We talk a lot about how Disney is on the cutting edge of technology — and that’s true — but that’s not the only tool they have in their kit.
Combine Disney’s advanced technologies and engineering with expert business models and a company-wide market value of almost $200 billion, and you’ve got a company that’s poised to morph the entertainment world forever — and that’s just what Disney is attempting to do. Here are three ways Disney is changing the way YOU experience entertainment!
1. Personalized Experiences
You might remember when we first introduced you to the Disney Metaverse a few months ago. The official definition of The Disney Theme Park Metaverse is: “A shared magical world, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space.” Or, “converged experiences” created through the combination of technological and physical experiences.
The Metaverse has been a progression of Disney’s storytelling pretty much since the beginning, it just hasn’t always had a name. It’s already taken us through linear storytelling (like you’d see at The Enchanted Tiki Room), interactive storytelling (like you’d see on Toy Story Mania), and immersive storytelling (we see it in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge).
What’s the next step in the Metaverse? PERSONALIZED storytelling. You know how it feels to walk among Batuu (Disney World and Disneyland’s immersive setting of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge) as a visitor, but what about when that immersive environment reacts to YOU personally and makes you a character in the story?
Ultimately, this looks like systemic innovation that allows Disney to closely track, manipulate, and individualize every guest’s experience in a personalized environment. The “world” created by Disney would directly respond to your actions and REMEMBER them for future encounters. And personalized storytelling is happening soon. In fact, we’re going to see it on Galactic Starcruiser, Disney World’s upcoming in-universe and in-story Star Wars hotel.
Beyond that, the Metaverse is not limited to the theme parks. As we’ll talk about in a moment, Disney is creating a relationship between their media like never before. The goal of the metaverse is to bring personalized storytelling everywhere, even to your own home.
Hard to believe that in a few short years we could find ourselves interacting with artificial intelligence characters or human performers who have access to a database that allows them to interact with us on a personal level, encounter after encounter. We’ll be able to tell our own Star Wars story in the park, and maybe one day an Avengers story, pirate story, or princess story. This kind of thing has hardly been done before — and definitely not on a financial or technological level of Disney.
2. Synergistic Entertainment
Disney is weaving experiences together in a way that is totally new — and doable ONLY because of the sheer power of the company’s intellectual properties and other assets.
For example, the overarching use of Batuu across media has never been done before. Not only can you VISIT Batuu at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, you can read about it in books, and you can see pieces of it in video games and TV shows (Heck, you can explore an almost-perfect replica of theme park Batuu in the Sims 4).
Disney theme parks have always had attractions based on movies, but never so intertwined with existing and FUTURE media. One way that Disney has already woven future media into the theme parks is the way the Mandalorian’s helmet debuted in Galaxy’s Edge before the show premiered.
That makes Disney’s film and streaming titles very valuable. Falling in love with The Mandalorian could mean booking a trip to Disney World just to walk around in the immersive universe. This can also be considered with the Avengers. What’s more important to Disney at this point? Avengers Endgame making $3 billion dollars, or Avengers Endgame acting as a 3-hour commercial for Disneyland’s upcoming Avengers Campus land? The answer is likely both. Such big-budget and synergistic media models are aimed at becoming money machines.
When you think about how tightly knit these synergies are becoming — and they’re only going further, wait until we can STAY in the Star Wars universe on Galactic Starcruiser — you start to wonder how much is a top tier attraction REALLY worth to Disney. Is Rise of the Resistance worth as much to Disney as a new iPhone is to Apple?
Rise of the Resistance was the cherry on top of a $1 billion theme park expansion. It’s possible it cost tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars. But when you think of the draw the attraction brings in getting people to the parks, that’s only a piece of the worth.
Every group that rides has to download the My Disney Experience app to access the Virtual Queue. Many folks probably exit the ride wanting to watch the Star Wars films; maybe they go home and subscribe to Disney+. They’re probably buying a ticket to watch that next Star Wars film in theaters. That’s a lot of cash flow, and it could last as long as the ride is considered novel — or longer.
And this synergy is only growing. We recently spotted a patent for a rewards-based system that would tie a mobile game in with rewards found around the theme parks. You want those rewards? You better book a Disney ticket.
At this point, Disney has modeled its business so that an investment in one sector is an investment in most if not all of their other sectors. Theme parks, films, streaming, video games, physical products — Disney is working towards a world where these things could all be constantly working together to bring in more consumers and make more money.
3. Reactive Technologies
So how else do we introduce a personalized environment? In the past, tech has allowed us to interact with the theme parks; the world is ours to play in. The future holds a world where the theme parks interact with us first. The guest no longer has to be the initiator and it’s all systemically organized to create a personalized AND synergized experience.
Say, for instance, you watch Star Wars and fall in love with the idea of the force. You book your ticket to the Star Wars Hotel (Galactic Starcruiser) and dive headfirst into the Star Wars world for yourself. Disney has developed robotics that allow you to use the force; that’s a system created specifically to provide you a personalized experience based on one of your priorities from Disney’s synergy model.
On top of that, artificial intelligence is helping to create robotic characters that can interact with us without any human involvement. Pair that with robotics that allow actual-size realistic movements of characters, and you’re looking at a pretty insanely real-feeling experience. Like, an actual-size Judy Hopps standing right in front of you real — talking and walking.
Hook your very realistic Judy up to that hypothetical personalized database from before and suddenly, she knows your favorite color and remembers the last time she saw you. It sounds hyper futuristic, but the tech is in the works.
Much of the potential results we’ve talked about is still a ways down the road, but every single one of these items is in the works from a tech and business perspective at Disney. The way we experience entertainment could be wildly different in ten years — and Disney wants to have a major hand in that.
We’re not sure what the future holds, but these efforts make us pretty darn excited to find out. As always, keep an eye on DFB for all of the latest tech and business updates from Disney; plus, what they mean for YOU!
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What do you think of these major business and tech efforts? Tell us in the comments!