The chain of vehicles is kept in continuous and predictable motion, typically at a constant speed, throughout the entire course of the attraction such as along an irregular path to move through the rooms of a house or set of a show or attraction. High throughput or increased daily capacity is achieved because the vehicle chain continues to move throughout the day, with riders loading and unloading while the vehicles are in motion. Standard loading and unloading occur with a next set of passengers standing on a loading belt, which is moving at about the chain/vehicle speed, and then entering adjacent vehicles. At a different location or station, passengers in vehicles exit their moving vehicle at the end of the ride to step onto an adjacent unloading belt, which is also moving at about the speed of the vehicle chain.
The omnimover ride system continues to provide a popular platform for rides in many amusement parks as the omnimover ride system effectively delivers high capacity with a simple mechanical drive and control system. However, many park operators continue to search for different and new rides, and it may be undesirable to simply add another conventional omnimover ride to a park as the ride experience may be very similar to existing attractions. Hence, there remains a need for a ride system that provides the high capacity or passenger throughput of a conventional omnimover ride but that also provides a new, unique, fun, and exciting or at least different ride experience. Preferably, such a ride system would enhance the variability of rides at an amusement park while preserving the benefits of conventional omnimover rides including high capacity, a continuous chain of vehicles, and a simple and/or well-known propulsion and control system for moving the vehicle chain.
But a floating omnimover ride with high capacity throughput and enhanced control over speeds of passenger boats a very completely new experience while being very efficient and with very short wait times. The proposed ride includes a water containment structure with spaced apart sidewalls defining an elongated guide channel that defines a loop-shaped ride path or circuit. The ride includes a volume of liquid contained in the guide channel to a desired depth. The ride also includes a chain of passenger boats floating in the liquid contained in the guide channel. Each of the boats is linked to the two adjacent boats with a connecting link such that the chain of boats is a continuous loop. The chain of boats has a length that is approximately equal to a length of the ride path, and during operation of the ride, the boats in the chain are moved along the loop-shaped ride path at a predefined rate by a pump station moving the liquid in the guide channel. In addition to the guide channel or trough, the ride system may also include an open bay or free-floating portion or section in which the boats are not guided by and do not contact nearby sidewalls. As long as a sufficient number of the floating vehicles are contained in and guided within the guide channel (or flowing or drive) portion or section of the ride system, other sections of the vehicle chain may be “undriven” by the water in the free-floating section or bay portion of the ride system. In this portion, the water may be relatively still or unflowing, but the boats in the vehicle chain will still follow a path between an exit of the guide channel and an entrance to the guide channel because they are pulled and/or pushed by the boats or vehicles traveling in the guide channel (where water is flowing to push the boats along the path between adjacent sidewalls). In the open bay or free-floating portion, the boats or vehicles may even be caused to traverse over land or out of the water by placing ramps in the path of the boats and providing pads or rollers/wheels on the bottom of the boat hulls/bodies. The pushing and pulling forces provided along the vehicle chain by the boats in the guide channel due to the flowing water will roll the boats in the open bay or free-floating portion over the dry or shallow portion of the ride. By including an open waterway in the ride system, the ride experience is enhanced as the boats appear to be magically guided and propelled through the still water with their boats spaced apart from guiding sidewalls. Or, in other words as long as you've got the boats chained together, you can take away the guide channel for a section of the ride, and the boats will continue to follow one another through that section. You could possibly even move the chain of "boats" onto a land segment for a bit.
Check out the patent at: United States Patent Application: FLOATING OMNIMOVER RIDE