For some of the more motion-intensive attractions, dropping and losing your valuables can be a big risk. While Universal already offers lockers for guests to store items prior to their ride, there will always be at least one item that people aren’t willing to part with — their phone. In an effort to evolve with the increasing necessity for guests to have their phone and other valuables in their possession while queued, as well as save space on building new lockers, Universal has just submitted a patent application for personal, portable lockers.
The patent is titled “Loose Item Management Systems and Methods for Amusement Park Rides,” and it describes the reasoning behind the new system:
However, the cost of building lockers is typically high, and the lockers permanently occupy valuable space within the amusement park. Additionally, riders are often reluctant to put their loose items (e.g., cell phones, wallets, keys, and cameras) in lockers. Moreover, riders may use their cell phones to display ride passes (e.g., passes with priority rights) that are scanned at an entrance of the ride. Therefore, the rider’s cell phone may need to be readily accessible prior to loading the ride. Riders often prefer to keep their loose items on their person so that they can use them while waiting in line and other reasons.
Guests would be able to lock/unlock their own personal container using wireless signals, most likely RFID locking mechanisms, or a finger pad. The document outlines a multiple ways a new portable locker system could be implemented.
One method involves guests receiving a personal container moments prior to the ride, at the loading station. They would have their container unlocked and their items returned on exiting the ride.
Another similar option sees guests leaving a portable locker in a receptacle just before the entrance, to be retrieved before exiting. The receptacle could swivel on an axis between the loading and unloading stations.
The patent also mentions designs involving a mobile storage rack or conveyor belt for the lockers which would move with guests as they go through the attraction, to be retrieved after exiting the ride vehicle.
The storage locker could also be attached to the ride vehicle itself, safely locked and traveling with the owner.
Lastly, a wearable locker could be attached to the rider themselves, either as a belt or secured with restraints throughout the attraction. The wearable locker could also have a separate phone case attached by a retractable lanyard.
As is always the case, a patent does not guarantee the use of the technology referenced; Universal might never implement this system. What can be confirmed is that the storage of valuables outside of their current immobile attraction lockers is something Universal is actively working on.
Source/Images: United States Patent and Trademark Office