While the Walt Disney World Resort has had gaming experiences for some time such as Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom and soon A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas, the Disneyland Resort has appeared to escaped unscathed from the diversions. In truth, the resort has quietly been working on a project called Disney Kudos, which up until now has been mostly a mystery.
We have uncovered concept art that appears to unearth the project and gives us a sneak peek into Disney Kudos, a self-paced exploration game of its own. While it’s unclear from what we have whether there will be physical components installed at the resort as Walt Disney World’s games have, we have been able to ascertain that is primarily a GPS-driven scavenger hunt which will operate on one’s own mobile device (not unlike the independently developed Wishing Stars) — a feat of no easy proportions as anyone who’s attempted to use a mobile device at Disneyland can attest. We’re told that in addition to tracking various quests, the game is also intended to help entertain guests while waiting in queues.
We believe the game’s development may be being handled by Fi (formerly known as Fantasy Interactive).
In addition, another video demo showing a much more graphically-pleasing version of the game has appeared on Vimeo. This brief demo shows unlocking various achievements such as visiting Disneyland (‘Welcome to the Club’), ‘Party King’ (obtained by attending the New Orleans Bayou Bash) and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ achievements, the ‘Brave Soul’ kudo, reminding the player to view the parade and more.
The artwork follows a series of clues about Disney Kudos which began in early with several domain name registrations such as DISNEYKUDOS.COM (the only active one at this time), DISNEYKUDOSGAME.COM, KUDOGAME.COM, DISNEYLANDKUDOS.COM and DCAKUDOS.COM. Variations with the spelling of ‘cudos’ have also been registered as well as related domain names such as DISNEYACHIEVEMENTS.COM.
Speaking of achievements, we have also seen some recent movement on the Walt Disney World NextGen front with an additional trademark registration for ‘Story Maker’ (one was previously filed for ‘My Story Maker’). We believe this to be related to the ‘Story Author’ patent we described here which will use guests’ MagicBand bracelets to track which attractions a guest has visited and automatically collect video and photos and compile a ‘storybook’ akin to an achievement such as riding all of the Magic Kingdom mountains, or a birthday memory which can than be used as an upsell in merchandising, as part of the total ‘My Disney Experience.’
Note attributions in this article have explicitly been left out to protect the source. Contributed to by insidethemagic.net
While Walt Disney World’s billion-dollar NextGen project has been no secret for quite some time, along with many of its aspects such as extensive use of RFID, the company itself has remained famously mum about the extent of the project, something we have been discussing for well over a year.
A new article from the New York Times, goes into the technology, now officially known as MyMagic+ and My Disney Experience (terms we have been applying for nearly a year), and some of the experiences it will offer. Some of the recently confirmed technology will allow characters to be able to deliver personalized experiences, a topic we have spoken about quite a bit, including in this article on just what Disney will learn about its guests, from which the NYT quotes some of our commenters. Back in October, we also looked at additional NextGen technology which describes just how the MyMagic+ will function inside the parks and negotiate multiple guests with multiple ‘entitlements,’ including characters who will greet guests by name (as the NYT article also suggests).
As extensive at the NYT article appears to be, it’s our contention that it still just a drop in the bucket with what the full MyMagic+ experience will entail, such as ‘Achievements’ (discussed in Big Brother article), a mobile app that will let family members at home virtually join the trip and interact including purchasing real in-park gifts, personalized and interactive elements at attractions like ‘it’s a small world’ and much, much more.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one: When is a character not a character? When they’re an ‘experience delivery system.’ Get it? Okay, maybe it’s not that funny, or clever, but according to a patent application for a system known as ‘Managing Experience State to Personalize Destination Visits,’ it’s the future truth — and it’s a key element to the MyMagic+/My Disney Experience coming to the Walt Disney World Resort as part of its NextGen experience.
Though it lacks any shocking revelations, the patent application answers one of the most forefront questions since information began pouring in since we began sharing information about the project. Completely apart from FASTPASS+ which is available to families just as the regular FASTPASS system is, this is more in line with the “it’s a small world” real-world avatar; the question being if there are multiple people entitled to a customization, how does Disney decide who gets it?
And so then you have this: the Experience State Management System. And it goes a little something like this.
First, the familiar. Guests will have the reusable and personalized (for an upcharge) MagicBand which uses RFID technology and serves as the key to virtually everything from unlocking hotel room doors (for which Disney is aggressively updating all the locks systematically as you read this) to holding park admission media (though both of these are optional depending on the circumstances) to holding access to FASTPASS+ enabled attractions. Readers, however, will be installed virtually everywhere and it is no gross understatement to suggest that the system is capable of identifying guests virtually anywhere in the parks. We also know that with the readers being able to identify guests as they enter attractions, it also potentially provides supplementary information to a cast member who can now greet a guest by name and/or wish them a happy birthday even if there’s no button, congratulate them on their graduation, or any other possible celebration imaginable, so long as it’s noted in their CRS database.
That’s where the ESMS really comes in because it too will have access to all of this information and not only will it be able to see what entitlements a guest is set to receive, it will obviously be able to record and reference entitlements already distributed. Therefore it can use its guest history to decide who amongst a group of guests will receive the special attention at any single experience, be it within the same family or amongst different groups as well. For example, an attraction could be configured to wish someone a happy birthday when it detects them in a group. But what if there’s two guests celebrating a birthday that day? Maybe one of them was already recognized for it earlier in the day, so the system will decide to honor the other guest. There are several other factors it can consider, or if it determines there is a statistical tie, it can make a random decision to skew the numbers going forward. The system will also use biological information such as age and gender to determine which experiences will be available for a particular guest.
Aside from a talking character (note we do not say face character) being able to greet guests by name upon entering a room, several other potential uses are suggested by the patent application. Special upcharge experiences include birthday acknowledgements, or a pirate experience in which the guest will be acknowledged automatically throughout the parks as being a pirate in any number of ways including visually morphing the guest into looking like a pirate, being dressed like a pirate, etc. The same technique could be applied to make the guest appear to be most anything such as a movie star or athlete.
Although the patent application doesn’t explicitly mention it, the ESMS is also likely to play a role in Achievements, which we also previously spoke about to some extent.
For further reading, you can view the patent application in its entirety here.
After starting the roll out of FASTPASS+ technology at the Magic Kingdom, which not only included the installation of temporary (and subsequent permanent) RFID readers at return lines at select attractions, along with limited tests, as well as pilot programs to enter the theme parks via RFID and — most recently — pay for purchases and unlock hotel rooms using embedded RFID chips in the Key to the World (KTTW) cards at the Contemporary Resort, it appears Walt Disney World (NYSE:DIS) is steadily pushing on to establish its NextGen technology at the Resort, this time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Within the past 24 hours (give or take), Walt Disney World has filed construction commencement notices with the Orange County Comptroller’s office, for virtually all of the theme parks’ attractions and shows. Citing a very generic ‘provide labor, material and/or electrical for construction’ reason, all of the documents list Disney’s own Buena Vista Construction Company as the contractor, as was the case for all recent work performed on Haunted Mansion, to cite an example.
Attractions referenced so far in the paperwork include Star Tours, Great Movie Ride, American Idol Experience, Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, Disney Junior Live on Stage, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Rock’n'Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, Muppet*Vision 3D, and Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show.
FASTPASS+ is an enhanced version of the FASTPASS attraction reservation system which will allow select guests to schedule opportunities to visit attractions and character meet and greets in advance of their visit to the Walt Disney World Resort. It is part of a larger program, MAGIC+, or ‘My Disney Experience’ which will allow the guest to customize and interact with the theme park environments way beyond what is possible today. Walt Disney World recently released an app titled My Disney Experience for Apple iOS devices which will provide the foundation of the new opportunities, which include allowing guests to integrate their mobile activity with their online accounts to share information and perform new tasks such as creating dining reservations from virtually anywhere. To aid with using the new app, the company has already rolled out free WiFi inside the Magic Kingdom Park and its resorts, with the rest of the theme parks expected to follow suit.
In its final incarnation, FASTPASS+ – a subset of the MAGIC+ framework and sometimes referred to as XPASS — will allow eligible guests to reserve ride times in advance, using their MAGIC BAND to access the attraction’s queue. The customizable MAGIC BAND wristband will double as what’s currently known as the Key to the World, allowing guests to use the same magnetic stip card for their resort room key as well as park tickets and more.
For the purposes of the test, some guests will be selected to test the program upon arrival at the Walt Disney World. They will be given a FASTPASS+ card with an embedded RFID chip to be used solely for the test program as well as an itinerary of FASTPASS windows at the Magic Kingdom park for that day based on preferences chosen by the guest.
In addition to the attractions which normally offer FASTPASS, Haunted Mansion has been outfitted with a FASTPASS+ reader and will allow guests to use it during the test period.
Should guests lose or forget their FASTPASS+ intinerary, they will be able to visit Guest Relations or one of the many FASTPASS+ locations for a reminder. Presumably this means that the reader itself includes a small screen. The FASTPASS+ readers have been rapidly installed at the Magic Kingdom over the past couple of weeks as noted by @DisneyProjects who has established a photo collection of the readers.
Source: removed by request
When Disney’s Art of Animation Resort opens this summer, its guests will be one of the first to experience the driving force behind Walt Disney World’s NextGen project — the room key. Instead of the traditional card key readers that most hotels use, guests at Art of Animation will access their room via RFID. Although some vacation destinations (notably Great Wolf Lodge) have already embraced the magic of RFID for years and have even taken it far beyond the hotel room, this gesture is particularly noteworthy because it signals the start of what we’ve already known to be coming and it’s just the tiniest tip of the largest iceberg this universe has ever seen.
How much of a spotlight will be shown on NextGen (hereinafter referred to by its proper trademarked name, either Magic+ or My Disney Experience /aka/ MDE) when Art of Animation opens up remains to be seen. In its entirety, however, the RFID will be housed in a patented, resizable — and customizable (for a modest upcharge) — wristband known as the MagicBand. The MagicBand won’t just simply hold your room key, however. It will be your ticket (you may recall tests earlier this year using RFID as admission media at Epcot), but more importantly, it will be your identity. It will identify you and every thing Walt Disney World knows about you to every one and every thing around you — characters, attractions and even (let’s face it) trash cans. Any place Disney Parks wishes to put a proximity reader and some wires will instantly become aware of you and your family.
Add to that how we recently revealed plans for a GPS-aware mobile app that Disney Parks was working on that would combine guests’ own photos and PhotoPass to generate a real-time scrapbook that can be shared and interact with friends and family who would tag along on the vacation virtually. However, based on a recent patent application simply titled ‘Storytelling Engine,’ it appears that the app may simply be more of a proof of concept for a much greater project employing Magic+. Invented by David J. Canora (FL), Robert Swirsky (CA) and Michael J. Gomes (FL), the patent describes how a ‘Story Author’ (presumably an Imagineer) can create multiple story arcs for various scenarios and how the system would automatically recognize the scenarios, generate a story using a combination of ‘custom media’ and stock media and produce output that can than be used as an upsell, such as a flip book, photos, video, streaming media, etc.
Several examples are provided throughout the patent application as to how the system may work, but they all share two common elements: attractions are individually aware when a specified guest visits them; and attractions are equipped with still and video cameras throughout to capture photos and video.
In one such example, the ‘Story Author’ has created templates for ‘I Conquered the Mountains.’ The parameters for these story arcs requires that a guest visit Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain (no specific time range provided). Upon visiting all three attractions at least once, the ‘I Conquered the Mountains (for the first time)’ story is generated, using photos and video of the guest taken from the actual ride visit and combining them with stock imagery to complete the story which is further personalized with information known about the specific guest (age, gender, etc), all without any explicit input from the guest. Should the guest visit each of the three attractions at least twice, it would then generate an entirely different story arc using the template of ‘I Conquered the Mountains (yet again).’ These templates could be applied to any number and combination of attractions and any number of attraction-independent potential influencers such as first visit, time of day, time of year, holiday overlays and birthdays. Did we say birthdays? Indeed we did. Equipped with your MagicBand, those birthday and first time buttons will be purely for show (and the benefit of other guests) as anyone and anything equipped with a reader will instantly be aware of it.
In short, Disney will no longer be able to keep track of just how many times you’ve been to the Resort, but how many times you’ve visited each park, each attraction, eaten popcorn, and much, much more.
We have obtained what is essentially concept art for the next generation (NextGen) interactive queue for “it’s a small world” at the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort. Taking advantage of the NextGen infrastructure in which guests will be able to personalize their experiences at Walt Disney World, the “it’s a small world” interactivity begins at home. Using their computer or smart phone, guests will design their own “it’s a small world doll.” When they visit the attraction at the Magic Kingdom, monitors placed throughout the attraction will virtually ride along with the guest (or the monitors may be installed in the vehicles, this is an unknown at this time). Guests will also be able to send e-cards spotlighting their virtual trip aboard the happiest cruise to have ever sailed the seven seas.
Below is our gallery of art we have obtained for the NextGen queue which highlights some of the options available when creating the virtual doll (in the Mary Blair style, naturally) as well as some sample virtual postcards.
Pages of banter and speculation have arisen from the photo of the model of the new Fantasyland Fantasy Forest expansion at the Magic Kingdom ever since we first brought it to you (incidentally, you can see a close-up of the model’s Sleeping Beauty cottage in the spring 2010 issue of D23 magazine). Much of which has to do with the plans for Pixie Hollow, for which the model shows an attraction similar to a new one coming to Disney’s California Adventure, but some say said plans have since been scrapped in favor of a ‘next generation,’ interactive meet & greet with the Disney fairies.
Fuel for this speculation can also be found in this Inside Walt Disney Imagineering video released by Disney Parks back in August. You’ll find the element in question in the 2:16 – 2:22 range in which Tink herself makes an appearance.
So what is it? Thanks to newly granted US patent #7652824, we may just have been provided the answer.
The patent, titled System and/or method for combining images, looks at ways to ‘plus’ a very aged but still convincing theatrical effect known as Pepper’s ghost, which is often used in existing Disney attractions, most notably the Haunted Mansion. However, the patented system takes Pepper’s ghost well into the 21st century making use of computers to dynamically generate the interactive images and backgrounds that can be superimposed onto the reflective surface the guest is viewing, which also undoubtedly builds on existing technology used for Stitch and Crush interactive interactions already in the parks.
Essentionally this means that the next time you see Tinker Bell, she may literally appear right before your eyes. Allowing the physical elements to be dynamically moved, Tink can appear to be flying next to you or even in front and behind you. And that’s just the tip of the virtual iceberg.
Not only will you be able to vocally interact with Tink, but sophisticated sensors and technology will allow Tink to be able to dynamically determine how many guests are in the room with you, focus on various physical aspects of yours and follow your movements. She’ll literally be able to look you (or another member in your group) in the eye. She’ll be able to appear to touch you, interact in different ways such as visually appearing to place virtual Mouse Ears on your head (if you aren’t wearing them already) and more. She can even grow or shrink dynamically to be more suitable to your own (automatically determined) height. She may also be able to dynamically interact with physical objects such as laser pointers or bluetooth enabled devices.
Of course this is just one possible implementation of the patent. It can easily be adapted to shows or attractions, so there’s no telling where this technology may dynamically appear.