Universal have filed for multiple new patents which may reveal plans for Volcano Bay as well as future rides that use Marvel and Nintendo IP. The full report can be found by clicking on this sentence
. OK, essay time!
In terms of the patents, I love the new take on the trap door slide. As for the flying theatre, I'm not sure how such a close fitting restraint would work, or indeed be comfortable for different body types but I assume that is something they're working on.
Of course, the most exciting patents shown for me are the last two, as they may be the first hints as to what some of the new Nintendo attractions at Nintendo could potentially look like since although no IP is specified for the patent, the design of the rides seem to fit . The first is a go-kart style vehicle with room for two riders. The rider in front controls the speed and drifting while the rider in the back can push buttons to make the car bounce or affect other riders. Straight away, the ride reminds me of the game Mario Kart Double Dash!!, with one player driving and the other throwing items at opponents.
The question for me is whether this will be a track ride like Test Track or Radiator Springs Racers where drifting at the right angle increases the cars speed; or something closer to the old Rocket Racers ride at Legoland Windsor where the ride is essentially a customisable arcade game with 8 or more players. While the patent would suggest the former, the latter option seems like a more efficient option for space, especially considering that only one group would be able to race on one track at a time and that such track would have to be rather wide to accommodate for the number of vehicles usually found in a game of Mario Kart.
If they do go down the Lego Racers route, they may wish to allow up to 12 cars in one race to fit modern Mario Kart. With two riders per car and 5 races happening at once (again based on Rocket Racers), the attraction could potentially support up to 120 riders at a time, with additional riders in a pre-show. Including setup and based on an average 3 lap game of Mario Kart, each race would likely take roughly 3-5 minutes, leading to a theoretical throughput of between 1440 and 2400 people per hour (although I really doubt that second number would ever be reached.)
Additionally, a new roller coaster concept was also submitted by universal, with the vehicle guests sit in actually not run on the rails directly below them but on a lower rail hidden out of sight to appear as if the ride vehicle is jumping from track. The minecart shape of the vehicle and idea of track jumping is similar to what is found in the Donkey Kong country games so rather than go on and on about the possibilities, here's a video of one of the minecart levels from the most recent game.