Disney Parks and Resorts are renowned for their immersive experiences. Whether Guests are riding iconic attractions that have impressed for years or setting off to experience something entirely new, they can expect to be immersed in whatever storyline is being portrayed.
Of course, making such immersive experiences takes a lot of creativity and expertise from Walt Disney Imagineering. Many classic Disney attractions come to life in the form of detailed sets and Audio-Animatronics that are used to tell the story as Guests move through each scene. Other attractions, however, must rely on screens and projection mapping (or some combination of the two styles.)
While some Disney fans loathe screens and projections and simply prefer the old-fashioned design strategies on theme park rides, there is no disagreement that some of the most popular Disney attractions in recent years use screens to make the magic happen (like Avatar – Flight of Passage and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway to name a few.)
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The problem with screen-based attractions is that when there is an issue with a projection, the entire ride experience can be ruined. (Of course, we ideally want every part of a Disney attraction to always be show-ready for Guests, but there is a big difference between slowed or paused Animatronic movements and a blank screen when the entire attraction is essentially, well, a screen.)
Over the past couple of months, Guests have spotted screen-based malfunctions on rides like Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disneyland Park and Journey Into Imagination With Figment in EPCOT. Unfortunately, it seems another popular attraction has experienced another Windows-related error, leaving Guests scratching their head during an odd ride-through of Soarin’ Over California.
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Soarin’ Over California at Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland (and its counterpart Soarin’ Around the World in EPCOT) take Guests on a hang-gliding journey where aside from subtle movements of the ride vehicle, the experience is entirely screen-based.
The massive, rounded screen, combined with effects like various scents and breezes, all work to create an immersive hang-glided experience right at these Disney Parks. But what happens when the computer controlling the attraction reboots mid-ride? @malawijay recently found out and shared a video of the unique Soarin’ experience to TikTok:
Today at Disney California Adventure, Soarin’ decides to reboot halfway rhough the ride! It was so funny. They habe us anytime LLs and a great atory to share. #Disney #Disneyland #DLR #DCA #DisneylandResort #DisneyCaliforniaAdventure #Microsoft #Windows
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Guests who experienced this ride on Soarin’ Over California were given Lightning Lane access to an attraction in the Park, to either re-ride Soarin’ once the issue had been fixed or visit another ride without a wait in line. While Disney Cast Members were quick to provide Guest Service recovery in this instance (and other recent screen-related issues), some fans can’t help but wonder if screens are becoming a problem.
Of course, any style of a theme park attraction can experience downtime, but we have seen many screen-based issues come up in recent years (and in recent months, a strange amount of Windows operating errors.) When a simple computer error can cause total downtime at an attraction, fans begin to speculate whether using screens in the first place is the next idea.
We are not ride designers here at Disney Tips, and where most of the screen-related issues have been spotted on Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway in Disneyland, we are hopeful that it was just a couple of bugs being worked out on the Park’s newest ride. Still, we will continue to keep you updated on similar incidents at Disney Parks.