Sitting today in my ATMS 120 class, (Hazardous and Severe Weather for all you non-Illini), I came up with the idea of a new ride, Storm Riders. I'll try and divide this up into the concept and composition of the attraction, the varying parts, and possible location.
The idea I came up with was a way Disney could have a ride that deals with dangerous weather. This would not be an "other park" Earthquake-like ride. The purpose of this ride would be to give guests an experience of dangerous weather in an environment in which they would not be at risk. The elements of weather I would like to incorporate involve but are not limited to, blizzards, tornadoes, hurricanes, electrical storms, and severly limited visibility. The ride vehicles would be an enclosed vehicle, similar to that of a genuine storm chaser. (I.E. a vehicle with similar characteristics to the Time Rovers in Dinousaur! but with enclosed truck/SUV/van shells) Before entering the lines, the riders would have to choose which major event they would experience. The main choices would be between Snow and Ice, Wind and Rain, or Tornado Alley. Depending on which the guest chose, would determine what type of experience they were going to have.
If Guest A chose Snow and Ice, they would start off in an area like the Atlantic North-East during winter or up in the mountains. The initial premise of the story would revolve around getting supplies to a ruarl town to brace them for the approaching storm. The radio would constantly be chattering about the upcoming storm, etc. In true Disney fashion, a video screen would be in the ride vehicle establishing a video link back to base and map for your course, which just might fail when the weather gets bad. Going through the drive, the weather changes from a general gray to an overall dark. Soon light snow begins to fall and the wind begins to pick up. As the ride continues, visibilty constantly shrinks until it gets to zero. (Anyone who has ever driven in nasty winter weather will know what I'm talking about) The weather just continues to get worse, with increasing winds and an ever slicker road surface. At some point during the ride, some cleaver Imagineering would give the feeling of sliding all over the road while trying to avoid other obsticles like cars (represented as swerving oncoming headlights) or trees, guardrails, etc. Finally, the vehicle gets to the destination and all is well.
The second choice, Wind and Rain, would be a recreation of the Gulf Hurricanes. The story for this would revolve around a weather crew trying to escape the wrath of a hurricane after staying over to cover the story. The crew would be located inside a large city and attempting an escape. The wind and rain would pick up while the vehicle is making a break for it on the highway. Due to increasing winds, chunks of highway would start to break off. The vehicle would have to try to then manuever in the city, while avoiding falling debris, rising water levels, etc. The ride would come to an end when the vehicle finally manages to "get outta Dodge."
The third choice, Tornado Alley, would deal with the Mid-West and Tornado season. In this adventure, guests would become storm chasers, who need to drop off equipment before a twister to analyze the storm. However, once the vehicle got within sight of the storm, the plan to drop the equipment would be scrapped due to the storm moving to quickly. The end of this would be an all out mad dash running away from the tornado. Hail, roadside debris, and other flying objects would help increase the heart-rates of guests.
This would be a great ride in the Land, but due to limited space, it may have to be relocated elsewhere. My current idea is to rennovate the Wonders of Life pavilion, since it looks like it may never be coming back. This idea is still a concept, but let me know what you guys think. Thanks!