Disney’s Gary Buchanan and Star Wars Weekends celebrity host James Arnold Taylor demonstrate some of the ways you can have…
One of Disney World’s public relations experts tweeted that fans should prepare for a new augmented reality experience at Star…
This weekend New Yorkers, and a couple thousand lucky tourists, are in for a special Disney treat – Disney Parks is bringing a unique interactive experience to Times Square with a brand-new augmented reality play space. Guests will be able to engage live on screen with Disney characters on the 6-story tall, state-of-the-art digital display above the Disney Store.
Each person who participates has the chance to interact with a wide variety of characters doing an array of activities. For example, a dance-off with Donald or a duel with Captain Hook. Once the interaction is complete, the participant poses for a photo which is sent to them immediately via email.
The biggest project being worked on in the renowned underground bunkers of Walt Disney World is the ultra-secret Next-Gen system. Known as NGE internally, to differentiate it from the Next-Gen interactive queues that are part of a separate project from WDI, development costs are reportedly as much as building two brand new theme parks. So it better be good right?
This morning I had the chance to sit down with two Disney executives who recently left the NGE team to start up their own company. The pair definitely had some interesting things to say, things that might just turn your ideas about the Walt Disney World Resort on its head.
The Next-Gen project currently being worked on for Walt Disney World is rumored to feature a mobile device that will…
The BBC has a great story examining how two of the most recent attractions to open at Walt Disney World point the way toward future development from Walt Disney Imagineering. Disney sees current and future generations of youth who are already so inter-mediated with video games, texting, MP3s, video downloads, and 3-D movies (sometimes all at the same time) that they’re afraid standard attractions just won’t be enough to inspire repeat visits down the line.
“The emerging generation expects more immersive, personal and interactive experiences in every facet of their lives,” says Bruce Vaughn, chief creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering.
The two attractions the article looks at are Toy Story Midway Mania and Kim Possible. TSMM takes the ‘video game’ experience and brings it into the parks in a very Disney way. While Kim Possible is one of the first examples of how Disney can build an attraction using overlay technology. No need to expand the footprint of the park, just intertwine the experience with what is already there.
Sure, WDI can continue to pump out the heart pumping thrill rides like Expedition Everest or new entertainment environments like The American Idol Experience, but really, so can anyone these days (usually with the help of laid off Imagineers). What will set Disney themed environments apart in the future are overlays (or an even more exciting technology called Total Immersion, but that’s coming well down the line).
Just about exactly 8 years ago, I wrote a short story for LaughingPlace.com (unfortunately, the second page of it appears to have gone missing, so I rescued it from the Internet Archive Wayback machine (woo hoo) and have included it in full below the cut) forecasting where this overlay technology might be heading in the future. If it seems familiar, that probably means you’ve used a Pal Mickey before. It also gives you an idea of how long these ideas percolate in Imagineering before making it into the parks. Additionally, I’m almost finished with a novel by Vernor Vinge called “Rainbows End” which takes this overlay concept to the umpteenth level and extends it worldwide via a combination of future social networking and an economy based on themed design and role play.
I think it’s important to remember that it all comes back to quality story telling with the type of rich detail that Disney knows how to intertwine with entertainment. If Disney keeps their eye on that, the technology is just another color on their canvas.