New technology from Walt Disney Imagineering

by MouseStation Crew, staff writer

MouseStation 435 - New technology from Walt Disney Imagineering

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Show run time 0:43:43

On today's show, Mark interviews Imagineering Vice President Creative Research & Development Scott Trowbridge.

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Meet Mark this fall in Florida!

Do you want to meet Walt Disney World Resort Update editor Mark Goldhaber, but can't make it to the D23 Expo in California this week? Fear not, there's a fun event coming to Walt Disney World this fall. Join Mark on Sunday, November 13, at 4 p.m. through park closing for the Big Bad Voodoo Food-Do To-Do.

We'll wander the last day of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, sampling cuisines from around the world, taking pauses to watch each of the three performances by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (one of Mark's favorite groups) at 5:15, 6:30, and 7:45 p.m. on the final day of the Eat to the Beat concert series. After the last performance, we'll get one last snack, secure some international desserts, and then find a place to enjoy the evening's performance of Illuminations.

You can RSVP on Plancast, or by email. You can also just show up, but if Mark can snag some swag from the MouseAdventure goodie bag, he'll want to have enough for you! We'll select a starting point for our adventure in another month or so, so watch the Plancast plan or this page for that information. You can also follow @ on Twitter for updates on November 13 if you want to join the group later on in the day.

Calling all with a spirit of adventure!

Are you ready for MouseAdventure: World Explorers III? The third iteration of the scavenger hunt/puzzle quest/race through Walt Disney World's parks takes place on Saturday, November 12 at Disney's Hollywood Studios (the game has been going on at the parks of the Disneyland Resort for more than 10 years now). Do you think that you know Disney's Hollywood Studios? We bet you don't know them as well as you think you do. Test your wits against those of our puzzle masters. For more information, check out the MouseAdventure information page and sign up now.

The Kid's Bar Mitzvah Project

Mark's son (a.k.a. "The Kid") will be having his Bar Mitzvah at the end of October. For his Bar Mitzvah community service project, he has elected to raise money for the March of Dimes to help them promote research that can help more kids born prematurely like him. To raise that money, he is writing a new song for this project, and will send a CD with the new song and two more of his "greatest hits" to anyone that donates at least $5 to the March of Dimes on his fundraising page.

The Kid is actually a very talented musician and songwriter (though Mark helped out with the lyrics for this song), as demonstrated in the background music for Mark's discussion of this topic. Please consider donating to The Kid's fundraiser, and you too can own a copy of an original song written, performed, sung, and mixed by The Kid.

Tip of the Week

This week's tip comes via email from John Rodriguez, who wrote in with a tip to get three rides on Star Tours: The Adventures Continue. Mark has used the "get a Fastpass first thing in the morning and jump straight into the standby line" thing many times in the past. He really hasn't used the "jump into line just as they're closing the park" method much, but can see how it could be successful.

Feature: New technology from Walt Disney Imagineering

Mark interviews Imagineering Vice President Creative Research & Development Scott Trowbridge.

Mark talked with Scott about The Amazing Destini, an Imagineering development that's another leap forward in "living character" technology. Destini is a little robotic fortune teller character that uses lots of sensors, cameras, microphones, and so forth to form opinions of the guests around him, such as figuring out whether they're male or female, adult or child, alone or in a group, etc. Destini also uses the sensors to figure out how the guest is responding and will then react accordingly. Scott noted that, while Destini is an experimental platform, the technology will eventually be used very broadly to create aware spaces, aware character, ride systems, and so forth in order to improve guest experiences.

Imagineer Josh Gorin shows off The Amazing Destini and the technology behind him. MousePlanet video by Steven Ng.

Mark also asked Scott whether Imagineering will be returning to the World Science Festival, where Mark last interviewed Scott, and what new techologies displayed at the Festival were now in use at the parks. Scott noted that the coolest thing about attending the Science Festival was the reaction of those in the audience and in the interest in using Imagineering to boost interest in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), which led to the "Science of Walt Disney Imagineering" DVD series, most of which are hosted by Imagineer Asa Kalama. (you can buy them from Amazon, directly from Disney, or Best Buy.

Mark and Mike talked for a bit about what possible applications the Destini technology could be used for, such as adaptive ride experiences or interactive premium hotel rooms.

Thanks to Scott for talking with Mark at the Expo, and to Frank Reifsnyder for setting that up.

Let us know what you think Disney could do with the technology showcased in Destini!

Mark reminded everyone about a contest to give away two extra D23 Expo Guidebooks and six D23 Expo hand fans. Each Tip of the Week, Magical Moment, or Ask the Kid question that you submit will get you one entry, with a bonus second entry if you submit it on the voicemail line. You've got until September 24 to submit your entry, and the winners will be announced on the October 4 show.

Share your comments, tips, and Magical Moments!

Listener Feedback

John Rodriguez wrote in to tell us his Three Wishes for next construction at Disneyland.

  1. Tomorrowland: bring back the People Mover or remove the tracks completely; put a new movie in place of Captain EO; tear down Innoventions and replace it with an outer space type of attraction.
  2. Get rid of it's a small world and use the space for an expansion of Fantasyland.
  3. Bring back the Country Bear Jamboree.

@VanceCope commented via Twitter that he wished that the podcast was on Stitcher Radio. Guess what? We already are!

Jeremy wrote in to share his three wishes for Disneyland Resort, and to suggest that we do a show about the parks after dark. We definitely think that there's a show in that topic, and it may come up in the near future.

  1. Stop putting new lands that are specific to one movie.
  2. Put a new land into Disneyland, either north of the ranch and west of Toontown.
  3. Build a third gate.

Mark disagreed with Jeremy's assessment of Carsland as likely being short-lived, based on what he saw at D23.

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Wrapping up

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Thanks to our announcer, Andrew Rich, and to our sound editor and audio engineer, James Granger!

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