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MouseStation 352 - New from Walt Disney Imagineering

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On today's show, Steven Ng interviews Imagineer Kevin Rafferty about Carsland and Imagineer Josh Gorin about Animatronics.

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Feature: New from Walt Disney Imagineering

Interview: Kevin Rafferty

Steven caught up with Kevin at the Radiator Springs display at the D23 Expo.

The 12-acre land will have 3 attractions, plus food and merchandise locations, all themed to the town of Radiator Springs.

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree will features the little tractors from the tractor-tipping scene pulling trailers behind them in little whip-like attraction. You'll ride in the trailers.

Across the street at Luigi's Casa del Tires will be Luigi's Flying Tires, which are inspired by the old Flying Saucers ride at Disneyland. Luigi & Guido will turn on air compressors and you'll ride around in floating tires.

Radiator Springs Racers is the main draw for the land, taking up 6 acres. It will be tremendous on the scale of immersiveness, time spent with characters, detail, staging and more.

The ride unfolds like a 3-act play, where you will queue up against the backdrop of Ornament Valley as you see the story of Stanley, the town founder, who opened a number of businesses and kept expanding. One of his businesses, the Cozy Cavern Motor Court (as seen in the film) is the entrance to the attraction.

You'll meet all of the Cars characters as the sheriff invites you to go into town, as you head there, Mater drives backward in front of you while you follow him riding forward. You'll go tractor tipping and race away from Frank the threshing machine before you finally get to Radiator Springs. Once you arrive, Lightning and Sally welcome you and invite you to participate in today's race. They'll send you to get fitted out for racing at Luigi's or Ramone's before you actually go race.

You'll go through various scenes from the film, through a steamy cavern and Taillight Cavern with its rows of "stalaglights." Lightning & Mater welcome you back at the end of the race. The experience will always be changing, with different ways of getting fitted out and different race results, so it will not be same ride twice.

Kevin claims that this is the largest single attraction ever designed by Walt Disney Imagineering. The top of the Ornament Valley mountain range will be 85-90 feet tall.

The project broke ground on July 8 and Kevin is really excited about it.

Interview: Josh Gorin

Josh and the other Imagineers at the Disney Parks & Resort pavilion at the D23 Expo were wearing WED name badges to honor the past of Walt Disney Imagineering.

Some of the items on display included the original Lincoln animatronic from the 1964 New York World's Fair, some animation programming tools including original joystick that Walt Disney demonstrated on the Disneyland TV show promoting the Enchanted Tiki Room, and one of the original programming consoles used to program the Country Bear Jamboree & the Mickey Mouse Revue.

There was actually an "animator" from Walt Disney Imagineerng in Glendale creating animation for the new Lincoln show on the show floor. Imagineering calls those that bring a static figure to life an animator. Many animators are actually trained in classical animation before being introduced to the technology to bring Animatronics to life.

In an area called "The Workshop," Imagineering is premiering new mechanisms that guests can touch & feel. They also premiered Autonomatronics at D23 - "Otto" can read audience, detect facial expressions, age and gender, and adjust his performance accordingly. Otto uses cameras and image recognition to look for frowns & smiles and to tell men from women. They were playtesting at the exhibit to "train" Otto. They were also using voice recognition and other sensors to help bring Otto to life, The character is almost human yet also cartoonlike. The show was developed to demonstrate the technology. Otto starts out nervous, and the audience must show positive reaction to build his confidence.

Free roaming Animatronics WALL-E and Lucky were there for photo ops with guests.

Some of the technologies being shown are 5-10 years out before they show up in the parks, though some are coming soon like new Lincoln figure.

What do you think? Let us know by sending us an email or calling our toll-free feedback line (1-866-939-2278)!

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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).