Geek Alert! Toy Story Mania Technical Details

10 Jul

Design News has an indepth article about the technologies behind Toy Story Mania, including various types of network implementations. Here’s a snippet, so you’ll know whether it’s too geeky, not geeky enough, or just right for your tastes:

For vehicles to move through the attraction, the vehicle’s onboard controllers wirelessly communicate their position data over ProfiNet RT to the wayside controller. That central controller then generates a signal, which goes out over a proprietary, hardwired network to the 397 busbar zones on the vehicle steel track. That signal is then transmitted back to the individual ride vehicles through a brush shoe that contacts the busbar Gerstner calls this control out a “go, no-go PWM signal.” It tells individual vehicles whether they have permission to proceed at their programmed speed, whether they should stop or whether they should proceed at a reduced speed.

The game controls likewise have both centralized and onboard elements. A centralized PC-based gaming controller distributes gaming data from each ride vehicle to a bank of computers that run all the gaming software. The massive computer farm for Midway Mania houses more than 150 computers in all, including one Windows XP PC from HP for each of the attraction’s 56 game screens. The on-vehicle controllers handle game information specific to each vehicle, such as the positioning of the shooter and onboard score display.

Hubba!

I also must say that I was impressed by the loading/unloading setup for transferring from wheelchairs or ECVs. There’s a smaller loading area off to the side designed just for this purpose, and the attraction vehicles switch in and out of the area much the same way railroad cars are routed into various lots. A practical and elegant solution to the need that so often can slow down some of the older attractions.

Hat tip: WDW News Today.

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