Dreamer’s Desk Script
Introduction Episode: 00
Hello, and welcome to Dreamer’s Desk, my name is Josh and on this channel my goal is to share some of the imaginative and often crazy ideas that I dream up. Many times, they are for Disney parks but also for Universal and other theme and amusement parks, museums and entertainment venues. Some are big ideas and others are simple enhancements. I try to have a foot in reality but my head up in the blue sky. It is my goal to work in this creative industry but until then, join me as we start drawing on the Dreamer’s Desk.
Episode: 01 – Galaxy’s Edge Expansion
Hello, and welcome to an episode of Dreamer’s Desk, my name is Josh and today I want to share an idea I had for an expansion of Galaxy’s Edge at Disney. For those who may not know, Galaxy’s Edge is the Star Wars immersive land that is at both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. For this idea, I will use Disney’s Hollywood Studios as I think it has an easier chance of being expanded due to available space.
In many of the Disney Imagineering specials you can find, they always talk that you need to be able to explain your attraction and the story in a sentence, or in an elevator speech. So here it goes for this idea: Guests are able to jump onto a podracer and race against fellow guests and creatures around the terrain Batuu before crossing the finish in front of the Grandstand as all eyes are gazed on the photo finish.
So why podracing you ask? Galaxy Edge currently has two rides, this would make three and help round out the land. Differentiation factors include being primarily outside and an experience that younger guests can do compared to Smuggler’s Run and Rise of the Resistance. My idea is to take a modern twist on a classic Disney attraction, the Autopia or Tomorrowland Speedway for those at Walt Disney World. So what’s our first step? Research and inspiration.
For ease, we will just refer to the Autopia but the same principles apply to the Tommorwland Speedway at the Magic Kingdom. The attraction is a multi-lane track where gas powered vehicles, controlled by the guests go along a guide track for about five minutes. You cannot pass any other vehicle or change lanes. It is a classic attraction and guest favorite especially because little kids can get behind the wheel and feel like they are driving. The sound of the engine and even the smell of the gas emissions trigger memories for young and old alike.
The next piece of inspiration came from a similar but more modern take on the autopia, the Aquatopia from Tokyo Disney Seas as well as Luigi’s Rockin Roadsters. The Aquatopia attraction uses trackless vehicles on a shallow bed of water and randomly glide and spin around on an invisible course. The Rockin Roadsters are cars that dance and spin in a open paved area. Both use two-person trackless vehicles and provide a great take on the classic attraction.
So you have the ride system, two person trackless vehicles, and some examples of its current applications around the world. Now let’s look to the Star Wars Universe for our story, props, character and location details. For the ride vehicles, I noticed in Galaxy Edge these kid versions of some famous podracers, speeders and similar “chase” like vehicles. I took these as well as designs found in the Podracing sequence in episode one and the chase scene in Episode nine and came up with these designs. Of course, you need many ride vehicles, so different colors, patterns and graphics could be applied to make each unique. For props and location, they need to follow the established story of Batuu. A smuggler’s outpost at the edge of the galaxy. This planet is made up of a petrified forest so our course would utilize rockwork, trees and water areas to match the current Blackspire Outpost of Batuu. Finally, the characters in the Star Wars Universe are both memorable and unique. As a way of bringing in some of these rich creative assets, I will incorporate some of the creatures found in the podracing scenes in the movies into this attraction.
Now that we gathered some background and inspiration, let’s start laying out this attraction. First, how to do place it in Galaxy’s Edge? If we look to the back of the property near where Kylo Ren’s ship is and the millennium Falcon is there are a number of small cast support buildings. I believe most of this can be relocated. From the aerial pictures it doesn’t seem like any large electrical or ventilation systems are in the way. So let’s designate this as our attraction area. Guests will be able to utilize the two doors already in place going backstage to access this new area. We’ve talked about how this is similar to the Autopia or Tomorrowland Speedway, here we took the aerial footprint and overlaid it to give perspective. We matched the scales so this shows this type of attraction will fit with some modifications. Adjusting the layout and in spots having a tighter lanes will help.
Now it’s time to layout the attraction. Let’s put in the main guest path that will connect with the two existing gates. Now let’s pick the areas for the entrance, queue, start line and exit. Knowing these areas, lets add in the maintenance building. Now the grandstand and finish line. We now have the main areas of the attraction. For me, I want to next figure out the story experience of the attraction, for me this helps figure out the best layout for the course.
So let’s jump into the ride story, you board your podracer, have your safety check and once you have the go from the pit crew you press the start your engine button. Your car will rumble and you will hear the sound of the engine start. The lights and dash display all light up. The cars slowly make their way to the starting line. As the twelve or so cars line up, they are joined out of the second bay area by two additional podracers they are being piloted by some familiar creatures. They join the lineup and everyone is ready to go. There is a large screen coming off of some of the rock work as well as indicator lights on a few poles. A Hutt appears (maybe a relative of Jabba the Hutt) to give the countdown. 3, 2, 1, GO!
The podracers all start moving, they gain speed along the course. There are many obstacles like spires and living trees in the pathways so the racers are changing positions quite a bit. After a number of turns the racers find themselves now over a large body of water. The petrified spires have mist and waterfalls cascading down. Again, there are many ways to go but now a few cars will spin out in the water, losing their spot, so a rotation of who is in the lead is constantly changing. As the racers exit the water area, the terrain gets narrower and there are a lot of tunnel like structures, over the radio racers will hear they need to look out for sand people. Just then you hear sounds of lasers hitting your vehicle. After a few shots a panel on your front pops open and alarms are going off. The racers will need to press the buttons to restore things back to normal. The racers then go back into a mainly open space with the race almost complete. There is just one more turn before the finish line. Everyone makes the turn, there is the final jostling of cars switching places and then everyone crosses the line. The cars slow down, you can hear cheers from the grandstand. The podracers turn out of the finish line area into a stretch where they come to a stop. The racers get out and exit the attraction. Once everyone exits the podracers move to the loading area to pick up their next set of racers.
So now that we know kinda how the experience and story should go, we can layout the actual course. I took inspiration form how the imaginers will use paper or carboard pieces and layout a rough model. This allows to test different configurations quickly and easily. Once I had a layout that I liked, I built the Birdseye view on the computer. My goal is to have twelve cars with two people in each car, three sets of vehicles on the track at any given time. One at the load and start position, one set racing on the course and one set at the exit area.
Let’s take a look on how this process could look. Here you see cars at the starting line Group A), in the exit area (Group B) and a set in the finish line area (Group C). We give the Go and group A is off and triggers the other groups to finish their cycles. You can see how the cars go different paths because they utilize the trackless technology. I think we can either let the computer constantly randomize the order and picks the winner or have a dozen configurations that the system draws from that it rotates thru. As you can see the ride vehicles moving through the course, a new batch of riders are loading on the Group B vehicles and the Group C vehicles are unloading guests. The unload and load times should take about a minute and a quarter each. The course time is roughly three and a half minutes giving a little buffer time if unload or load needs it. To calculate the capacity, we add load, course time, and unload time. In our estimation a total of seven minutes per cycle. With twenty-four guests in each group, over an hour a group of vehicles will handle 240 guests. With three groups going at the same time, the total capacity is around 720 guests an hour. This is better than the Tomorrowland Speedway or Barnstormer. It is definitely not the numbers that Pirates or Haunted Mansion can pull in. It sits roughly alongside Buzz Lightyear and Peter Pan. It is not an E-ticket, but a C type of attraction adding value to the land that already has two E tickets.
A part of the attraction I want to mention is the grandstand area. Here family members can cheer on their racers. It is setup similar to the grandstand found in Episode one. It allows for some shade protection and is an attraction in itself. Large outdoor LED screens are attached to the rockwork on the other side of the race lane. There are fixed cameras throughout the course and they show the various cars going through the course. Because of this I would say the layout should not be random but fixed with a variance of twelve iterations, that way it can match up with the cameras and everything is automated. In the spire of rockwork is an audio animatronic that is the commentator of the event. My thought is a Troig Podracing announcer, the two headed creature. They would do in both English and a language found in the Star Wars universe. This adds excitement. Because there would a fair amount of distance, the AA figures wouldn’t need to be as detailed as some of the newer AAs found at Disney. In the event of a malfunction, the blinds would close and the screens would be used to show video versions of their commentary.
As a plus(ing) of the experience, we can utilize that this attraction is at Disney World. Most guests would be using Magic Bands, this would allow the vehicles to know who is in the vehicle. Back in the grandstand, their first names can be attached to their vehicle number. Racers could see this on a display as they exit as well. To take it even further it can auto link to Photopass and a picture of the finish line and the video from the race can be available for guests to download.
Finally, lets address a few loose ends that we need to consider. First, why another trackless vehicle? Hollywood Studios has two and another one at Epcot with the Ratatouille attraction. I chose this because these vehicles are smaller than the vehicles currently at Hollywood studios, they are two person, and you could not have the rotation of place on a fixed track. These vehicles also go through the water which is a distinction factor. Next, how do the vehicles charge? This one is fairly simple, at both the load and unload areas, the vehicles come to rest on rapid charging plates. Another question maybe what happens to the two vehicles with the creatures that raced. Well, when the normal guest cars go the unload area, the creature cars go into a secondary pit area, this is where they recharge and exit the other end at the start line. Finally, even though there is steering wheels and many buttons and levers in the vehicles, they do not change the outcome. They can help with some of the effects but because the course is pre-determined and we can’t have vehicles actually hitting each other, these functions are for look only, but I believe it doesn’t take anything away from the little guests that will experience the attraction.
So there you have it, that’s my idea for a new addition to Galaxy’s Edge and I like to call it: The Batuu Chase: A Podracing Adventure. I know I talked a lot but an attraction like this can take a large team of engineers and designers, years to fully plan out all the details. There are safety concerns, construction needs, operation concerns and many more things that would need to be flushed out. I don’t have all the answer but I had fun figuring out these so far as well as other parts that aren’t in this video. This is where I’m going to leave you though for this episode. Please comment if you like this idea and let me know any additions you would make to the attraction. If you want to hear more about the ideas that pop into my head, subscribe to the Dreamer’s Desk Channel and hit the notification bell to be alerted when a new episode is ready for you to view. I will see you next time on the Dreamer’s Desk.