With so much going on at in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, it’s hard to realize that other major projects are underway. Here are some things that I’ve come to find out regarding Next Gen-style activities underway.
Virtual crabs in the queue at The Little Mermaid is nice, but it's barely scratching the surface of what is to come.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Wilderness Explorers. Testing has been ongoing on this for some time–even more than a year ago. There was some thought that after Agent P was put in, it would come right after. But the work to put it in has not yet commenced. Figure that sometime in 2013 we will be able to sign up to explore with Russell–but not yet.
Epcot: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure. While guests really gravitate toward Phineas and Ferb, they are somewhat disappointed that much of the experience seems so similar to Kim Possible’s World Showcase Adventure. The good news I’ve heard is that new villains are arriving in three of the countries of World Showcase sometime in the next month or so. That should provide new twists and experiences for all to enjoy.
There's a lot of interest in Agent P. But it still isn't as much as the original interest in Kim Possible.
Magic Kingdom: Pirates Adventure: Jewels of the Seven Seas. It is true that this RFID experience will make the Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland into an interactive playground. Other sites like Theme Park Insider have commented on the idea that “guests would be able to shoot the cannons on top of the Pirates of the Caribbean fortress queue, interact with animatronic idols, parrots and snakes, and search for and open a treasure chest that has been left somewhere in Adventureland.” What has come to my attention is that there are actually two versions of that game, one being much more interactive than another. It is also more expensive than any other in a price point that is somewhere between a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo Makeover and Wild Africa Trek. I also heard that the treasure might just be…the treasure. You may be walking away with a very expensive keepsake.
Disney’s Story Maker. The really big project up ahead is one that will involve all of the parks. This is Disney’s Story Maker. Those with the RFID bracelets will be able to experience dozens of interactive moments throughout the parks, and use them to create some sort of keepsake/takeaway. The details of this are sketchy, but what I’ve come to understand is that this is really a unique experience that guests will want to participate in. Not sure the time frame. This will take a while to install around all four parks.
And I’ve heard this is only the tip of the iceberg. Remember that the investment here is well over one billion dollars. And while it’s spread out among all parks over the long haul, its impact has to be more a couple of interactive games, and keyless hotel entry. As an investment it has to make a return, and there’s more to come.
Selling t-shirts is nice, but Next Gen has got to make a lot more money than that.
Those of you looking for something new at DisneyQuest, may just find out that DisneyQuest is really coming to the parks. It’s that immersive, and it’s that interactive. And it’s costing Disney a pretty penny.