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Living Characters Initiative: Talking Mickey spotted at Meet & Greet

#1 User is offline   surfpark 

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 01:23 AM

A talking Mickey character has been tested in Disneyland at the character meet and greets. This adds a whole new dimension to the meets. It's like an animatronic meets Turtle Talk with Crush. Amazing.

Check out the YouTube videos:

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=qyHIdr1aM7s

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=d6k2xdtU8Wc

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#2 User is offline   yulilin 

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 06:26 AM

Very cool. Just when I don't have to explain to my kids why Mickey doesn't talk. I guess I can still take my nephews.
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#3 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 10:59 AM

I saw these videos earlier this morning and this is really, really cool. I hope this tech is rolled out soon to all characters and across property.
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#4 User is offline   MaxiBarns 

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 04:39 PM

I think my kids would have passed out if Mikey had really spoken to them :D About age 5 both of my kids (five years apart) started saying, "There's a person in there right?" I wonder what this technology will do to this perception?!
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#5 User is offline   COH#1fan 

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 06:26 PM

I just got through watching the vids, and I must say this looks so real its scary, but in a good way. I wonder how they'd get Brett Iwan's voice in? Is it live or is it Memorex? And more importantly, will they release this in time for the New Fantasyland's opening?
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#6 User is offline   darthstich 

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 08:52 PM

Wow i guess all the Tech has slowly fallen into place. It was only time before someone put 2+2 together
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#7 User is offline   IndyandMarion 

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 08:09 AM

Disney has had this for 20 years according to a patent found:

http://www.stitchkingdom.com/disney-news/t...ology-20-years/
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#8 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 10:47 AM

My wife found it really creepy. :lol:
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#9 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 12:19 PM

Some people are finding it really creepy. I really like it. It's technology like this that really drives me to the theme parks. It's looks pretty simple on the outside, but underneath that Mickey head I'm sure there's a lot going on.

Can't wait to see it in person.
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#10 User is offline   surfpark 

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 01:42 PM

I wouldn't call it creepy, but it does add that element of life that we're not expecting. For the most part, Disney characters are props for our photos. Their movement is limited and we are not threatened by their thoughts or personalities. Having him talk makes him more "real" and that is creepy. It is like having your stuffed animal come to life. Now instead of the short exchanges and pantomimes, we can have more thought-out conversations.

On the official Disney Parks blog, they've posted another video: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2010...-three-testing/

If you read the comments in that post, one of the writers responds to a post about how quickly Disney will bring talking characters to the park. The writer says it is a long ways off. I understand why. Living characters are part actor and part puppeteer. My guess is that it might take an additional person or two. Additional considerations include powering the puppet, training the voice actors, and assembling teams to work specific characters.

For the most part, I think it looks very promising. If costs or technical hurdles make it a challenge for meet and greets, it would be great to see in stage shows at least. I'm thinking Fantasmic or Beauty and the Beast....

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#11 User is offline   GSYdonkey 

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 12:24 PM

I'm still trying to get the fact that they're robots through my head

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#12 User is offline   MJMcBride 

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 07:57 PM

i think its great myself. my kids loved it
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#13 User is offline   surfpark 

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 07:31 PM

Stitch Kingdom is reporting that Disney had a patent for this technology for almost 20 years. http://www.stitchkingdom.com/disney-news/t...ology-20-years/

The article also postulates as to why this is happening now. Their guess is a combination of management shifts and technology catching-up. It looks like there is a voice changer that allows the performer to talk in real-time. Taking a look at the PDF of the filing, I noticed the battery pack. How heavy is that? Yikes. It looks like a space suit is less complicated.

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#14 User is offline   HDLady 

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 05:44 AM

Very well done from a technology & acting perspective but I'm not sure if I like Mickey talking or not. I kind of enjoyed the pantomime aspect of the non-talking character but I think kids will find the talking one easier to communicate with.
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