky Burkett

Not long ago, such technology seemed years into the future, but advancements in technology, artificial intelligence, and ride systems at theme parks around the world continue to bring the future ever closer to the present.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!