next-gen

Dumbo Interactive Queue Preview from Storybook Circus

Yesterday I shared some of the changes to the exterior of the new twin-spinner Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction in Storybook Circus, today I’m excited to be sharing some photos of the interior of that attractions. Wait, you say. Why would a spinner have an interior? It’s all part of Imagineering’s plan to make waiting for the ride less painful.

Back when WDI first started talking about the new Dumbo queue they said rather than lining up in a switchbacks, it would be a place where kids could move freely and interact with various elements in the building. Parents would be able to wait comfortably while watching their kids run around. One’s place in line would be held virtually and an announcement would indicate when your boarding group was ready to head to the loading zone.

Looking at these pictures shared by Disney, that vision looks essentially intact. Perhaps it’s a bit more playground / obstacle course than I envisioned.

Also, Disney says that instead of an announcement to tell you when to grab your kid and head to a loading zone, some sort of paging device will be used. Disney has tested out, in theory, how this system will work during some experiments over at Rock-n-Roller Coaster. According to sources, results were mixed. So we’ll keep a close eye on how this is working out once it opens to guests.

Update: Video of the queue ‘in use’ by kids and some background on the project from an Imagineer.

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New Fastpass Invades Magic Kingdom, Are You Ready for Next Gen?

We’re really beginning to see the fruits of Disney’s $2 billion investment in integrating technology into the way guests experience their theme parks. According to Bob Iger one of the big changes will be how much of their vacation families will be able to make schedule from home. Instead of just dining, you’ll soon be able to schedule rides, parade viewing, show seating, and more. The first step in that is integrating a new type of RFID based Fastpass into the parks.

Magic Kingdom is ground zero for the beta-test for this advanced version of Fastpass. During the test select Disney World hotel guests are given the opportunity to schedule 4 rides a day using this new pass. Since it’s RFID, you carry around a unique identifier and the computer knows who you are, a few personal items (if it’s your birthday, anniversary, etc), and what your reservations are. If you forget the latter, you can swipe your card at a terminal and it will let you know what you next reservation is for. Eventually you’ll be able to change your Fastpass reservations at that terminal or even via your mobile device.

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Disney’s Next-Gen Problem

When you head off to Walt Disney World the next time, will you remember to bring your iPhone? Don’t have one or don’t want to bring it with you? Don’t worry. You’re not alone, in fact smart phone adoption is still just above 50%. That’s… Read More »Disney’s Next-Gen Problem

Big Secret of Next-Gen Revealed

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.

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Reserve Rides From Home: Coming soon to Disney parks

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Today Tom Staggs, the chief of Disney’s Parks and Resorts, told investors that one feature of the coming “Next Gen” technology (reportedly costing $1B in sum) will be the ability to reserve ride times, show times, and meetings with characters from home, the way you… Read More »Reserve Rides From Home: Coming soon to Disney parks

Fantasyland Expansion impact on Magic Kingdom will be huge

The Disney Parks blog recently announced that February 11, 2011 will be the last day to visit Mickey’s Toontown Fair. That’s nice information to have for those planning vacations. Unfortunately, you really have to plan more than 6 months out these days just to get… Read More »Fantasyland Expansion impact on Magic Kingdom will be huge

Augmented Reality and Disney

The Next-Gen project currently being worked on for Walt Disney World is rumored to feature a mobile device that will over lay a new experience on top of the existing theme park. This is a form of Augmented Reality and it’s a growing field for… Read More »Augmented Reality and Disney