Glad that Mermaid and Alice are ostensibly getting some need refurbishments/upgrades, but not so sure about Mermaid's daily numbers , and the engineering of the Alice fix, as per the update:
Also planned for a refurbishment this winter is one of DCA’s newest attractions; The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. After this attraction opened to mediocre reviews in 2011, then went under the knife in 2012 to replace the cheesy CGI animation and send Ariel back to the hairdresser, it’s been plugging away in Paradise Pier. Although it rarely has a line longer than 5 minutes, the massive hourly capacity of the Omnimover system means that Mermaid consistently pulls in 2,000 or more riders per hour very reliably for 12 to 15 hour days, for 25,000 or more riders per day.
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It’s those big daily ridership numbers that helped make the case for WDI to go in and close the ride for a second time this winter, as they have more ideas to help with the lighting and overall art direction throughout the ride, particularly with the ride’s big Under The Sea musical production number. TDA’s industrial engineers salivate over the ridership numbers a modern Omnimover like Mermaid can provide a park, so WDI has been given the money for more fixes. Again.
I kinda doubt that Mermaid is pulling in 25,000 per day given that guests don't rush to get on this ride and that during many hours of the day the clamshells aren't being loaded to capacity, i.e. tons of empty calm shell going by. I also don't think that Mermaid is once again being reworked because it is an omnimover ride, but because the Under the Sea scene is pretty lackluster, and many of the ending scene appear to be unfinished, at least to my eyes.
Sure, Mermaid is an omnimover, but it sure isn't being used at full capacity.
Also, with regards to shortening Alice's outside track and moving it closer to the building . . . even shortening by half would produce a steep grade and make evacuations unsafe for guests! The outside portion that takes guests up to the second story is able to accomplish the one-story rise in elevation as it is relatively long, making the outside portion shorter would by necessity increase the slope/steepness of the ascent, more work/stress on the motor and unsafe for disembarking during an emergency. So, while I would be happy to hear that Alice is getting a refurb, I'll take this as a rumor as it seems TDA hasn't thought out the engineering involved with the outside track.
The design/engineering is in the curved track, which provides better traction, as well as the length which provides for gentler slope, you can't just put a ramp going up at 45 degrees! They've also changed the track before, adding a second smaller outside portion, this is an older photo but provides a clearer shot of the serpentine nature of the track which is a clever engineering solution to getting guests to the show building area above Toad.