At D23, some announcements were made that didn’t feel much like announcements at all. “Blue were made about what is “possible” and “being considered” and that didn’t sit well with fans. Things like Villains Kingdom and plans for what exactly to do with the now defunct Dinoland USA were “floated” without being promised. My guess is because they made so many promises about EPCOT that they are loath to do so again for fear of the collective wrath from fans. Understandable, when it comes to Disney Parks, we can be a…shall we say passionate group? That doesn’t mean we don’t want to know what’s going on though! Today, we have good evidence for what comes next. Let’s look first at the evidence, and then dream about what it could mean.
Disney has filed a patent for a boat simulator which was just approved recently. The details of the patent are pretty interesting: “A boat motion simulator or system configured specially to impart boat-type motions (e.g., roll, sway, heave, pitch, surge, and yaw) to a passenger boat. The simulator or system is also configured to use buoyancy or buoyant forces to vertically support the boat such that the system’s components imparting the boat motions do not provide vertical support of the boat, which, instead, floats naturally in a volume of water provided within the simulator or system while or concurrently with motions being imparted upon the boat by a drive or motion assembly.”
What does it mean? Disney plans to create a ride in which a boat sits on water and despite being in a safe and protected area, will simulate the forces of an actual boat on potentially dangerous waters. Likey the boat will be on a motion platform under the water which will move it according to on screen cues to make it feel as though the boat is in open water. This opens up doors for all kinds of possibilities, but one comes to mind specifically: Moana.
Take a look at the concept drawing above. The boat pictured in the drawing is most certainly reminiscent of the boat Moana sailed from her island in. In wondering what they could intend this for we remembered that there is a Moana attraction coming to Disney World and another potentially coming. The ready announced Journey of Water Pavilion at EPCOT seems an unlikely candidate for this patent. The details of the attraction are pretty widely known and no ride for the area had been planned. Instead, it will be a walk through, interactive kind of play area. So where else could this go? Animal Kingdom is our guess.
At D23, when Dinoland’s extinction was announced, a Moana area was teased as a possible replacement. The “Blue Sky” concept art for the area strongly suggests things where that ride will go. The log flume type ride could tie in nicely with this area given that if you look closer at the concept art, you can see that the boat goes into a show building. In there any number of things could take place, including the simulator.
While it isn’t a sure thing that this patent is for the Moana area at Animal Kingdom, we’d say it’s a very strong possibility and would be extremely surprised if it wasn’t. The one thing that is a sure thing though is the patent. It is not free (or cheap) to patent something so if Disney has taken it all the way to this point, they definitely intend to do something with it and we cannot wait!