Evolving technologies have been an ever-present part of Disney’s identity, as Walt Disney’s original vision for Epcot® was far advanced from everything else considered mainstream at the time. From monorails to Magic Bands, Disney is often innovating in its parks, and there’s plenty on new technology horizon.
Smart Speakers in Resort Hotel Rooms
Smart speakers aren’t exactly a concept exclusively to Disney, but the company’s started testing them in select rooms at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. Requiring no setup, guests can ask the speakers for information like weather updates, park hours and bus times. It’s unknown when a full rollout might come to all the resorts, but if the surveys that guests in these rooms are asked to fill out return positive, it probably won’t be long.
Those who experienced the VOID have seen just how good virtual reality is in its early stages, as well as the potential it holds in the theme parks. That idea of interactive attractions is making its way to the new attraction Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, set to open when Galaxy’s Edge does later this year.
Interactivity is nothing new for the Disney parks, as it’s been seen on rides like Mission: Space® Attraction and Spaceship Earth, but the new Star Wars ride is borrowing some ideas from virtual reality and making it an experience unlike anything in the rest of the parks.
Each pod, or ride vehicle, holds six seats that place guests in one of three roles, putting them in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. There are around 200 switches and buttons in the cockpit, all of which do something. Guests inside the cockpit will have a complete 360-degree view of the world around them, quite literally transporting them to space. Each role will have a defined responsibility, the performance of which affects the outcome of the ride experience. That outcome will then impact the overall storyline of each guest’s time in Galaxy’s Edge, tying the ride experience to the world outside.
It’s truly something new not just for Disney, but for theme parks worldwide, and it begs the question of where that technology will surface next.
New Ride Vehicles
Epcot®’s first roller coaster, themed to Guardians of the Galaxy, is implementing a new type of ride vehicle. Disney calls it a storytelling coaster, as rather than the vehicle pointing forward the entire ride, it’ll turn guests to focus their attention on the storytelling aspects of the ride.
There will be plenty of room for the new storytelling mechanics, as the ride building is set to be big enough to house four of the park’s iconic Spaceship Earth attractions inside.
Featured image ©Disney.