The ‘Sum of All Thrills’ simulator ride at Epcot uses robot-arm technology that Universal Orlando is also believed to be using for a new Harry Potter ride.
Walt Disney World in Orlando unveiled its newest attraction Wednesday, October 14th – a small but significant addition featuring first-of-its-kind simulators. The KUKA RoboSim 4-D Simulator, a giant robotic arm, powers the riders’ experience, in which guests use math and science principles to design their own virtual thrill ride, and then ride the simulator.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Disney attraction, underwritten by defense contractor Raytheon Co., features robotic arms that that loft riders through the air. The arms have several advantages. Unlike conventional linear rides, for instance, the robot arms in the ‘Sum of All Thrills’ can move in multiple directions at once because they rotate on six different axes. They have also been programmed with more sophisticated animation software.
It is the first attraction at any of Orlando’s theme parks to use such a ride system. But it is likely to have company soon. The ‘Sum of All Thrills’ at Epcot offers a glimpse of what to expect in an even bigger attraction being built at Universal Orlando as part of that resort’s highly anticipated Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Universal is widely thought to be using robot arms for ‘The Forbidden Journey of Harry Potter’, the centerpiece attraction in its $200-plus million Wizarding World project inside Islands of Adventure. While Universal has kept most details of the ride secret so far, construction documents show that the resort is working with a company that builds ride systems based on KUKA arms.
Disney’s ‘Sum of All Thrills’ is by no means identical to Universal’s ‘Forbidden Journey’. The Harry Potter attraction, which will be housed in a 15-story replica of Hogwarts Castle, will be a much larger, more lavish experience. Universal’s ride is also expected to be a type of “robocoaster,” in which the robot arms advance along a track even as they swivel riders in various directions. The bases of the robot arms in the ‘Sum of All Thrills’ are fixed in place.
The Wizaring World is scheduled to open sometime in the spring.
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