If you’ve ever avoided a theme park ride because it made you uncomfortable, Universal is looking to change the game.
Universal’s theme parks are known for their high thrill rides, immersive theming, and incredible seasonal offerings but if you’ve ever walked off of a ride vowing never to ride again because of how it made you feel, Universal is working on a design that could make your riding experience more enjoyable.
The latest patent filed by Universal Destinations & Experiences could reduce the impact that bumpy theme park rides have on your back. This new patent also allows the ride vehicle to continue to maintain high standards of safety set by the manufacturer. The patent has been dubbed the “Padding System for Amusement Park Attraction System” and seems to improve ride comfort in attractions.
According to the patent design obtained from the Orlando Business Journal, an amusement park attraction system’s seat may include a padding system and a base supporting a rider. This proposed system introduces padding all along the seat along with two pads on either side of the rider’s back. The patent goes on to reason, “It may be desirable to provide the guest with a comfortable experience during operation of the attraction system. For this reason, a padding or cushion system may be incorporated with the support to provide comfortable positioning of the guest against the support.”
Drawings included with the patent show an example of an intricately padded seat that includes ample supports near the mid- and lower-back areas of a rider — which could lead to more people who need strengthened back support to enjoy more challenging rides comfortably. It’s also cited to be compatible for use with several ride types outside of roller coasters including indoor dark rides, drop towers, and performance shows.
If you’ve ever complained of a headache or a migraine, body ache, or soreness after riding a high-thrill ride such as a rollercoaster, you may be more apt to be ready to try something out for added comfort. According to a report from Medical News Today, “As rollercoaster technology continues to advance … it could exceed the human body’s ability to cope with the associated acceleration and rotary forces. This could lead to an increase in injuries resulting from riding roller coasters.” However, being proactive in advancing the technology in ride systems could help decrease potential unpleasant impacts on a person’s body before they occur and still allow for rides to continue to evolve.
Interestingly, this isn’t the only patent that Universal has been busy filing lately. Several patents were filed recently in preparation for the brand-new Universal Kids Park set to open in Frisco, Texas in 2026.
Trademark applications for the park were submitted for various use in theme parks and amusement parks like live stage shows, waterpark services, and interactive play areas, as well as multiple types of merchandise items.
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