The Anna and Kristoff animatronics are completely electric, no longer using pneumatics or hyrdaulics (source: www.themeparktrader.com)
You’re reading this article, so you’re probably a big Frozen fan.
If that’s true, you should keep reading.
Disney recently launched the Frozen Ever After ride at the Epcot park. It’s a boat ride through the kingdom of Arendelle. This ride is pushing the boundaries of theme park ride technology, including one of the most lifelike Audio-Animatronics in the world.
To explore how this mind-blowing ride works, here are some things you probably didn’t know about it.
A High-Tech Robotic Character
When you see an Audio-Animatronics on one of Disney’s rides, you would’ve been looking at a robot using pneumatics or hydraulics to move its different parts. In this new ride, Disney unleashed its first electric Audio-Animatronics. Apparently, this is supposed to allow for more lifelike movement and less robotic jerkiness.
Wyatt Winter, the ride’s project manager and producer, told Forbes that this will enhance the guests’ experience.
“We really wanted guests to connect with the characters and feel like they went to Elsa’s ice palace or the frozen willow forest,” Winter says. “It’s little things like the way Elsa crosses her arms so they are always brought together to the same place every time. This could not have been done with hydraulics.”
The Ride Designers and the Animators of the Movie Worked Together
Kids notice little things. And you better know that if one of these robots doesn’t move like its corresponding movie character, it’ll stick out like a sore thumb to them.
That’s why the designers of the ride and the animators of the movie worked closely together to ensure they got everything exactly the way they wanted. Winter says each robot in the ride has its own specific way of moving.
“Starting from the script and the emotions we wanted to portray, we really worked down to what the essence of that movement was,” Winter says. “From there, we started to act it out and think: ‘Do you need a hip movement?’, ‘Do you need a shoulder movement?’, ‘Do you need a head tuck?’”
The Frozen Ride References the Previous Ride
A view from inside Maelstrom, the ride that existing before Frozen Ever After took its place (source: Theme Park Tourist)
Frozen Ever After stands on the same site as the Maelstrom boat ride, which ran from 1988 to 2014. But it’s not completely gone — the Frozen ride makes a bunch of references to Maelstrom.
For example, the ride uses the same boats and track structure. At least one person that worked on Maelstrom works on Frozen Ever After. Winter says to watch for the castle finale scene and its queue area for more Maelstrom antiques.
Olaf Is the Most (Technically) Complicated Character
Fitting all of that technology into such a small character is, obviously, not so easy.
“Olaf is a small guy, so trying to package everything in him became a real manufacturing and packaging exercise,” Winter says.