The popular T-Rex Cafe at Disney Springs, formerly Downtown Disney Marketplace,
at Lake Buena Vista, Florida is a monster-sized, Palaeozoic-themed restaurant that
bills itself as a “Prehistoric Family Adventure’. In addition to serving Caveman Punch
and Raptor Rita cocktails, the menu includes such Paleo-themed delicacies as
Mastodon Stuffed Chicken and Tar Pit Fried Shrimp for adults, while the offerings
for junior archaeological expeditions include Paleo Pizza and Sabre-tooth Sundaes.
Although the entire attraction has been running successfully and reliably for many
years, some improvements were needed. “In particular, the five 4K-lumen
projectors blended to deliver the meteor and asteroid show, together with a single
projector in the retail area, needed occasional replacement lamps and realignment
of overhead projector blends after each re-lamping,’ said Kevin Zevchik, US
Manager at AV Stumpfl Inc.
AV Stumpfl and local integrator Zanim8tion came up with a powerful solution for the
lamp issue and an ingenious one for the projector alignment, bringing the T-Rex
Cafe from prehistoric AV to the brink of what’s possible today.
First, the five ageing projectors were replaced with just two of Digital Projection’s
11K ANSI lumen, laser-powered HIGHlite WUXGA projectors with an operational life
of 20,000 hours before requiring re-lamping. Based on their current usage cycle of
a two-minute show every 20 minutes, the projectors are estimated to be able run
for about 56 years before the lasers will need replacing.
Despite their effectively-infinite lamp life, the projectors will still require regular
maintenance visits to clean the optics and change the dust filters, which will
inevitably have some impact on their alignment. This where the cafe’s new AV
Stumpfl Wings VIOSO system that controls the projector blends and media replay
comes into its own. “Once the maintenance crew has finished handling the
projectors, Wings VIOSO uses a small, dedicated camera pointed at the ceiling to
automatically realign the images and the blends, and have the show ready within
five minutes of completing projector maintenance. Nobody is going to miss the
tedium of projector alignment,’ enthused Zevchik.
The other big step forward in the upgrade was to replace the faithful early-model
AV Stumpfl SC-Master show controller with a system that would allow the
programming of custom dinosaur shows for such occasions as corporate events and
educational tours that are planned to extend the range of activities for the T-Rex
Cafe. In addition to the audio, video and projection elements controlled by the new
Wings Engine, the new AV Stumpfl AVIO network has 12 Wings IObox relay
controllers tasked with running the 192 movement controllers that drive the
The flexibility and ease of programming of the Wings AVIO system has allowed the
development of new movement sequences and the independent programming of
individual dinosaurs for the educational tours. By taking advantage of the new
Wings Touch user interface system the entire replay system can now be controlled
from simple tablet devices when staff need to conduct tours or customize the entire
venue for specific events and applications.
It’s not just the pteronodons at the T-Rex Cafe: all the dinosaurs now have Wings.