Universal files patent to deal with loose ride items

By Ashley Carter, Attractions Insider
Last Updated: Monday, March 12, 2018, 3:02 PM EDT

Universal Parks & Resorts is exploring ways to allow guests to keep valuables with them when on rides.

  • New Universal patent deals with loose ride items
  • Guests would be able to store valuables in "portable lockers"
  • The pouches could then be stored on ride, or added to transport system

Often guests like to take their mobile phones or cameras with them at all times—whether it be to check ride information or to use while waiting in line. However, at Universal Orlando for example, guests are required to store bags and other belongings in lockers before boarding certain rides to avoid losing them or injuring others.

A recently-filed patent named “Loose Item Management Systems and Method for Amusement Parks Rides” looks to resolve that.

“Once a loose item is out of the rider’s control during a ride, the loose item may be lost, it may be damaged, or it may cause damage to equipment and so forth,” the patent states.

One solution would be a “portable locker” equipped with a wireless lock. The pouch would include a zipper and a physical lock or, in one example, riders would be able to lock and unlock the pouch using a finger pad.

Riders would then be able to attach pouches to the ride via a hooking mechanism or add them to a transport system. The system would transport pouches from a loading station to an unloading station for pickup at the end of the ride.

Another solution is a wearable pouch that could be worn around the waist or chest.

“It is now recognized that there is a need for an improved loose item store system that allows guests to have control of their loose items during operation of the amusement park ride,” the patent states.

Universal also notes in the patent that lockers are expensive and take up “valuable space within the amusement park.”

As the resort expands, it makes sense that executives would be looking at ways to utilize as much space as possible for new rides and attractions.

Universal has several major projects in the works: a ride based on the “Fast & the Furious” franchise is set to open this spring, two new hotels set to open in 2019 and a Nintendo-themed land sometime in the future.

Universal and other theme park companies like Disney often file patents that never come to fruition. 

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