Patent application title: Amusement Ride With Mechanical Lift, Slides, Sequenced Ejections, And Show Systems
Paul Takeshi Shozi (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Montomery Clark Lunde (Valencia, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63G2118FI
Class name: Amusement devices body slide water slide
Publication date: 2009-01-15
Patent application number: 20090017927
A themed water amusement ride that raises guests in rafts on a lift
platform to a dome. The lift platform has bays containing the rafts. The
bays have tilting floors. The lift platform rotates, selectively aligning
the bays with elevated slide entrances. The floors of the bays tilt the
rafts into the slides, where the raft moves down the slide to a pool of
water. The platform, dome, slides, lift structure, and pond are further
provided with lights, sound production equipment, mechanical figures,
water hoses, water outlets, and animation media to produce a show in
accordance with the theme.
1. A method of conducting an amusement ride for participants
comprising:(a) providing the following(i) an elevated dome having an
interior space;(ii) a lift positioned under the elevated dome;(iii) at
least one movable raft;(iv) a platform rotatably secured to a top of the
lift, the platform having at least one radial bay for containing the at
least one raft, the bay having a tiltable floor;(v) at least one slide
extending downward from the elevated dome;(b) moving the at least one
raft into the at least one bay of the platform;(c) elevating the platform
up into the dome via the lift;(d) rotating the platform until the at
least one bay is aligned with the at least on slide; and(e) tilting the
floor of the bay such that the raft enters and moves downward through the
2. The method of claim 1 wherein the platform is rotated in at least two alternating clockwise and counterclockwise directions before the at least one bay is aligned with the at least one slide.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein the platform is rotated randomly in clockwise and counterclockwise directions before the at least one bay is aligned with the at least one slide.
4. The method of claim 1 wherein at least two bays and at least two slides are provided, and the platform is sequentially rotated to align one of the at least two bays with a selected one of the at least two slides and, thereafter, align another of the at least two bays with a selected one of the at least two slides.
5. The method of claim 4 wherein the at least one of the at least two bays is aligned in a random sequence with one of the at least two slides.
6. The method of claim 1 wherein water outlets are further provided around a perimeter of the platform, the water outlets ejecting water forming a water curtain as the platform is lifted into the dome.
7. The method of claim 1 wherein at least one of the platform, dome, slides, lift structure, and a pond surrounding the amusement ride are further provided with at least one of lights, sound production equipment, mechanical figures, water hoses, water outlets, and animation media to produce a show in accordance with a theme during at least one of the steps of the method.
8. A amusement ride for one or more riders comprising:(a) at least one slide having an elevated upper end;(b) a rotatable platform, the platform containing at least one bay for containing at least one rider, the bay having a tiltable floor with an inside end and an outside end;(c) a lift secured to an underside of the rotatable platform, the lift elevating and lowering the rotatable platform;(d) the platform is elevated by the lift and rotates the at least one bay into alignment with the upper end of the at least one slide;(e) the floor of the bay is tilted such that the outside end of the floor is lower than the inside end of the floor;wherein the at least one rider enters the upper end of the at least one slide.
9. The amusement ride of claim 8 wherein the platform is rotated in at least two alternating clockwise and counterclockwise directions before the at least one bay is aligned with the at least one slide.
10. The amusement ride of claim 8 wherein the platform is rotated randomly in clockwise and counterclockwise directions before the at least one bay is aligned with the at least one slide.
11. The amusement ride of claim 8 having at least two bays and at least two slides, and the platform is sequentially rotated to align one of the at least two bays with a selected one of the at least two slides and, thereafter align another of the at least two bays with a selected one of the at least two slides.
12. The amusement ride of claim 11 wherein the at least one of the at least two bays is aligned in a random sequence with one of the at least two slides.
13. The amusement ride of claim 8 wherein water outlets are further provided around a perimeter of the platform, the water outlets ejecting water forming a water curtain as the platform is lifted into the dome.
14. The amusement ride of claim 8 further having a housing secured to one of an upper side of the platform or an upper end of a vertical support structure.
15. The amusement ride of claim 14 wherein at least one of the platform, housing, slides, lift structure, and a pond surrounding the amusement ride are further provided with at least one of lights, sound production equipment, mechanical figures, water hoses, water outlets, and animation media to produce a show in accordance with a theme during at least one of the steps of the method.
16. The amusement ride of claim 14 wherein the housing is secured to the upper end of the support structure and the lift raises the platform up into the housing.
17. The amusement ride of claim 14 wherein the housing is secured to the upper side of the platform and the lift raises the platform and housing such that the bays are alignable with the upper end of the at least one slide.
18. The amusement ride of claim 8 wherein the at least one bay contains a raft to contain the at least one rider.
This application claims benefit to provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/949,047, filed Jul. 11, 2007, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The field of the invention is a water slide and water park ride for use in amusement parks.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The water park industry is in the most prolific growth mode this market has ever experienced. The development of water parks as a major guest feature at hotels, resorts and retail facilities, as well as the ongoing new construction of mega outdoor water parks, continues to fuel the exponential growth of this industry. Due to the proliferation of indoor facilities and opportunities to keep water parks open year round and well past daylight hours, an iconic and completely immersive attraction is needed in the water park industry.
Water parks are becoming commonplace. Differentiation between facilities and their respective experiences is becoming harder for guests to perceive. Most water parks have a "lazy river", as well as numerous speed slides, slide tubes and water play structures. As with the theme park industry, guests are becoming accustomed to such attractions. There is, thus, a need for a water park attraction that can be operated day and night and engage guests with not only a slide or ride, but also entertain the guests with audio and visual effects, such that they become engaged in an "event" as well as a ride or slide into water.
Guests have become accustomed to waiting in lines for opportunities to slide down a tube or play structure, and there is a need for a water ride attraction that not only engages the guests in an event or show, but also transports them in an entertaining and engaging way into the ride itself, thus making the entrance to the slide or ride a part of the event experience.
Prior art systems do not contain events that can be sequenced unexpectedly or randomly. There is thus a need to be able to sequence the events in the water ride attraction so that the event may be both themed, like a story or connected series of events, and, yet, contain unexpected or random actions that permit the ride or attraction to be unique each time a rider participates, thus making participation new to the guest each time the guest participates in the ride.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION
The inventive water ride provides a dramatic iconic structure, along with sounds, visual effects, and moving water. The ride includes a theme, here an alien abduction theme. The guests float in a pond or pool water on rafts before entering the ride itself. The ride superstructure, an alien spacecraft-like structure, may include themed tentacles or water hoses that spay or shoot jets of water at the guests as part of an abduction or alien attack theme. The guests may then enter a channel of water that leads to the ride proper. The channel of water directs or provides a path for the rafts to a platform that contains slots or bays for individual rafts. Upon entry of the raft into a slot or bay, the platform is propelled upward to a dome or housing. Upon reaching the dome, the platform bays tilt downward at one end, causing the rafts to slide into winding tubes or slides, down the inside of the tubes, and back into the water pool from which the guests and rafts initially entered the ride. In the alternative, riders may be loaded into rafts or other conveyances located around the periphery of the platform at ground level.
In most water ride attractions using water slides or tunnels as an element, guests must walk up flights of steps or steep pathways to the elevated ride entry point. In the invention, there is no need for climbing or walking, because the lift raises the rafts and guests into the dome. Moreover, visual and audio effects entertain the guests as they are lifted into the dome.
The disclosed structures elevate the guests into the ride entry station on a large-scale, themed platform resting atop a lift structure. The entry station or dome itself is creatively themed as a large alien spacecraft, supposedly sent to Earth to collect and examine human specimens.
The platform has radially arranged bays with tiltable floors to contain the rafts. The platform may be designed to accept one, two, or three or more person rafts, with the platform diameter reflecting this choice. Conveyances other than rafts may, similarly, hold one or more persons.
As noted above, the platform features distinct radial bays for each raft, with the orientation of the bays such that the guests are facing outward, toward the circumference of the platform. Floors of the bays are sloped toward the center of the platform, to keep the rafts in a safe position as the platform rises. Additional safety elements may include a retractable railing around the platform and sensors to detect any guest's egress from a raft during platform operation.
Once the guests have been loaded into the rafts or conveyances and all safeties are satisfied, a hydraulic lift slowly and smoothly elevates the platform vertically into the interior of the dome or "alien spacecraft".
When the vertical travel has ceased, the platform rotates, bringing each of the bays in turn into alignment with one of several exit water tunnels or slides. When the bay is aligned properly, a mechanism within the platform elevates or tilts the rear portion of the raft bay, changing its center-sloping orientation into an outward slope, and causing the raft to slip smoothly from its bay and into a selected tunnel or slide. Of course, more than one raft or conveyance may be ejected into multiple slides approximately simultaneously.
The lift may function by means of a large hydraulic cylinder (or group of cylinders), by means of an arrangement of roller chains or cables, or the electrically operated winch system disclosed. The lift system would be contained inside a telescoping housing, with enough space to allow festooning of the platform mechanical and electrical services, as well as for any required safety braking devices. All aspects of the attraction are accompanied by music, light displays, shows, and alien-themed sounds and pictures. The lift itself may be bounded by a curtain of water. The lights allow the ride to be operated day or night. The themed event, accompanied by music, light displays, shows, sounds and pictures make the event unitary, engaging the guests throughout and reducing or eliminating waits in lines and other less engaging or boring delays.
DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an amusement ride of the invention showing a dome, a lift, slide tubes, water ejectors, and a schematic lake, inlet, and channel for entry into the ride;
FIG. 2 is a side plan view of a lift structure and lift platform of the invention showing the lift platform in a raised position;
FIG. 3 is a partial perspective view of the lift platform showing chute-like bays containing rafts;
FIG. 4 is a side plan view of the chute-like bay of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the lift platform showing the position and location of the bays; and
FIG. 6 is a top plan view of lift platform showing the rafts in the bays and schematically showing locations at which the rafts are ejected in the slide tube; perspective view of the waterslide and water ride.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION
FIG. 1 shows an exemplary water ride structure 1 fashioned as an alien spacecraft. The structure comprises an elevated housing or dome 10 having an interior space, water slide tubes 20 forming interior spaces 22 (See FIG. 4), a lift 30, a platform 33, and water hoses 35. The structure is supported on an island 40 in a pond or pool 50 (shown schematically). An inlet 60 of a water channel 70 (both shown schematically) may be used to convey rafts 80 (See FIG. 3) to the lift 30.
Although the ride structure 1 shown is constructed to look like a fanciful alien spacecraft to enable an alien abduction theme--i.e., abduction into an alien spacecraft--other themes may be used instead of the alien abduction theme. For example, the structure could use other themes such as a ride to a Mayan mountain top village, a magic tree house, or the moon. Moreover, although this amusement is here described as a water park ride, it can be adapted for use in an amusement park without water as well.
The water ride 1 starts a group of guests or riders with a "pre-show" experience where the water hoses 35 eject water at or onto the guests while they are in the pool 50, inlet 60, or channel 70. (See FIG. 1) The riders are permitted to observe other guests being "abducted" into an alien space craft or dome 10. Guests may approach the ride in the rafts 80, via the inlet 60, if the ride is associated with or built in or along side of the water pool 50. If the ride is not associated with water, or is only partly associated with water, it may not be possible to use the rafts 80. In this case, a conveyance other than a raft may be used to contain and move the guests through the ride. If the amusement system is built on land without the accompanying pool 50, the riders may simply approach the platform 33 in some other manner, such as walking, climbing, or riding in wheeled conveyances. The attraction may also begin with riders loaded into the rafts 80 and on the platform 33.
When inside the housing or dome 10, the riders or guests may be scanned and/or approached by animated projections or mechanical embodiments of alien figures as the load platform 33 alternatively spins or rotates clockwise or counterclockwise. Working together, projections, lighting effects, mechanical systems, sound effects and scenic treatments are designed to give each guest an "abduction" theme experience.
As shown in FIGS. 3, 5, and 6, the platform 33 has individual bays 90 to contain the rafts 80. The rafts 80 may be of various sizes so as to accommodate one or more riders. The bays 80 and their operation are described in more detail below.
Ride operators may be stationed in a remote control room and observe and communicate with riders via cameras and microphones. Alternatively, ride operators may be stationed on a central platform in the dome 10. The operators make sure riders are secure and that guard rails 100 (See FIGS. 2 and 4) have elevated to insure that the riders remain in the rafts 80 and on the platform 33.
Once all guests are secured in the rafts 80, the platform is elevated in a cloud of mechanically generated water vapor or fog. Mechanical sounds emanate from speakers in the dome 10, and a water curtain may fall from the edge of the platform 33, making it appear as though water is levitating the platform 33. As the platform continues to rise and nears the elevated dome 10, lighting effects, blasts of fog, and visuals in the interior of the housing or dome 10 are used to attract the attention of and entertain the guests. Lighting effects, fanciful mechanical projections, and animated alien figures or forms emanating from a ceiling or circumference of the dome 10 are used to make it appear that various alien forms or creatures are observing and/or selecting guests for abduction.
After the platform 33 has entered the dome 10, the platform 33 stops rising and begins to rotate. After a period of rotation, accompanied by visual and mechanical distractions or effects such as those described above, the platform 10 ceases rotating. When the platform stops spinning, one or more of the bays 90 are registered with the water slide tubes 20, and floors 120 of the bays 90 are tilted to cause one or more of the rafts 80 to slide into the interior spaces 22 of the tubes 20. The platform 33 may rotate again in the same or opposite direction and register with another of the bays 90, whereupon the floor 120 of the bay 90 is tilted, causing another of the rafts 80 to slide into the interior space 22 of one of the tubes 20. Additional spins or rotations of the platform 10 may be used to register additional bays 90 with slide tubes 20 and launch the remainder of the rafts 80 into one of the slide tubes 20. (See FIG. 6)
Alternatively, the dome 10 may be constructed on the platform 33 itself, simulating the abduction of the riders at ground level and permitting various lighting, sound, and animated effects during the rising of the dome 10 to the top of the slide area, simulating an ejection of riders down from the interior of the housing or dome 10.
The ejection of the rafts 80 and riders may be sequenced in any desired and unexpected order, either by an operator controlling the rotations, alignments, tilting, and slide of the rafts into the slide tubes 20, or by a computer program using either a random or an ordered sequence. Of course, the sequencing may also be accomplished by a combination of operator or computer control.
After all of the rafts 80, or other conveyances, have been launched into the tubes 20 by the tilting of the respective floors 120 of the bays 90, the platform 33 is lowered so that more rafts 80 may be moved into the bays 90 of the platform 33 and the cycle is repeated.
The bays 90 may be simple openings in the platform 33 with one end of the floors 120 hinged or levered at an inside end so that the outside radial end of the floor 120 may be lowered or tilted to cause the rafts 80 to slide downward into a registered tube 20. Of course, the inside end of the floor 120 could also be raised on a piston-like structure or other type of lift so that the inside end is above the outside end, thus tilting the floor 120 and causing the raft 80 to slide downward into the tube slide 20.
Preferably, the bays 90 may house chute-like structures 130 having a bottom 140 and opposing sides 150 to house the rafts 80, as shown in FIG. 4. The chute structure 130 thus contains the raft 80 and may be shaped or molded such that the inside cross-section of the chute 130 is more square or rectangular, but changes to a circular cross-section at the outside so as to conform to a circular shape of the slide tubes 20. In the chute structure 130, the inside end of the chute 130 is hinged or contains an axle, pivot, or other structure permitting the outside end of the chute 130 to be lowered to align with the slide 20 and, at the same time, slope downward so that the raft 80 may move downward to the opening of the slide 20. See FIG. 4. It may also be desirable to have the floors 120 or the chutes 130 initially slope slightly toward the center of the platform 33 to prevent the rafts 80 or riders from inadvertently sliding or moving prematurely toward the slide tubes 20.
It is anticipated that water may be used to reduce the friction between the bottom of the raft 80 and the floor of the chute 130 and hasten the movement of the raft 80 into the slide 20; water may also be used in the slide interior 22 to expedite the movement of the raft 80 down the slide 20. Nevertheless, the use of suitable raft and/or slide materials, or a steep enough slope to the slide 20, may make the use of water unnecessary.
As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, the bays 90 are arranged and aligned radially around the platform 33 to permit the platform 33 to be rotated in counterclockwise and/or clockwise directions and register the bays 90 with the slide tubes 20.
The rafts may be of any size that can be accommodated by the bays 90, chutes 130, and platform 33, and, of course, the platform may be made with different radii to accommodate greater or fewer bays 90 and rafts 80. It is anticipated the rafts may hold at least one rider, but may be sized to accommodate groups of more than one rider consistent with the overall size of the platform 33 and the rafts 80. The rafts 80 could also be eliminated, allowing riders to sit in the bay 90 itself and slide down the slide tubes 20 without rafts 80.
The platform 33 is rotatingly secured to the top of a lift structure 160 so that the platform 33 may be rotated via motor driven gearing, or some other suitable means, in alternative clockwise or counterclockwise directions. The platform 33 is also equipped with guard rails 100 that may be either stationary or raised or lowered. The guard rails 100 prevent riders from accidentally exiting or falling from the platform 33. The platform 33 is also secured to the lift structure by members 162 secured to counterweights 164 which move along or around structural supports 165 to support the platform 33.
The lift structure 160 may be a hydraulic cylinder or, in a preferred embodiment, electrically operated with a winch 170 and cables 180. In the electrically operated lift structure the winch 170 is electrically activated. As best shown in FIG. 2, the winch 170 is turned so as to wind or move cables 180 around the winch 170. The cables 180 are further wound around wheels 190 to change the direction of their movement. As the cables 180 are wound around the winch 170, the extended length of the cables 180 is reduced, causing the cables 180 to pull the platform 33 upward and into the interior space of the dome or housing 10. As the cables 180 are unwound, the platform 33 is lowered downward from the dome 10 to ground level. The platform 33 may be rotated as it ascends to the interior of the dome 10, as well as when it is inside of the dome 10.
The lifting, lowering, and rotation of the platform 33, the tilting of the floors 120 or chutes 130 of the bays 90, the sequencing of the tilting of the floors 120 or chutes 130, and the lighting, visual lighting displays, mechanical figures, water spays and jets, and sounds used in the attraction may be automated via use of a computer program that starts and stops such actions. These actions may also be manually initiated by the operator or controlled by a combination of computer programs and manual operator control.
Each slide tube 20 may contain lighting effects and a multitude of projected images so that guests will slide though images of fanciful alien creatures with gaping mouths, pulsing walls, or alien-like symbols, all while alien sounds echo through the slide tubes 20. Since much of the imagery is randomly produced using digital media, each slide tube 20 will provide a different and changing guest experience such that no two rides are the same.
Guests exit the slide tubes 20 in a rush of generated water vapor or fog, lights, and sound. At the conclusion of the slide down the tubes 20, the riders and their rafts land in the pool 50 or other body of water. The pools 50 may contain additional effects such as bubbling, color change, waves, or water pulsations.
The area surrounding the lift structure 160 may feature fog/steam/smoke effects, used in conjunction with up-lighting from high brightness beam fixtures in a lift pit and down-lighting instruments on the lift platform 33, to add additional visual "kick" to the experience.
Obviously, there are many other options for themes, lighting, and effects that may be used to magnify the experience of the invention.
Although the ride described above is designated as a water ride, it is understood that the rafts could be cars, gondolas, or other conveyances movable on tracks or wheels that move down sloped ramps or tubes to a cushioned landing or other stopping area.
Patent applications in class Water slide
Patent applications in all subclasses Water slide