The official Disney Parks blog today announced that commencing today — and barring any technical issues — Mickey Mouse will not only be meeting and greeting with guests at the Magic Kingdom, but conversing them as well, marking a new major milestone in a very lengthy history of attempting to bring characters to life in all new ways ahead of full NextGen technology implementation.
Earlier today, at the All Things Digital conference, Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Tom Staggs took the stage to speak on the MyMagic+ experience being developed for Disney Parks, following a brief introduction to the system by Edna Mode of Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles (video of appearance available here). Staggs spoke about the experience, beginning with online reservations for activities and dining — even suggesting guests will be able to order their entire meal online so service will start immediately upon arrival at the restaurant — and other perks guests can expect to receive with the system’s MagicBand, given specific permissions. One such example is that Staggs confirmed (as we have long suspected and promoted) characters at meet and greets will know guests’ names automatically. To that end, Staggs also talked about the talking Mickey Mouse technology that is under development by Walt Disney Imagineering and has promised he too will come along for the experience. In addition, Staggs also talked about how attractions such as “it’s a small world” will be modified to include acknowledging celebrations of a guest during the actual ride through. He also talked about how the band (which uses a combination of BlueTooth and RFID technology) will be customizable through items he compared to Crocs’ jibbitz.
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.
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.