The Omnimover is an amusement ride system used for Disney theme park attractions, similar to Henry Ford's industrial line. The term was coined by Imagineer Bob Gurr and is a portmanteau of OmniRange and PeopleMover.
The Omnimover system consists of a chain of vehicles operating on a track, usually hidden beneath the floor. The chain of vehicles maintains constant motion at a specific speed throughout the entire course of the attraction. To facilitate boarding and disembarking from the vehicles, a conveyor belt moving at almost the same speed as the ride vehicles parallels the track at the loading and unloading areas. Passengers step from the moving belt into the vehicle or vice versa.
One of the defining features that differentiates this system from other ride systems is the ability of the vehicle to rotate to a predetermined orientation. Aside from the rails the vehicle rides on, the Omnimover system has two control rails that are connected to the vehicle via arms attached to a wheel that follows one of the control rails. One control rail controls the swivel of the vehicle, allowing the vehicle to be pointed to a specific direction at a specified location on the track. The other control rail adjusts the tilt of the vehicle allowing it to stay level even as the main track ascends or descends inclines.
The Omnimover system was created by Roger E. Broggie and Bert Brundage to provide a ride system capable of giving passengers a motion picture type experience in which the attraction designers control the line of sight of the riders. This concept also allows the designers to be able to place infrastructure elements of the attraction, such as lighting and projectors, behind the vehicles without concern for having the illusions of the attraction revealed to the riders.
Attractions that use (or used) the Omnimover system are:
- Adventure Thru Inner Space at Disneyland, (1967-1985)
- Haunted Mansion at Disneyland (later at other parks), (1969-present)
- If You Had Wings at the Magic Kingdom, (1972-1986)
- Spaceship Earth at Epcot, (1982-present)
- World of Motion at Epcot, (1982-1996)
- Delta Dreamflight at the Magic Kingdom, (1987-1996)
- The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure at Disney California Adventure (2011-present)
The following attractions use (or used) the Omnimover system, but not to its fullest extent.
- Horizons at Epcot (1982-1999)
- Journey Into Imagination at Epcot (1982-1998) uses multiple individual trains of Omnimover-like cars. While the cars do rotate, they come to a full stop for loading and unloading of guests. The first incarnation of the attraction (1982-1998) could actually be considered a PeopleMover as guests boarded their vehicles on a continuous, slow moving belt and later on the cars themselves would break off into "trains", only to link back to the continuous chain at the end of the ride.
- The Living Seas (1986-2006) featured a short "sea-cab" trip that traveled through a tunnel into the pavilion's main aquarium. The attraction was renovated in 2006 into The Seas with Nemo & Friends, with an extended opening ride-through portion utilizing "clam-mobiles." Although they look like omnimovers, these vehicles do not tilt or rotate away from parallel to the track. This is due to the lack of space below the track for the mechanics and space in the ride area to put anything "behind" the vehicles for them to turn around to face.
The following three attractions use the Omnimover system, but also allow the passengers to determine the swivel of the vehicle within a predetermined range during certain portions of the attraction.
- Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin at the Magic Kingdom, (1998-current)
- Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters at Tokyo Disneyland (later other parks), (2004 - current)
- Buzz Lightyear's Laser Blast at Disneyland Resort Paris, (2006-current)
- Amusement Ride System - Patent #3,554,130. US Patent & Trademark Office. Retrieved on November 16, 2005.
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