Disney made all sorts of headlines last year with its best-ever box office haul, thanks in no small part to the likes of Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But there’s an even more profitable sector of the company: Disney Parks and Resorts, which is in charge of all the various theme park, cruise line, and resort vacation destinations across the entire globe. This division is also expected to benefit from these big-name IPs, such as next decade’s Star Wars Land in both Florida and California and, of course, this summer’s Pandora: The World of Avatar in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom park.
As it turns out, however, Parks and Resorts has something even more exciting in mind than handcrafted bioluminescent forests at night or a Millennium Falcon ride – something which could define the next generation of immersion and ensure a whole new round of record-breaking profits.
The Orlando Business Journal has the scoop on a new patent Disney recently filed that would present a whole new way of controlling its themed attractions. By either monitoring a passenger’s facial expressions and body language or by utilizing radio-frequency devices, such as Disney World’s MagicBand bracelets, the company could change up a ride’s contents in real-time. If a guest is getting bored by the experience, the automated ride vehicle could increase its speed and throw in some spins to lighten things up; if she is getting motion sickness, it could slow down and display more serene scenery.
There’s actually quite a bit of additional functionality packed into the paperwork. These self-driving cars could be used strictly for transportation purposes, turning all their themed thrills off, or they could help occupants track down hidden items for a Disney-supplied Easter egg hunt or increase the number of advertisements displayed, such as for a restaurant back at the guest’s on-site hotel. It’s an incredibly flexible technological platform to use.
There are two levels of possibilities with this. The first would mean that re-ridability could be made literally infinite; Star Tours: The Adventures Continue can already be updated with content from, say, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which makes huge swaths of tourists ready to hop on it again – and that’s just switching up one specific part of the story. If the entire experience could be altered nearly each and every time one jumps aboard, it’s a whole new ball game for themed entertainment, generally, and for all the Marvel- and Star Wars-focused content, specifically.
Secondly, however, are the implications for all the other segments of The Walt Disney Company – synergy is the new name of the corporate game, and you better believe that Disney’s senior management is already thinking of ways to infuse this exponentially customizable technology into its theatrical, cruise line, television, and film businesses. After all, Disney has already been approached by other companies about taking its MagicBand – that little piece of tech that functions as a theme park ticket, credit card, hotel room key, ride reservation system, and geolocation tracker – and licensing it for use in casinos and airports, among other “closed” locations. The future could very well be emotion-based.
Source: Orlando Business Journal