New Technology Puts Disney Parks at Risk – Inside the Magic

in Technology, Walt Disney World

Credit: Denver Post
One of the big things Disney Imagineering is known for at the Parks is revolutionizing the world of audio-animatronics. For decades, Walt Disney and his team incorporated these mechanical marvels into nearly all of their attractions and changed the theme park industry in the process. However, their days might be numbered.
With access to newer and more adaptable technology, Disney has been relying less and less on animatronics and more on projections and environmental effects. While there is definitely a place for things like that (we’re talking about you, Cosmic Rewind), it seems like Disney is becoming too reliant on screens.
One of the biggest complaints about modern theme park rides, in and out of Disney, is the heavy use of screens and projections to create the ride’s effects. That might work on certain attractions, but several fans have called Disney out for the excess of this new technology. Even one of Disney’s biggest traveling exhibits for Disney100 is essentially a giant room-sized projection.
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The introduction of this technology is indeed a double-edged sword, and Disney Park Guests aren’t blind to the issue. A recent post on r/WaltDisneyWorld addressed this issue directly, and several fans had something to say.
Not missing a beat, u/harmacist87 writes,
“Yeah, I think screens are becoming to much of crutch for theme parks at the moment. They are being used to cut costs and it may eventually bite them. I don’t mind screens so much if they are used to enhance the ride but I do if they are the ride…”
And u/BespinFatigues1230 adds,
“I much prefer actual physical set pieces to screens …screens lack the “magic” of animatronics and physical sets…”
The argument for anti-screens is pretty much the consistency of the comments above, but there are some Disney World Guests that take up a more defensive perspective. A few fans argue that screens have some advantages animatronics do not.
u/Judgy_Garland writes,
“Yes, but I think one would agree that the way screens are used in certain WDW attractions are not only immersive, but necessary for the attraction’s storytelling. With screens, characters can move with you through the scenes. Animatronics are somewhat limiting in that regard.”
And u/fireball_jones comments,
“I think it’s good to have a mix. I enjoyed Flight of Passage almost as much as say, Expedition Everest, but my kid loved Flight 10x what I did and hated Everest. And something like Ratatouille is way better than that creepy projected face Frozen ride.”
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In the famous words of Mufasa, all things exist together in a delicate balance. It’s okay that Disney is utilizing newer and more adaptable technology, but they shouldn’t forget the cornerstone on which their theme park attractions are built. Screens are fine if there’s a lot to see, but not as a substitute for true Disney Imagineering.
What are your thoughts on Disney’s screen use? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!
Zach Gass is a writer from East Tennessee with a passion for all things under the Disney name. From Disney history to the careers of Mickey, Donald, and Goofy, Zach tries to keep his finger on the pulse of the mouse. While he would certainly love to see the parks around the globe, his home park will always be the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. When he’s not rubbing elbows with Mickey, Zach enjoys reading fantasy novels, retro video games, theatre, puppetry, and the films of Tim Burton.
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