When designing the world’s largest indoor theme park, our teams were presented with a variety of unique challenges. How do we control lighting during the day throughout various lands? Where can guests see aspects of a ride or attraction that pulls them in to want to see more and get in line? How do we integrate the stories of a variety of IPs and brands under one roof?
When designing and developing the land of Cartoon Junction, one question that our team answered in spectacular fashion was: How do you take a chase between Tom & Jerry, the most popular cat and mouse duo, and turn it into a thrilling attraction of, well, cat and mouse?
Tom and Jerry: Swiss Cheese Spin uses the archetypal “chase” narrative between the cat and mouse for simple and effective storytelling. The ride utilizes freely-spinning cars that place emphasis on unpredictable mayhem typical of the cat and mouse duo, and it is entirely enclosed behind an otherwise ordinary domestic facade, suggesting a “hidden” story about what pets are up to when humans aren’t looking, just like the classic cartoons.
After shrinking guests down into Jerry’s mouse-sized home (using a simple compression point and scale shift in the queue that proves less can be more), a giant blueprint reveals Jerry has devised a Rube Goldberg-like contraption to transport wheels of cheese into his hidden Cheese Bank. Guests then climb into an oversized spinning cheese and ascend Jerry’s contraption (as the lift hill), where Tom discovers the plot as he peers through several mouseholes along the way. Passing through Jerry’s gleaming Cheese Bank at the apex, the cars then turn a dark corner where upon Tom is suddenly revealed, and the chase is on!
Spinning coasters present an extra challenge for roller coaster storytelling because the cars never face the same direction in any given scene, making it impossible to predict where guests will be looking. How do you control where guests are supposed to look when you don’t know where they’ll be looking?
The solution was to load the space with many different props and audio cues in all directions. Even if guests will never see all these moments in a single ride, they’ll catch enough of the mayhem that they can still make the connections for themselves and understand the dynamics of the chase story.
Once the ride comes to a halt, guests hear snapping mouse traps and a loud “Ow-ow-ow!”, resolving the story in a final scene with Jerry enjoying his hard-earned cheese and Tom ensnared in multiple mouse traps – all while guests thereafter disembark their cheese wheels and jump back in line for another ride.