Disney Patent Roundup: Articulated Character Heads, Smokeless Fireworks and Who Moved My Chair?

When it rains, it pours; now it’s raining cats and dogs and we just stepped in a poodle. Unfortunately there’s no web rim shot patent to share with you today, but out of several patent applications we came across from Disney Enterprises this morning, there’s a few we thought were worth sharing with you all. You can thank us later since there’s no patent here for instant gratuity either.

First up is a patent whose fruit will be very familiar to most of us by now as it played a part in the famous Talking Mickey Mouse episode although you may not recognize it at first.

Character Articulated Head System, Front and BackFrom inventors Tim Eck, William Wiedefeld, David Hynds, Jeffrey Schenck, William Brasher and Brendan MacDonald comes a new take on a new classic: the articulated character heads. This is not the original patent that covers the heads featured in the stage shows at the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks, but rather a newer type of head/system that makes the interactive character scenario more plausible.

Titled ‘Method and System for Articulated Character Head Actuation and Control,’ the patent application is two-fold. First, it attempts to seek out the first major problem with the now-antiquated heads: noise. According to the patent, even when the old heads weren’t actually moving, they were prone to generating an audible standby noise. It appears that by ‘simply’ upgrading the quality of the motors and servos et al, that the noise is minimized to a whisper-quiet level, allowing the heads to safely articulate even in close environments with audience members (guests).

(more…)

Enjoyed this post? Share it!

 
 

WDW Character Updates: Maidens and Fairies and Bears, Oh My!

Disney Bear in a rare appearance at Walt Disney World © Stitch KingdomOkay, just one of each really.

According to the very reliable character resource WDW Character Hunt, we already have a couple of confirmed additions to the meet & greet character line-up at the Walt Disney World Resort. The site reports that Vidia, who has a much stronger role in the upcoming home video release Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue will begin greeting guests in Pixie Hollow at some point in August.

Enjoyed this post? Share it!

 
 

Disney Parks Gives Power Rangers the Red, Blue, Green, Yellow and Pink Slips

Green RPM Power Ranger at Disney's Hollywood Studios. © Stitch KingdomA brief update on the fate of the Power Rangers meet & greet at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As we reported yesterday, Disney has sold the Power Rangers property back to Haim Saban, the creator of the franchise.

As a result, word has widely spread earlier today that the Power Rangers meet & greet opportunity at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World resort will see its last day on August 7, 2010.

Enjoyed this post? Share it!

 
 

Photo Gallery: Lotso Meet & Greet at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

[SinglePic not found]Lotso from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3 began greeting guests at Walt Disney World’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park this morning and we were pleased to be amongst the first to welcome him to the World. Although we were warned that he would make his first appearance at 10:30, several guests showed up as close to the park’s 9 am opening as possible to stake their place in line. In fact, it wouldn’t be until around 9:45, when the queue already began wrapping around the corner that it would even see its first guest under the age of 15 (or so).

Enjoyed this post? Share it!

 
 

First Look: Lotso Bear Meet & Greet Character from ‘Toy Story 3′ at Disney Parks

Lotso Meet & Greet Character from Disney ParksEvidently the Disney Parks blog let out a little strawberry-scented burp earlier today posted an early peek at Disney Parks’ newest meet & greet character, Lotso from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3.

Lotso (short for Lots-o’-Huggin’)  will be making his in-park debut on Sunday, May 9 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios where he will be meeting & greeting guests in an area of the Animation Building made up to look like Sunnyside Daycare. In addition, he’ll also be appearing in the Pixar parades at both resorts: Block Party Bash at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Pixar Play! at Disney California Adventure.

Enjoyed this post? Share it!

 
 

Patent Reveals Disney Had ‘Talking Mickey’ Technology for Almost 20 Years

Patent drawing for voice transformation used in a theme park characterWhat could be more surprising than walking into a room and having Mickey Mouse talk to you? How about the fact that Disney has been sitting on the technology for well over a decade?

There was little surprise yesterday about how quickly the YouTube video of a Talking Mickey character test at Disneyland garnered attention, turning just a few dozen views from when we first reported it to tens of thousands less than a day later, but realizing that there would have to at least be a patent application somewhere before the technology was debuted, we set out to find the source of the marveling magic.

Enjoyed this post? Share it!

 
 

Walt Disney World Character Brief: Bolt Makes Awesome Return as UP Toons Take Off

Sorry, Carl, but you’re being evicted from the Animation Building at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and no number of balloons are going to save you now. The final date for the UP crew of Carl Fredricksen, Russell and Dug is May 1. On May 9, Lotso from Toy Story 3 will be taking that spot as previously reported. We hear that Lotso’s backdrop will be that of the Sunnyside Daycare.

Thanks to @PaulChadkin, we have learned that while Muppet*Vision 3D is closed for its upgrade from tomorrow through May 14, Jessie from Toy Story and Bolt from Bolt will be making rare appearances, greeting the crowds.

Enjoyed this post? Share it!

 
 

Character Changes Coming to Disney World for April/May 2010: Ariel’s Grotto Closes, Lotso Arrives

Prince Eric with Ariel during a Pirate and Princess Party at the Magic Kingdom in 2007Although most character meet & greets at the Walt Disney World Resort are fairly standard from day to day, there are a couple of times per year when there are significant changes. These changes usually occur in April/May and September/October. In 2010, these changes are further complicated by the closure of Toontown and the Fantasyland expansion in the Magic Kingdom. Since we’re already getting into April, it’s time to take a look at some of the expected upcoming changes.

Enjoyed this post? Share it!

 
 

Walt Disney World Resort Guests, You’ve Got Voicemail! Hyuk, Hyuk!

Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Disney owned and operated resort will now get a bonus when celebrating a special occasion during their vacation. When a guest notes that they will be celebrating the occasion during their stay, either through the Disney Reservation Center or via online check-in, they’ll receive a voicemail during their stay from a Disney character at no additional charge.

Guests who forget to mention the celebration before arrival can alert the lobby concierge at any time during their stay in order to receive the voicemail.

Enjoyed this post? Share it!

 
 

Photo: Justin Bieber at the Magic Kingdom with Aladdin’s Genie

Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber poses Dec. 19, 2009 with the “Genie” from Disney’s animated film “Aladdin” at the Magic Kingdom. Bieber was in central Florida to perform at a Radio Disney concert at the Celebration Town Center in nearby Celebration, Fla. Magic Kingdom is one of four theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort. (Preston Mack, photographer)

Enjoyed this post? Share it!