Disney's new tricks to satisfy interactive expectations

Posted Monday, January 26, 2009 9:32 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Today's children, weaned on the Wii, Second Life and DVD "Easter eggs", look for more than the roller coasters and jerky automatons that entertained the youth of the 1970s. "The emerging generation expects more immersive, personal and interactive experiences in every facet of their lives," says Bruce Vaughn, chief creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering.

Read more from The BBC.

Monday, January 26, 2009 2:36 PM

Disney gets it. :)

That Kim Possible experience is very interesting. Definitely gonna have to try it next week. You could incorporate all kinds of themes around the idea.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Monday, January 26, 2009 2:42 PM
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Monday, January 26, 2009 2:53 PM

I think that's also the reason that people will spend whatever it takes to have the Disney experience.

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Monday, January 26, 2009 2:58 PM

So Disney is turning EPCOT into some type of meta-game?

The kiddies are gonna eat this crap up (and ask for extra sprinkles :)).

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Monday, January 26, 2009 3:09 PM

That Kim Possible Experience DOES sound very interesting. Too bad we aren't going to Disney this year when in Florida, but we'll definitely catch it next time.

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Monday, January 26, 2009 4:44 PM

We'll be giving Kim Possible a spin about two weeks after Gonch. I'm really looking forward to it---it sounds awesome.

If you haven't tried it yet, Turtle Talk with Crush is pretty amazing, as well. It's been out a couple years now--one in Epcot and one in DCA. It's basically a puppet, but done with computer animation instead of a real puppet---and completely interactive with kids in the audience, including facial expressions, etc. Even when you know how they do it, you forget.

The Monsters Inc. show in Magic Kingdom uses the same idea, but the theater is too large for the effect to really work well. Epcot's Crush theater is perfect for this.

Finally, we took a couple spins on Toy Story last May. Really excellent, a home run attraction in a park that sorely needed something everyone in the family could do together without boring someone or scaring someone else.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Monday, January 26, 2009 4:45 PM
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Monday, January 26, 2009 4:49 PM

I still prefer my interactive experience being limited to pulling down my lap bar. ;)

OK, I jest. And I must say that I really enjoy Buzz Lightyear and Toy Story Midway Mania out here. My son and wife agree. It is nice to be able to do stuff that we all enjoy.

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Monday, January 26, 2009 7:59 PM

They already had something along similar lines in AK, right? I seem to recall kids getting stamps or stickers or something to collect from the different "kids' experiences" throughout the park. Not sure, but I thought there was even a prize for getting through all of them.

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Monday, January 26, 2009 10:00 PM

I did a beta of Kim Possible back in December in the UK section of the World Showcase (when they only had it running in 2 countries) and it was definitely a pretty cool concept. I think the most amusing part was that we passed most of the "interactive attractions" this whole time and never new it actually functioned as part of Kim Possible.. Well done on Disney's part. Imagineers are very good at masking something until it needs to be revealed.

When we did it they had a long line of clues to discover. It was fun for a while then we soon got to the "when is this over" stage. The cast member friend of ours who got us into the beta mentioned that was a common remark and they were thinking of cutting some of the amount of tasks in the future for fear of kids losing interest before the missions are completed. I would be interested in what the other world showcase country missions are like, as the UK was the only one we completed.

I think most of my time was spent trying to figure out how the system worked more than accomplishing the tasks though.. But that's the technical side of me.

We are making a Valentines week trip down there. I will have to try another country.. Oh and of course Toy Story is in the cards, as the wife beat me last trip down.

Dont forget the Easter Eggs in Toy Story Gonchar! ;)

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Monday, January 26, 2009 11:40 PM

ridemcoaster said:
Dont forget the Easter Eggs in Toy Story Gonchar! ;)

Do I have to ask?

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 7:47 AM

I worked a scavenger hunt at JP in IOA in '01. A lot of parents didn't know anything about it, even though it was heavily promoted. I stood at the entrance to JP Island, trying to pass out clue cards. As friendly and approachable as I was, families didn't want anything to do with it. They thought I was trying to sell them something. I had better luck after I started including the words "free" and "included with admission" into my speil.

Not saying this will be the case with Kim Possible (which is a really crappy cartoon, imo.)

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 12:19 PM

Seems like the scavenger hunt idea taken to a whole different level. No cards or stamps or anything like that. From the article:

"Players report to a booth and are handed a fake mobile phone. As they navigate through, prompts tell visitors to go to certain spots in the park where the signal from the phone makes messages appear to help them with the quest. At one point a stuffed parrot comes to life to give players the latest clue. The idea is to have different missions to play in seven of the countries of Disney's Epcot Center."

From Disney's site:

"Upon reporting for duty, recruits receive their super-secret Kimmunicators—interactive, handheld, cell-phone-like devices that help maneuver agents through their mission. Using state-of-the-art technology, your Kimmunicator will connect agents with a variety of Kim Possible characters who will provide clues to help stop super villains from carrying out their dastardly plans.

Missions are designed with groups in mind and can last anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes. 2 to 4 agents can share a Kimmunicator. Kimmunicators even recognize when a team has broken away from the action—even secret agents need ice cream breaks—and will alter your mission accordingly.

Upon successfully completing your mission, you'll experience a secret finale event, and then you can return your Kimmunicator knowing that you've done your part to save the world."

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 2:59 PM

The article is spot on what KP involves. The cell looks like the older LG flip phones which they tell you at least 30 times, it will not work out of the park. Movie files play on it as you hit a destination it gives you a task and the magic happens (not going to spoil it any more than I probably did).

Because its so technical people wont shy away from it.. The big thing is the time involved.. It was about 45 mins for us and we went quickly through it. The potiential issue I noticed is if you go through it with others right ahead of you, you run the risk of seeing the clue ahead of time thus spoiling the fun of your hunt.

Since we were there during beta no one else was doing it, but now that its active you run that risk, so I would suggest you pick early in day or later in eve so you can have a better chance of experiencing it without people showing you the clue ahead of you or people on your heels.

All in all I thought it was technologically cool.

^^^
I will take "Do I have to ask" as asking.. :)

As far as Toy Story Easter Eggs Gonch.. During the Dart Scene you will see 2 clouds with balloons on it (it takes two people to be effective), but if you clear the balloons on both sides of the clouds at the same time (each person takes a cloud) you will be treated with a rain of lots of 2000 point balloons, which racks up the score nicely.. (270K for me). Each round has its own egg.. Ive discovered that and the alien ring toss "egg" (but wont spoil the fun of discovery for all.. the first time is free).. But thats all ive found so far.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 3:17 PM

Cool and cool. :)

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 4:25 PM

Without revealing much, it seems that all the Toy Story easter eggs involve "completion." Don't shoot randomly at crap all over the place. Pick specific areas or things, and concentrate on them individually.

IMO, that's the most re-rideable attraction in all of WDW. I got up to third place on my last trip, while helping my 2 year-old shoot from the other seat. If you get 2 adults on the same side and go in with a plan, you can blow the place away.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 7:12 PM

KP sounds something like Magiquest. Potterland at IOA is supposed to have something like this too. Sounds like fun!

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 7:29 PM

kpjb said:
IMO, that's the most re-rideable attraction in all of WDW.

Ahem... Speak for yourself, but I'd like to make mention of a little ride inside of a ball, that I'd like to call Spaceship Earth. :-D

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 7:45 PM

You haven't done Spaceship Earth until you've tried it in Japanese.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 7:49 PM

Also, lets not forget the Tower of Terror. Its got an endless set of programs, you never know what you are going to get!

But my vote really goes to Typhoon Lagoon's Typhoon Lagoon. I could stay in that thing for hours. Although Im not sure if a wave pool "counts."

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 8:03 PM

Wait, there's a Japanese version of Spaceship Earth?

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