We begin our experience by entering an alchemist’s lab circa 1400. Room after room contain desks that are cluttered with the tools of countless projects and experiments. Cucurbits, containers made to hold the substance being distilled from one thing into another, of various sizes, shapes and materials are on bookshelves overflowing with manuscripts. Contraptions galore fill the rooms with devices such as automatic bellows for the furnace and one that independently sorts coal, wood, charcoal . On a prominent table sits an hourglass and skull, symbols of “vanitas,” reminding us of life’s brevity. As we pass by his desks, we are able to read some of the alchemist’s notes. He has tired of pursuing gold. He has written of secretly building a machine that ascends to a height in the sky where the Aether begins. He claims that through the use of his creation, he’s on the precipice of a devastatingly delightful discovery that easily surpasses the creation of mere gold. As we exit the lab, we get a close up view of his masterpiece: The Aether Reacher. It is obviously the result of decades of work combining all the talents, tools and supplies that the Alchemist possesses.
Attraction description: The Aether Reacher is a Ferris Wheel like no other. The Aether Reacher provides the sensation of weightlessness similar to a roller coaster’s hills. A rider goes around on a wheel like a normal Ferris Wheel, but then that wheel is attached by a beam to a twin wheel. This unit then rotates around a fixed point. That apparatus is then part of a larger rotating Square. A rider is rotating on their wheel, the double wheel arrangement and the Square all at the same time.
The Square shape allows for riders to load when it is in the bottom position, enjoy the ride in the next two positions and experience the Aether Realm in the third. For those guests who would like to experience the ride but not rotate, those seats can be arranged. A hidden system weighs parties and guides loading in such a way that ensures that the wheels are all balanced.
For the third position of the Square on the attraction, the double Ferris Wheel slows is rotation as it is lowered through fog into a domed theater. The screen fills the entire field of vision including below the ride vehicle. This is the Aether Realm. The short show presented here features four elf-like animatronics who are on individual platforms that are on arms extending from the floor allowing them to get very close to riders and tuck away when the movie starts. One figure represents Fire, another Water, one Wind and the last Earth. They are presented with special lighting and an original musical score. They each introduce the wonder and majesty that their Element possesses. While they speak, the dome is a star field. Whenever they aren’t speaking they are in darkness. Upon introducing Fire, the dome comes to life with vivid images of flame as actual fire bellows from below. Water is represented by a short dive underwater surrounded by colorful tropical fish and then exiting the water up a massive waterfall. Wind features the experience of being inside a tornado. Whereas the wheel had slowed to a stop upon entry to the dome, it now roars back into rotation. Wind whips around the guests. Then, the starfield returns as Earth is introduced. Riders can see Earth in the distance and see that they are getting closer and closer. Finally, we get close enough to clearly see the shapes of the continents. Ever closer, we soar over the Earth and then journey into night seeing the beautiful lights of the city. We return to the sunlit side and begin to slowly back away. Over this image, we hear the Elements say:
Fire: “Across the universe, elements of worth are sought. Interesting word: ‘worth.’”
Water: “All of these wonders we have just experienced are here for you to enjoy and explore.”
Wind: “You must be very special indeed. May you always know that YOU have worth.”
Earth: “If you ever forget, return and be reminded– here in the Aether Realm.”
The Square then turns to its final position for unload. Guests exit through another portion of the Alchemist’s lab where there is wonderful evidence that he too had been successful in reaching the Aether Realm. Notes of encouragement, positively and lessons learned line the walls.
Environmentally, the attraction has a relatively small footprint. Power could be derived from solar cells covering the surface of the Square as well as windmills that would also add to the “invention-y” theme.