Walt Disney World Resort Replaces Characters with Screens

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A robot waving at Oga's Cantina may the 4th

Credit: Disney

The All-Star Sports hotel at the Walt Disney World Resort recently underwent a significant upgrade, but one of its newest additions might rub some guests the wrong way. Brought to Disney via AT&T, the Character Clicks kiosk is an impressive photo-op, but the video below from @magicalhijinx shows that it is essentially replacing the Character Meet and Greets.


Disney’s All Star Sports refurbment tour out now! Character Clicks was a great addition! #allstarsports #characterclicks #allstarresort #disneyresort #disneyworld @Disney Parks #disneyworldresorts #waltdisneyworld #disneytiktok

♬ original sound – Magical Hijinx (Demi)

The experience is something of an augmented reality photo booth utilizing virtual versions of Disney’s Meet and Greet Characters seen in the parks. The feature is certainly eye-catching, and the option for different photo variants is also unique, it’s hardly a substitute for the real thing.

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The official announcement from AT&T describes the experience as follows,

“Powered by AT&T 5G, guests can engage with this complimentary digital photo opportunity via the My Disney Experience app in the lobbies of Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort and Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort. Guests using a MagicBand, Disney MagicMobile Pass or Key to the World card can unlock the experience and link their photos to their Disney account.”

It’s an impressive feature to be sure, but it also feels like Disney is essentially replacing a core experience with a machine. It wouldn’t be the first time Disney has made drastic changes to save a buck.

Rise of the Machines at Disney World

Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps, as portrayed at Walt Disney World.
Credit: Disney

For the record, the Disney Character Meet and Greets have been an essential part of the whole Disney Parks identity since Disneyland first opened. As unlikely as it is that the Walt Disney Company would realistically be replacing performers with screens, technology is still evolving at the parks.

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Along with fixtures like Character Clicks, Disney has also shown interest in incorporating robotic interactions with some of their new attractions. As demonstrated by the Robocop Judy Hopps prototype at 2023’s SXSW, the parks are growing beyond the normal costumed characters.

Mickey Mouse character meet and greet at Fantasyland in Disneyland Paris
Credit: Disney

Logically, Disney will always have need for its human Imagineers and cast members, but there’s still something somewhat unsettling about changing such an essential fixture. It’s not like we’ve got a Freddy Fazbear scenario here, but the characters have proven dozens of times over that they help make the magic real for guests.

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The Meet and Greet locations will still be fully available at the parks from the Magic Kingdom, to EPCOT, and beyond. Hopefully the characters will still make surprise visits to the resorts as well, but this new feature might be the start of something big.

Do you think Disney will phase out their beloved Characters? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!


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