Disney Parks has just debuted some brand new technology that could change character meet-and-greets forever.
This week, for the first time, Disney Parks took center stage at South by Southwest (SXSW), an annual convention of conferences and festivals that highlight advancements in the entertainment industry, including technology, film, music, art, and culture. As the conference kicked off this week, Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro invited Imagineers to showcase the latest in Disney entertainment innovation.
Previously, at last year’s D23 convention, Disney unveiled the new Hulk walkaround character that now appears at Avengers Campus in Disney’s California Adventure. At SXSW, they announced that the character would also soon appear at Disneyland Paris. Hulk greeted conference-goers and showed off the stunning exoskeleton costume that allows performers to bring larger-than-life characters, well, to life.
Imagineers also showed off the other end of the spectrum – a new way of interacting with Disney’s smallest characters. They used a lantern to talk to a miniature Tinker Bell inside. Using special technology, Guests can have a real-time conversation with Tinker Bell without having to shrink down to the size of a pixie themselves. Perhaps we could see this technology used for other tiny characters like the cast of Toy Story. This also comes off the heels of the previously debuted walking Groot animatronic, which has yet to make an appearance in the Parks.
Perhaps most impressively, SXSW conference-goers got the first look at a brand-new robot prototype. It was built with the intent of bringing characters to life in a whole new way – the robot can do dynamic movements like sitting down, getting up, and even doing a somersault! Photos of the robot up close reveal the face sculpt is very similar to that of Judy Hopps from Zootopia (2018). While Judy Hopps has already appeared as a costumed character in Disney Parks, with the upcoming Zootopia-themed land at Shanghai Disneyland, it’s possible that Shanghai Disneyland Guests will be able to interact with a true-to-size Judy Hopps in a whole new way.
Check out a video of the brand-new robot in action below!
“Life’s a little messy. We all make mistakes.” – Judy Hoppspic.twitter.com/3XiATUOv8E
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) March 10, 2023