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Park News
Monorail Makeover
The “Moo-norail”
Fresh themes for Alton Towers
people mover
Alton Towers in England has revamped its 1987 monorail with the help of the
London-based design firm Sarner. The people-moving system is used to transport
guests on a loop between the park’s car park, main entrance and two hotels and at
the height of the season can transport 4,800 people every hour.
Sarner’s makeover involves an 360° “wrap” design and carefully co-ordinated
coloured interiors and an audio soundtrack inside each of the eight trains, some of
which have themes inspired by the park itself and others by nature.
“The monorail had become a little tired over the years and it needed a facelift,”
explains Sarner art director, Matthew Ringland. “The brief was to transform it into a
fun and memorable attraction as it not only welcomes guests into the park, it’s also
their last ‘ride’ at the end of an exciting day. The emphasis needed to be on bold,
large scale motifs that could be viewed from a distance but also had levels of detail
that were fun to view close up.”
Lotte World 2
The new design certainly achieve that. Those trains in detail are as follows:
The Lotte Group has apparently received government approval to build a
Caribbean, based on the Alton Towers’ Cariba Creek waterpark; Pirates, dedicated
second Lotte World theme park in Shincheon-dong, Seoul, South Korea.
to the Mutiny Bay area; Explorer, fitting in with the theme of the original Alton
The park will also include a 112-story tower, which is expected to become
Towers Hotel; Moo-norail, a cow theme exploiting the shape of the train for
one of the tallest buildings in the world. To make way for the development,
maximum impact; Celebration, featuring balloons, disco balls and fireworks; Daisy
the runway of Seoul Airport will be adjusted around three degrees, on the
Train, covered with beautiful flora; Strawberry Fields, decorated as an enormous
condition that Lotte Group shoulders the cost. Construction is slated for
punnet of summer berries; and Jelly Bean, the train for those with a sweet
completion by 2013 or 2014.
The friendly Yeti!
Garner Holt Productions has developed a new animatronic Yeti character, due
to be installed at a themed attraction in early 2009. Weighing in at 1,700
pounds and standing 9ft tall, the Yeti is also one of the largest single animated
figures ever built, yet incredibly friendly. “He’s a gentle giant,” says Garner
Holt, founder and president of the 30-year-old animatronics company. “He’s
superhero sized, but has the heart of a child.”
The initiative to give the Yeti a personality was one of Holt’s prime directives
in creating the creature. “In most cases, you only see an animatronic for a few
seconds as you pass by on a ride. I wanted the Yeti to be a character the audi-
ence could experience for long periods of time and that would have a real
sense of spontaneity, as if everything he did was improvised. He uses a variety
of facial expressions to suggest a personality.”
Although he lacks a spoken language, the Yeti
can communicate in American sign language.
His heavily articulated hands are capable of
performing any movement achievable by the
human hand, while his eyes contain minute
cameras linked to a photo-recognition library.
Using this stored information, the Yeti will be able
to pick out words and phrases.
His facial movements include eye blinks, nostril
flaring, and a moving tongue. In total the Yeti boasts
164 individual functions and 46 high-powered
micro-processors throughout his body, synched to
an Ethernet network to communicate between his
interior and exterior computer controllers.
The Yeti’s interior framework, or skeleton, is partially made of titanium. By
using electric actuators inside the figure, instead of hydraulic or pneumatic
cylinders, the animatronic possesses enormous strength and us able to lift a
man weighing 200 pounds!
16 FEBRUARY 2009
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