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Are Robot Character Meet and Greets in Disney’s Future?

Disney Character Robots

Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro gave the attendants of South by Southwest (SXSW 2023) a glimpse at the latest way Walt Disney Imagineering is able to bring characters to life, and one has to wonder what this new technology means for Cast Members.

josh d'amaro sxsw

We recently shared a video of Mr. D’Amaro debuting a prototype android of what appears to be Judy Hopps from Walt Disney Animation’s Zootopia, in Austin, Texas. While the bipedal bot demonstrated its ability to control a fall and pick itself back up, D’Amaro explained that the robot is designed to establish an emotional connection with Guests. Click the link below to read more about that story.

Judy Hopps Roller Skating Robot

Credit: Disney

Read More: VIDEO: Disney Unveils Stunning New Roller Skating Robot!

Ever since Walt started W.E.D. Enterprises, his magic makers have led the way in animatronics. In fact, Disney invented the word animatronic. But the technology has always required the use of human Cast Members to bring the movie characters to life, both “face” characters (Disney Princesses) and “furry” characters (Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, etc.). Could that all change in the near future?

Due to factors of human nature such as height relative to age, characters have always been a little disproportioned compared to the appearance in the movie, and all “furry” characters, save for one experimental Mickey Mouse, are mute. There are also other more legal-related matters, such as a man in his 20s portraying 12-year-old Peter Pan.

Characters 50th anniversary

Credit: D23

Advancements in robotics could finally be a remedy for these imperfections while elevating the level of magic experienced. The addition of robot-based character experiences could also bring an end to some of the darker situations like sexual or verbal harassment.

At this point, however, it is still too soon to really tell how much further animatronics will progress in the Disney Theme Parks. But it does seem clear that they will be planning to integrate them into the Park experience sooner rather than later.

About T.K. Bosacki

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, TK Bosacki is a professional writer, amateur adventurer, and lifelong Disney Fanatic. His Disney Park days include Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Nomad Lounge. He believes in starting at the Canada pavilion (IYKYK), and the Monorail is superior to all Ferry Boats.

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