Trying to find out things we didn’t even know to ask about
Great article about Disney theme parks and the design – prototype – test – iterate – build process for a new ride, Toy Story Mania
“It is much easier and less expensive to do this before the concrete has been poured,” he added. “As rides become more complicated, your ability to tweak in the field gets harder and much more expensive.”
Across the street, in a cold, unmarked garage, Ms. Allen helped to conduct “play tests” on rudimentary versions of the ride. More than 400 people of all ages – all had signed strict nondisclosure agreements – sat on a plywood vehicle set up in front of a projection screen and played various versions of the games. Disney workers studied their reactions and interviewed them afterward.
“We were looking to see if some effects were too scary,” Ms. Allen said, “or if there wasn’t enough laughing happening during certain sequences.”
Among the discoveries: People wanted to be able to compare scores after they were finished playing, while some children had a hard time reaching the cannonlike firing controller, christened by Disney as a “spring action shooter.” Engineers added a computer screen to vehicles to display scores and installed the controls on movable lap bars.
“We were trying to find out things we didn’t even know to ask about,” said Sue Bryan, a senior show producer.