Disney Facing Backlash After Latest Reveal

in Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World


Credit: u/deldredge2008

Disney’s Imagineering department has always been the top of the theme park game. With new rides, vehicles, mechanisms, and techniques created every year, how can they not be? However, their latest piece of innovative technology could prove dangerous for the Guests and character performers.

The new Judy Hopps robot on stage at SXSW
Credit: Disney

At this year’s SXSW, Disney gave audiences a glimpse into their new developments for animatronic characters possibly designed for Meet and Greets, and jaws hit the floor at the reveal. The company is truly making strides in entertainment technology, but that could have serious consequences for Guests.

Related: Disney Gives Iconic Orlando Attraction Major Update

That might sound like an ominous warning of a robot uprising at the Magic Kingdom, but what’s really on the line with this new development is a core experience to any Disney trip. As impressive as these new developments are, Disney might be changing the way we experience Character Meet and Greets.

Disney Phasing Out Meet and Greets

young girl hugs Cinderella at meet and greet at Disneyland
Credit: Disneyland Resort

While it’s definitely too early to tell at this point, we could be looking at a new evolution for Disney’s Meet and Greets. As cool as a screen-accurate Judy Hopps or Tinkerbell might be, it’s taking away an experience only the character performers offer. Disney might be sacrificing a genuine connection with their audience in favor of innovation.

Related: Classic Disney Attraction Opens After Serious Difficulties

The new technology might be impressive, and it is indeed a major step forward in the field of robotics in or out of Disney, but the character Meet and Greets have been a Park and vacation essential since Walt’s day. Taking away that human element of the characters is taking away a massive part of what makes a trip to the Disney Parks so magical.

Not only that, but consider the Cast Members who create some of the most memorable experiences for Guests by playing these characters. The SXSW reveal was impressive, but it could lead to Disney literally replacing their employees with robots. That should be a scary thought for anyone.

Should Disney Fans be Concerned?

Credit: Disney

We’ve covered this subject in a previous article, and fans soon started sharing their concerns on the matter. Needless to say, the new technology from Disney  has already received a quick serving of backlash.

“Patti” makes a very apt point when they write,

“I think something like this will scare little kids. A lot are nervous enough with humans in costumes, but the humans inside can see that and base their interaction on that. AI characters will only be able to do so much to alleviate negative human reactions.”

To which “Gary” agrees and adds,

“Someone in costume can see that the little one might be a little scared and change his or her way of doing things while something computer controlled might not. If it was me I would still have people in most of the characters and have computer controlled in the smaller characters.”

And “Nancy” says it best when they add,

“I have movies of my small children so excited to see the characters. They ran up and hugged them! Robots just aren’t the same as people interacting with children! This is a really messed up idea, Disney. Save your money and pay your costumed employees instead.”

What Comes Next?

Mickey Meet and Greet Available at Tokyo Disney
Credit: Tokyo Disney

Fans and future guests should keep in mind that this isn’t something set in stone, nor is it something that’s happening in the near future. The technology is indeed an impressive advancement, but it’s still in the embryonic stages. The reality of the matter is that Guests will still be able to get a hug from Mickey and a selfie with Tinkerbell for years to come, but Disney should still tread lightly down this innovative path.

Do you think Disney’s Meet and Greets are in danger? Tell us at Inside the Magic in the comments below!




in Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

Comments Off on Disney Facing Backlash After Latest Reveal