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Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey - Universal Studios

Discussion in 'How do they do that?' started by MattyMitch, Aug 8, 2016.

  1. MattyMitch

    MattyMitch Member

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    Hi again,

    I was hoping some of you could answer, yet again, my questions.
    My first question starts at load. When they check the seatbelt's there is a few buttons in a column at the left and right of the seats. One flashes white and I assume that means unchecked. Then one of the TM's check the restraints and press the green button at the top. I can see a couple more buttons so what do they do? Are they controls for the station? I have attatched a photo where you can see the white light and the green light.

    My second question is, the benches seem very close together. So how do they space it out during the ride? I think the films are much longer than the gaps between the benches. My guess is that the movie domes move along with the car and they do a rotation? That is the only way I can think of how it works.

    Thirdly, I do not know if anybody would know this, but where do the wheelchair access benches come out? My brother was in a wheelchair due to an ankle injury and he went to a secondary station, he thinks it was behind the main station. He said the bench was not moving and he got buckled in and they flipped over and went in to the main loop. So I have a couple questions for this. Firstly, where does the car flip over? Secondly, how do they make space for it? Is there a main computer like in ToT that just introduces them at the right time and slows other cars down to make space?

    Also interested in anything else cool you know about the ride :)

    Thanks
     

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  2. raven

    raven Well-Known Member

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    The only time I have ridden Forbidden Journey is from the wheelchair access point. It is a separate station where the vehicle stops so the riders can transfer onto it. Then they are added in the rotation of the rest of the ride.

    As for the screens, they do not move; however, they have a few of them and different vehicles are experiencing different parts of the same area at the same time. When one car is programmed to go to a screen, another car might be programmed to go to another screen or do something different then they switch.
     
  3. Tom

    Tom Tom

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    Each ride vehicle is completely independent. They will bunch together at load to look like a continuous train, but think of them more like Peter Pan or TTA. At load, they're nestled together, but it's really individual vehicles (or benches).

    I'm sure those lights are safety check indicators.

    Edited to remove incorrect statement.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
  4. Disneyhead'71

    Disneyhead'71 Well-Known Member

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    The screens are on a carousel and the track for the ride vehicles goes around it. The benches enter the screens and the ride vehicles travel in sync with the screens as the carousel rotates.
    [​IMG]
    The handicapped load platform is directly behind the regular load platform. And the ride vehicles enter the regular track during the first floo powder scene.
     
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  5. Rob562

    Rob562 Well-Known Member

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    Look for some of the lights-on videos for Forbidden Journey.



    -Rob
     
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  6. MattyMitch

    MattyMitch Member Original Poster

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    I thought so!

    Do you know if the rest of the ride stops to allow proper spacing between benches?

    I can link you the video, skip to 21:09 minutes in. You can see the TM appears just to push a button. Maybe confirming that the bench is ready for dispatch? However, it appears the TM simply puts her palm on the top of the status lights, might just be the angle she may just be pressing the button. Maybe their is buttons to stop the car since the TM can't get to the control panel (if there is one) quickly enough. I'd imagine there would be a status light for 'pending' 'dispatch ready' 'restraint unlocked', there could be a station stop, I do not know.
     
  7. raven

    raven Well-Known Member

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    I believe there is a certain place and time for a handicap ride vehicle to enter the flow of other vehicles. We waited quite a while for the handicap vehicle to pull into the load area then once we were dispatched it took a few minutes before it took off and jumped in with the others.
     
  8. MattyMitch

    MattyMitch Member Original Poster

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    Ah I see! That makes sense.
     
  9. Spideyfreak110

    Spideyfreak110 Member

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    Going along with this... there are actually no buttons on the benches. The top four corners of each bench have an RFID sensor in them. The operator that checks your restraint has an RFID tag in their hand. When they check the restraints they "tag" the vehicle on the front right corner to clear it. When it gets to the end of the load belt, it will go into the ride. If it isn't tagged by the end of the belt, the entire ride will "Show Stop," stopping everything within one second. If for some reason the guest had difficulty getting on in the primary station, the operator can tag the vehicle on the back right side. When it gets to the last scene it will go to secondary load instead of the load belt.
     
  10. MattyMitch

    MattyMitch Member Original Poster

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    Hi guys,
    I have found a photo of what the lights are on the benches. You can clearly see the green dispatch light, a red one (I assume station stop/unchecked), a blue (Maybe indicates that it will go to the second unload/load station?) and the white 'pending' light.
     

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  11. MattyMitch

    MattyMitch Member Original Poster

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    Does anybody know why the team members are wearing headsets that occasionally flash green? Sorry to bump the thread but I didn't want to start a new one.
     
  12. Spideyfreak110

    Spideyfreak110 Member

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    ^To communicate with each other without screaming or having to leave position to go to a phone.
     
  13. Rui

    Rui New Member

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    There is not station stop button on vehicles... All (most) TMs has a show stop remote control button (called "Remote") on their belt.
     
  14. MattyMitch

    MattyMitch Member Original Poster

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    Hi all,

    Really sorry about bumping this thread again but I was reading TPR's forum and came across a post which was by a member called HTF and he posted about the Forbidden Journey and he had some very valuable information and I'd like the share it.

    Credit/original forum post: http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=35993&start=10210

    How's it going Jack? Gonna try to help you out with a few things here. Dynamic Structures built the ride system for FJ (Forbidden Journey) the RV bases, busbar track system, operating system, and so on. Kuka Robotics supplied the arms that attach to the RV and operate on the system Dynamic Structures put in place. Kuka also supplied the arms that animate the movement of the Dementors and Whomping Willow. Universal Creative wrote the program that Dynamics program controls.

    Gringotts on the other hand is an even larger collaboration of companies including all the ones you listed plus Intamin. Gringotts is not a SFX Coaster from Dynamic Structures. It's an in house creation and executed through a massive collaboration of companies & engineers. Can't really get into Gringotts but trust me it's pretty advanced lol. If your interested I'm gonna and paste part of a write up I did on The Forbidden Journey last year. It includes a break down of an earlier version of the ride. Take care!

    Gather ’round, my friends! It’s time to take another journey with me, a “Forbidden” journey; that is into the past, present, and future of Universals groundbreaking attraction “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey”.

    For those who have been living under a rock for the past 4 years, the Forbidden Journey is a radical departure from your average dark ride. It utilizes a Kuka G2 Robocoaster RV System (a first of its kind) in partnership with a Dynamic Structures ride control system. The end result is a ride vehicle that is capable of 4 degrees of motion on a moving track, with a control system that would allow the RV to navigate passengers safely around obstructions and other motion-based control systems.

    The most challenging aspect of the entire project was getting the RV to sync with other motion based ride systems. Most theme park attractions are synchronized with show systems of audio, visuals, and CGI; meaning the processes are managed in linear time measurements, such as “Frames per Second”. The G2 Robocoaster system found here however, are motion-based on “circle-to-point” motion patterns, meaning the automation for the ride had to be created so that it was not only time based, but also motion based. This challenge alone led to many changes in the actual attraction, which leads to here to this article.

    This is a lot of info to share, so I’ll try to break it down by category to keep things in order and in the proper category. I also want to thank the several Bothans who died to bring me this intelligence.

    History:

    The Robocoaster system was first developed in the year 2000 (Conan fans rejoice!) with the first ten sold to Legoland in December 2001. In 2006, Universal approached Dynamic Structures and Robocoaster Ltd with interest of building a state-of-the-art attraction based off of the G2 Robocoaster system. Only thing was that Universal had interest in looking at a much bigger ride system package, taking the future attraction to the next level. Dynamic Structures pitched several concepts of what they could do with the system. Universal was so impressed, they signed an exclusive sales and development agreement for 10 years in March of 2007. Once the Potter rights were secured, the concepts began; and what we ended up with, although great, was far from what could have been.

    FJ – Take 47:

    During the initial design phase, the Forbidden Journey went through dozens upon dozens of changes and revisions. Everything from 3-D to the absence of screens were pitched by Universal Creative. To be honest, I write this article in fear that people might think I’m knocking the “Tour de Force” attraction and its creators; or give the pixie snorters a reason to complain about the attraction. Fact is, Journey’s budget was heavily slashed – and I mean heavily - slashed to the point where if I told you how much was actually spent (or in this case not spent) on the physical sets, you’d never believe me.

    However, if we didn’t get those cuts, we wouldn’t have the Hogsmeade and Hogwarts Castle the way they are today. The massive budget shifted to the themeing of the land, and where the money was to be made. I can’t blame them for that. If the Wizarding World didn’t turn out the way it did, would we have all this expansion to drool over?

    I truly respect the designers and engineers of Journey, what they were able to accomplish with the budget they were given is nothing short of amazing.

    Tonight for the first time, I’m going to talk about a Forbidden Journey with a much larger budget. A Forbidden Journey that was pitched before the carousel domes were created and deemed a successful solution to large physical set costs…..

    Ladies and Gentlemen, V. 2.1:

    Upon passing through the elaborate queue, you pass the Sorting Hat on your way into the Room of Requirement. You load into your 4-passenger RV and begin the 50-second load process. Things look just like you’re accustomed to, but as the RV reaches the end of the belt and the Floo powder whisks us away, you begin to notice everything is different.

    After the floo powder projections, you end up within the castle interior; glancing at passing faux hallways, set pieces, and more talking portraits. While in the castle interior, you’d encounter Nearly-Headless Nick on the ride path’s right hand side. This projected effect brought the headless character right up to the RV. Immediately after, you would pass a pair of moving staircases on the ride path’s left side, with one giving the effect of a near-miss. As we yank our feet up to avoid a most certain amputation, the RV swings to the right to reveal the RV is about to smash into a solid castle wall. Here, a Pepper’s ghost effect lends to the illusion of us smashing right through the wall, as we find ourselves outside and very much up high in the air.

    After a long sweeping right-turn, we encounter a Chinese Fireball dragon sitting perched atop Hogwarts. As we pass between two castle turrets (with the dragon on our left and his wing just above our heads), the RV swings us right around and nearly crashes into a castle wall. The RV passes by the dragon one more time, with a blast to the face, before we fall through the bridge on our way into the Forbidden Forest. The transition scene here takes us from the castle, through the “dark” forest, then into the Spider scene. Aragog, on the RV’s left and with moving legs, actually lunges slightly towards the RV as numerous spiders hang from the ceiling around you.

    After your encounter with Aragog, your RV swings to the right, almost at an 180-degree turn, to encounter your first Dementor. At this point, the ride time is now at 1:42, and this would offer your one and only look at Lord Voldemort, as a projected effect far away from the RV.

    It was there intention to include Voldemort visually into the attraction but never really within the ride’s storyline. After getting a quick glance at Ol’ Voldy, the RV swings around to reveal you’re about to deal with a Dementor’s kiss. We escape with the help of Harry and find ourselves still within the caverns and upon the Chamber of Secrets. The Basilisk skeleton is on the left with a massive “dark mark” projection straight ahead. As the path continues out of the Chamber of Secrets, we bust through a projected wall and find ourselves outside the castle and on castle grounds. Before we have time to even breathe a sigh of relief, the massive Whomping Willow makes it’s presence known on the RV’s right and goes on the attack. This version of the Willow has 3 moving arms, 2 of which enter the actual RV’s path. Just as we think the final branch is about to hit us, the RV’s drops and swings around to its left to enter into a small empty plot of grass just out of reach of the Whomping Willow.

    As you begin to gather yourselves, the Golden Snitch flies right in front of us and onto the first dome screen. Here, we enter into a Quidditch Match.

    As we exit the dome screen, we enter into another dome screen showcasing a chase for the Snitch between Harry, Malfoy, and us. Before we can grab it, Dementors enter the field and our vehicle exits the dome screen and flies directly under physical bleachers while dodging Dementors. At the end of the bleachers, we reach our final dome screen where we capture the Golden Snitch and Harry says the Patronus charm. The Dementors disappear, and we win the match.

    Upon exiting that final dome screen, we enter back into the castle via the floo powder and disembark the RV the exact same way we do now.

    So there you have it!

    A previous rendition of the one of the greatest dark rides in the world. Pretty crazy to think how many things changed, but its even crazier to think how much things get carried over from pitch-to-pitch and experience multiple changes; whether it be the location of the scene within the ride or even how the effect is executed.

    On the Road to Opening Day:

    Once the carousel domes were finally created and given the thumbs-up, numerous physical sets were eliminated in favor of digital ones; with light themeing to fill in the voids. So while our present day Journey did experience some serious budget cuts, there were still numerous effects that were sure to blow guests away. It’s too bad that many of these effects were either removed or scrapped during the construction; some were even cut as far as into initial testing of the ride. Yes. even our present day FJ isn’t exactly how it was supposed to turn out. There were numerous changes to the final product, all of which would have been a major plus to this amazing attraction.

    The first major effect that was axed during the initial phases was the Dragon actually breathing fire. Yes, this dragon was supposed to be receded back a few feet; and the flame barrier (found by the guys at Parkscope) was indeed supposed to be positioned directly in front of us. The effect was dropped considering it would have to go off every 7 seconds, for up to 18 hours a day (and you thought the Jaws flames were a cost-nightmare). The next effect cut was the giant “Acromantula” with actual moving legs. The effect was to have the body stay stationary, but his legs were supposed to move in guests faces.

    A major effect, and one that our very own Teebin plays near and dear to his heart, is the Whomping Willow. Outside of the cosmetic cuts he has referenced since 2010, the original version was going to have arms that intersected into the actual ride paths. Once this was deemed impossible, it was canned. The actual Willow arms themselves are really 2-axis Kuka Robotic Arms.

    Now what about those Dementors? Well the Dementors had numerous issues and several aspects had to be cut. One of the major aspects that were cut were the Dementors arms. During installation, the equipment wasn’t positioned correctly. When testing began to make sure riders couldn’t touch any effects, the equipment on the RV came into contact with them and damaged each other. So in order to prevent any possibility of a future injury, all Dementor hands were removed.

    Then there is that infamous Dementor attack that is just sitting there idle (and yes, it can be turned back on). The effect itself is a dozen static Dementors that were originally lit up by strobe effects just as the RV slows down for the Dementor’s Kiss. In addition to that, the final two moving Dementors had purple lighting effects that would engage as they approach your vehicle. All of this was abandoned by request of Warner Bros. due to it being “a terrifying experience.”

    While unfortunate many of these scenes were cut, some couldn’t be helped. Even though I really enjoy the current iteration of the attraction, I wonder what could have been if they had left flame barrier as well as the “Dementor Attack” finale.

    Operations:

    Each Ride Vehicle is a custom-made 4-axis KUKA robotic arm sitting on a “transport.” The station is around 160 ft long and the main belt moves roughly 2 ft/sec with the ride vehicles in the station. At both ends of the platform, there are pressure mats underneath the belt that when stepped on will trigger an immediate ride stop that cues lights, and at the dispatch side there is a trip “plate” that when stepped on will disengage the drive motor for the belt and stops the ride until the fault is cleared. The transition belt or the feeder belt is around 15 feet long and moves 1/5 ft/sec with a trip plate and a swing gate that will automatically stop the ride if triggered.

    The Ride Vehicle itself has several states. It either profiles, is in “keyhole” position, or Evac position. A keyhole position is a bench that is locked into a a disabled state and will move around the track, but will not change its axis movements; and upon reaching the station simply passes behind it. A keyhole position is either activated by techs during a significant downtime caused by a fault, when two operators tag a vehicle to disable it or when doing a “station evac”. Evac position is used during a track level evac when Ride Vehicles need to face either the “elevated platform” level behind a carousel, or either side of the track so that stairs can be pushed up to it.

    A ride vehicle can only be disabled by two loaders on a platform, while a ride vehicle can only be enabled from the Ride Control System (RCS). The control booth features two stations: RCS, who is in charge of monitoring load platform cameras for safety situations, as well as the Track Map to give commands to RVs, interact with the ride, and to reset any faults that the ride encounters. The second position is RSS (Ride Show System) which is a surveillance position used to monitor over 50 cameras all throughout the ride track. There is a camera almost at every angle in the ride track. Both stations have the ability to activate individual stops while only RCS can reset. The only time RCS interacts with the ride is during a stop, to send a vehicle to secondary, to enable an RV, or to stop the ride. Everything is automated provided the loaders keep tagging benches.

    During operations, ride operators must always wear a “Handpack” when on the belt, which is wireless communication device that is mostly used for mining or crane applications. The handpack has the ability to trigger a station stop for that station (either primary or secondary). There are a total of 8 handpacks. 6 on the primary platform. 2 on the secondary. Of those 3 are “Primary Handpacks” used to “Enable” the station for a restart. The Load and Unload handpicks must push the Enable button when the ride start spiel is played for the RCS to activate the ride. Secondary must also Enable in order for their station to reset. An operator also interacts with an RV by using a small RFID tag used to give the bench a “seat-selection” or to unlock harnesses. The Seat-Selection given is either Primary, Secondary, Disable, or Disable to Secondary. The last two are tags that require two loaders to activate because it requires two tags used at the same time. The tag spots are the top four corners of a bench.

    The track switches for removing RV’s from the active system or moving them to secondary are the fastest switches in a theme park attraction. They can move in-between ride vehicles in less than 3 seconds. The force applied is enough to sever a limb. There is also a turn-table just before the dispatch (station exit) side of the station that allows vehicles to enter to/from the maintenance bay.

    47 ride vehicles can be online at any time and have “cogs”, or specific number, for a zone they occupy. The dispatch interval is 7 seconds between benches. The max count for an hour is 2056, however that is never reached because of the empty seats caused by guest removals or other reasons. The ride has four modes. Evac. Start-Up. Maintenance. and Auto. Start-Up is used anytime an evac takes place and will keyhole benches, and force them to acquire a cog Number, and cause all the Domes to sync up with ride vehicles. They generally use the amount of disabled RVs to control the wait time and are instructed to try and keep the line within Dumbledore’s office.

    Finally, maintenance takes place every night and during the day. Ride vehicles are frequently disassembled and rebuilt. If a vehicle encounters a serious fault, it usually ends up in keyhole position all day. If it’s REALLY serious or a position error, it generally ends up causing a downtime to remove the vehicle from the show loop into the maintenance bay. Universal does minor maintenance and vehicle inspections in the secondary platform during the day in order to hopefully restore the vehicle to show.

    The Future Journey:

    One thing that is planned for the future is more tweaks to the ride profile, as they nearly have it just where they want it. We should also expect to see more upgrades to lighting, as well as tweaks to avoid the bleeding of light into other scenes.

    I’m also glad to share another upgrade that is currently testing behind the scenes on Journey. It’s a new effect that is being introduced to ride vehicles to minimize the effect of motion sickness, called air bladders. The air bladders that are being built onto the actual benches will blow continuous air into the riders faces to minimize the effects of motion sickness. We should expect a full roll out by Summer 2014.

    The final bit of info I want to share is what’s to come elsewhere. With Hollywood and Osaka both constructing their versions of Journey, many have asked “Will they be clones?”. In a sense, yes, they will be clones; but they may offer unique ride experiences. Hollywood is getting the same Journey as Orlando, with the addition of several of the scenes I listed above. Apparently, Hollywood is aiming to get the flame barrier, Dementor arms, and moving legs on its Spider. I’ve also been told to expect something brand new in their version. As for Japan, we could also see several deleted effects make the cut, but what’s even more interesting is the fact that Japan may be testing a 3-D variation utilizing a new screen technology, but that’s just a rumor.

    I also found this picture (https://purplelv93.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/img_14671.jpg) You can see the ride op holding the RFID tag in the secondary load station. In addition I think, I am not sure, on the left you can see a pilot light(I think?) and a red device. I'm assuming the red device is the handpack HTF was talking about. Its on the shelf under the exit sign if you zoom in.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017

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