The Disney Technical Details

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The Disney Technical Details

Similar to the "fun facts" thread, I'm wondering who else is a junkie for the technical aspects that go into the Disney World attractions? More to do with the Imagineering side of things.

I recently watched a good documentary on the creation of Expedition Everest. The amount of artistic detail is quite staggering. Most of it is easily missed since the vehicle is moving so fast. But also interesting was the technical aspects of the ride.

For example, the sound you hear while on the train is piped through an array of speakers that line the track allowing the sound to "move" along with the vehicle. And the track piece that "flips" over before the train goes backwards and sends you on a different course, apparently the first of it's kind on any coaster, was a challenge since it had to flip very quickly and is extremely heavy.

The same sound following system can be heard on the People Mover at MK. As the cars move along, the you can hear the narration moving along with it. Same thing in the Doom Buggies at Haunted Mansion. In fact, at the Haunted Mansion, the sound is a combination of the doom buggy speakers and speakers placed throughout the building itself with most of the sound coming from the doom buggies.

Keeping on the sound theme, the parades are also very interesting in how the music in the park changes based on where the parade vehicles are and then follows the parade around as it moves through the park. I just find it so facsinating.

Other small details that intrigue me are the realistic flickering of the lights in the Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder Mountain. I don't know exactly how they do it, but the effect looks absolutely authentic. Speaking of authentic, what about the hotel lobby at Tower of Terror? I was blown away by the look of that lobby the first time I saw it. The dust and cob webs make it look so convincing.

What are some of the interesting technical details that you've noticed or have learned about in your travels at Disney World and find fascinating?

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yay I love this stuff, Ken!

I don't know for sure, but I'm always fascinated by the "fire" effects on Pirates. It looks like a sheet being waved by a fan with a flickering light bulb behind it. I study it closely every time we ride trying to confirm.

I'm also interested in the fireworks. I'm by no means a pyromanic (although it probably sounds like it from my first two items!! laugh) and I was actually quite scared of fire and fireworks as a kid, but the timing and sequencing at Disney is so amazing. Just the fact that light and sound travel at different rates. In the park, I've only watched from Main Street in front of Casey's to the castle and on the bridges off to the side, but I wonder if the speakers closer to the train station operate on a delay to compensate for the timing difference. Surely the ones at TOTW and Polynesian Beach do. Oh and I'd so love to know how many charges are set off, how much it costs for Disney to do those displays nightly, etc. I know that they use proprietary color mixes at IllumiNations. That was from the Undiscovered Future World Tour.

There's a little robot on top of Mouse Gear that monitors the wind speed and direction and adjusts the height of the spouts during the water ballet sequence. The sequence itself is actually initiated from MK.

One of the coolest parts of our last trip was watching the load/unload process of Toy Story from the handicapped accessible vantage point. We could see the control panel and see the track switch back and forth to let the accessible cars into the line. The car the converts into the wheelchair accessible car is astounding--as are the cast members that convert it back and forth so quickly.

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December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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Wow Alicemouse! That's great info!

The fire effects are definitely impressive. Fantasmic has amazing "fire on water" sequences too. mickey

Regarding the sound during Wishes, it is indeed time delayed depending on where you're watching. I remember a tour guide CM telling us that once. The entire sound system is quite elaborate.

That's really interesting about the sensor on Mouse Gears and the TSM cars. Definitely have to look more closely at those next visit. awesome

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Did you guys learn all this on a tour? Wheels turning.....

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disneydoc wrote:
Did you guys learn all this on a tour? Wheels turning.....

For me, it's been a combination of tours, documentaries and some just observing. mickey

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There are a LOT of books out there, specifically to the actual engineering process and "did you know?"; same with some documentaries (some are now on Youtube). I watched the making of the original "Soarin" and was amazed at the different smells that come thru above our heads so we can feel like we are at the ocean side, etc. So cool!!!! I spend months reading up on it and then get there and forget it all in the excitement of being there!

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KenJ wrote:
disneydoc wrote:
Did you guys learn all this on a tour? Wheels turning.....

For me, it's been a combination of tours, documentaries and some just observing. mickey

likewise awesome

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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The drivers for the parade floats have some very limited viewing while driving. I also know that floats have an emergency stop button just in case. All of the sounds in MK come from one room backstage and I have walked past this room several times, I think about asking just being to go in just to look every time I go past it.

I know that Expedition Everest has more brakes on it then the ride manufacturer recommends, it is one of the safest roller coasters out there.

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While I love this topic, I have nothing cool to add, but I will gladly read what everyone else writes!

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On the Kilimanjaro Safari, as you know the truck goes over a few small "rivers" of water and there are chains on both sides of the water that the truck drives over. I thought it was for traction but was curious.

So, I asked a CM afterwards what they are for and she said they keep the animals from crossing. Apparently, the animals don't like the chains under their feet/hooves etc. and won't cross them.

Not a great photo, but here are the chains I'm talking about...

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KenJ wrote:
On the Kilimanjaro Safari, as you know the truck goes over a few small "rivers" of water and there are chains on both sides of the water that the truck drives over. I thought it was for traction but was curious.

So, I asked a CM afterwards what they are for and she said they keep the animals from crossing. Apparently, the animals don't like the chains under their feet/hooves etc. and won't cross them.

Not a great photo, but here are the chains I'm talking about...

Great info, Ken! I thought they were to artificially make the terrain more rocky and uneven!

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

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KenJ wrote:
On the Kilimanjaro Safari, as you know the truck goes over a few small "rivers" of water and there are chains on both sides of the water that the truck drives over. I thought it was for traction but was curious.

So, I asked a CM afterwards what they are for and she said they keep the animals from crossing. Apparently, the animals don't like the chains under their feet/hooves etc. and won't cross them.

Not a great photo, but here are the chains I'm talking about...

The chains aren't the only barriers out there to keep animals separated from the trucks and other animals. The other barriers blend in with the environment. There are also lots of "stumps" in the safari that also act as snack bowls for the animals during the day.

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oldtink wrote:
There are a LOT of books out there, specifically to the actual engineering process and "did you know?"; same with some documentaries (some are now on Youtube). I watched the making of the original "Soarin" and was amazed at the different smells that come thru above our heads so we can feel like we are at the ocean side, etc. So cool!!!! I spend months reading up on it and then get there and forget it all in the excitement of being there!

The smells in Soarin are a cool touch. The orange grove and pine forests are my favorite! mickey

Apparently, they experimented with adding smells to movie theaters years ago. It obviously didn't take off though.

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Mandy wrote:
The drivers for the parade floats have some very limited viewing while driving. I also know that floats have an emergency stop button just in case. All of the sounds in MK come from one room backstage and I have walked past this room several times, I think about asking just being to go in just to look every time I go past it.

I know that Expedition Everest has more brakes on it then the ride manufacturer recommends, it is one of the safest roller coasters out there.

That's quite interesting Mandy! Definitely would be interested to hear more about the sound room if you get a chance to visit it sometime. awesome

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KenJ wrote:
oldtink wrote:
There are a LOT of books out there, specifically to the actual engineering process and "did you know?"; same with some documentaries (some are now on Youtube). I watched the making of the original "Soarin" and was amazed at the different smells that come thru above our heads so we can feel like we are at the ocean side, etc. So cool!!!! I spend months reading up on it and then get there and forget it all in the excitement of being there!

The smells in Soarin are a cool touch. The orange grove and pine forests are my favorite! mickey

Apparently, they experimented with adding smells to movie theaters years ago. It obviously didn't take off though.

"take off" ..good one, Ken! I am curious about what new smells will be in the new movie.

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"At some point in life you have to decide if you're the Tigger or the Eeyore."...Randy Pausch

"George Banks and all he stands for will be saved. Maybe not in life, but in imagination. Because that's what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again." Walt Disney

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I am in awe of how they make the Castle look like it is covered in ice during the holidays! If I could only do that to my humble abode.... wink

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oldtink wrote:
KenJ wrote:
oldtink wrote:
There are a LOT of books out there, specifically to the actual engineering process and "did you know?"; same with some documentaries (some are now on Youtube). I watched the making of the original "Soarin" and was amazed at the different smells that come thru above our heads so we can feel like we are at the ocean side, etc. So cool!!!! I spend months reading up on it and then get there and forget it all in the excitement of being there!

The smells in Soarin are a cool touch. The orange grove and pine forests are my favorite! mickey

Apparently, they experimented with adding smells to movie theaters years ago. It obviously didn't take off though.

"take off" ..good one, Ken! I am curious about what new smells will be in the new movie.

Haha! I didn't pick up on that until you posted it! LOL. laugh

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Jessiebelle wrote:
I am in awe of how they make the Castle look like it is covered in ice during the holidays! If I could only do that to my humble abode.... wink

Agreed! The castle looks absolutely amazing with the Christmas lights.

Here's a close up of the lights.

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It's amazing the bits and pieces you can pick up. I remember seeing that Soarin' was built with Mechano to show how it would all move. It's the effect used in THM that I really love, some high tech, some low tech, but all very effective. If anything this adds to the magic, because of the time and effort someone has gone to to make it work. mickey

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Apparently Epcot is at the exact centre of where Progress City was meant to have been built.

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