Behind Disney’s Famous Omnimover Ride System
The grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize. Marlin and Dory race through depths of the ocean in search of Nemo. Buzz Lightyear instructs Space Ranger wannabees through rigorous training. I would never deem these attractions ‘similar’ in any way shape or form, but they’ve got something in common only the keenest of Disney fans will catch. Why does the omnimover ride system deserve a feature? Read on to find out!
Roger E. Broggie
Three distinctly and incomparable attractions by trade feature a ride system that was now-famously invented by The Walt Disney Company. Back when Disneyland was just a series of sketches, one of the first problems tackled was: how do we move hundreds to thousands of guests per day through an attraction with minimal back-ups.
Credited as one of “the first Imagineers”, Broggie was the brainchild behind the now-famous, Disney-created omnimover ride system. He developed a ride system that connects individual passenger cars by a chain beneath the floor. Broggie was faced with the challenge of not only creating a system that would move guests, but one that would also succeed in controlling where they looked…
We’ve all ridden the Haunted Mansion, right? The Doombuggies that transport you through the mansion’s story is the first attraction to feature the omnimover system that remains in operation today! When you embark on your tour of the Mansion, you will notice that your Doombuggie rotates to reveal ghoulish scenes as you approach them.
In my opinion the omnimover system’s greatest and most genius feature is its built-in ability to control guests’ sightlines. Next time you ride The Haunted Mansion or Journey Under the Sea (at Walt Disney World or Disneyland), notice how your vehicle not only moves forward, but rotates too! You don’t spot Ursula and her massive crystal ball before you’re meant to. Oh, and those ghouls in the graveyard scene of Haunted Mansion? They don’t start to move until your vehicle rotates to face them…but thanks to the omnimover system, a guest will never know!
The omnimover system proved massively successful for Disneyland and, since the flawless idea worked both on paper and in-action, has been recycled and reused for countless attractions. You might not realize it, but if you’ve visited any Disney Park, chances are pretty good you’ve experienced the omnimover! Here are the beloved Disney attractions that feature the system:
- Haunted Mansion
- Buzz Lightyear attractions
- The Little Mermaid attractions
- Spaceship Earth
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover
The now-extinct Adventure Thru Inner Space (Disneyland) was the first attraction to utilize the omnimover system…and it is far from the last! Walt Disney and his original team of Imagineers created some of the world’s best and progressive technology of their time. Well, of any time! Now, over 60 years later, the original omnimover system conception has been used in many attractions. To this day it’s called upon to haul guests through state-of-the-art attractions.
The Haunted Mansion (1969) and Journey Under the Sea (2012) opened 43 years apart. Since the 60’s we’ve seen huge upgrades to audio-animatronics, lighting effects, and sound systems in Disney Parks attractions…but one thing remains too consistent and too fool-proof to change: the omnimover ride system! Passing a nearly 60-year time-test, the omnimover, like Mickey Mouse himself, is a true original.
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