First Look at the Tech That Will Change Disney Forever

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Walt on the Ernest S. Marsh, Train, on the Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad

Credit: Disney

Disney is no stranger to groundbreaking technology. Their Imagineering team has been a pioneer in show and entertainment, with audio-animatronics, projection mapping, a patent for a glasses-less 3D experience, and more. Disney even stepped into the hologram game with the debut of Rise of the Resistance, which features a stunning Rey hologram in the preshow.

However, Disney’s latest step in the world of holography is here, and it will likely change the game forever.

Daisy Ridley's Rey as a Hologram on Rise of the Resistance
Credit: Inside the Magic

This year, Disney is celebrating 100 years of the Walt Disney Company. The celebration is planned to be filled with new additions to the parks, new films and television shows, and a look back at all of the people who made Walt Disney’s dream possible. Now, through new Disney technology, some of those people are going to get to hear from Walt for the first time.

Disney100: The Exhibition begins its journey worldwide on February 18 at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute. The experience promises a rare look back at Disney’s 100 years of magic, and some glimpses into what the future may hold. Yesterday, it was announced in the New York Times that Disney has created a hologram of Walt himself to introduce the exhibition alongside his most beloved creation, Mickey Mouse.

Walt and Mickey at Disneyland
Credit: Disney

Disney combined archival footage of Walt with AI tools to create the hologram. It is a full-sized digital avatar that speaks new dialogue in Walt’s voice. Speculation on what the hologram would look like was abuzz, and this morning, Good Morning America gave us our first look at the newly realized Walt Disney.

Journalist Scott Gustin reposted the GMA clip. Check out the clip below!

Reactions to the lifelike hologram are mixed. In general, it’s been praised for the marvel of technology that it is and for giving people the opportunity to experience who Walt Disney was outside of pictures and video. However, some comment that there’s something slightly off about the projection, whether it be his facial expressions, hand movements, or simply the uncanniness of fully animating someone who isn’t really there.

Walt Disney Studios - Dinsey100 Logo
Credit: Disney

This could potentially be a glimpse into technology Disney will use in future rides or entertainment offerings – imagine a dark ride character who could interact with riders in real time as they ride by. Either way, whether it’s out of celebration or curiosity, we know people are going to flock to experience Walt in person and see how the Disney dream continues on.

What do you think of the Walt Disney hologram? Let us know in the comments!

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