Innovation is essential to The Walt Disney Company story, dating back to its inception nearly a century ago. This week, the company unveiled two new technological achievements destined to carry its theme park and resort guests’ imaginations into the future – the MagicBand+ wearable and the “Hey Disney!” voice assistant. Both cutting-edge innovations will debut in 2022 at Walt Disney World Resort as part of the vacation destination’s 50th anniversary celebration.
These innovations continue to build upon the Disney “theme park metaverse,” where technology is part of the magic – seamlessly integrating the physical, digital and virtual worlds to help guests navigate Disney properties and platforms. Here, guests immerse themselves in Disney stories, connect with characters they love and share unforgettable experiences with the world, creating new magic in ways only dreamed of before.
MagicBand+ unlocks new interactive experiences at Walt Disney World Resort
In 2013, Walt Disney World Resort introduced the MagicBand, a revolutionary way to make the guest experience in its theme parks and resorts more convenient and hands-free, including park and guest room entry, retail and dining, Disney PhotoPass and more. The next-generation MagicBand+ will retain those popular features and add new functionality to unlock experiential moments of magic throughout the Walt Disney World theme parks and resorts.
After a guest enters a theme park, MagicBand+ will come alive at various times with color-changing lights, haptic vibrations and gesture recognition, enhancing the environment’s immersive storytelling. The wearable will allow guests to engage with favorite Disney moments in new ways and discover new interactive experiences, including:
- Play like a bounty hunter in a galaxy far, far away and find virtual bounties throughout Black Spire Outpost in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
- Interact with the “Disney Fab 50 Character Collection,” the golden sculptures spread throughout the Walt Disney World theme parks.
- Experience nighttime spectaculars in a new way as they see their bands light up and complement the magic in the skies, including the new “Harmonious” at EPCOT and “Disney Enchantment” at Magic Kingdom Park.
More details about MagicBand+ and its capabilities will be revealed in the future. The wearable will be available for purchase beginning next year. MagicBand+ will be available at a discounted, pre-arrival price for Disney Resort hotel guests, as well as new and renewing Walt Disney World Annual Passholders. Current MagicBands will continue to be available, as well, along with the complimentary Disney MagicMobile service that extends MagicBand features, such as park entry, to smart devices.
‘Hey Disney!’ Adds Magic to Amazon Alexa and Echo
The history of The Walt Disney Company is full of successful corporate collaborations, producing innovative experiences everywhere from World’s Fairs to Tomorrowlands to the pavilions of EPCOT and beyond. Now Disney is creating its own custom voice assistant using Alexa technology for supported Amazon Echo devices. Called “Hey Disney!”, this voice assistant will work alongside Alexa to respond to vocal prompts, bringing Disney characters and stories to life in magical new ways to make guest stays more convenient, engaging and enjoyable.
“Hey Disney!” will begin rolling out in Disney Resort hotel guest rooms across Walt Disney World in 2022 as part of the vacation destination’s 18-month 50th anniversary celebration. Access will be offered as an optional, complimentary feature during guest stays. “Hey Disney!” will make the services Alexa users know and love – weather forecasts, timers, alarms, etc. – magical with the help of popular characters such as Mickey Mouse, Olaf, C-3PO and many more.
“Hey Disney!” also features an all-new character, the Disney Magical Companion, who will help guests discover more than a thousand magical interactions, such as hearing special greetings and jokes from authentic Disney character voices, asking trivia questions and exploring audio environments inspired by Disney films and destinations. Disney Resort guests will be able to learn helpful information about their vacation (“Hey Disney! When does the next bus to EPCOT depart?”), order room amenities (“Hey Disney! Can we have some extra towels?”) and more.
“Hey Disney!” will be available for purchase for supported Amazon Echo devices via the Amazon Alexa Skills store, inviting Disney fans to make every day at home more magical. In addition, Amazon is announcing the availability of two new exclusive Mickey-inspired stands for the Echo Show 5; these durable OtterBox Den Series stands feature the iconic Mickey ears in playful designs inspired by either Mickey’s 50th anniversary celebration outfit (which will be found in Disney Resort hotel rooms) or his classic red shorts.