Next Generation Experiences, Part 2
An update to an earlier post talking about what Disney is calling “Next Generation Experiences“. Jason Garcia at The Orlando Sentinel posted an article yesterday about what is apparently some super secret projects taking place in the “Next Generation Experiences” group that was setup last month and headed by Jim Macphee. You can read it here. Lance Hart at Screamscape also had a few things to say about it as well, and you can see his comments here. Disney is apparently spending from $1 to $1.5 Billion, yes BILLION dollars on this new project! I should point out, in case you don’t remember, that the projected cost of the fix/repair of Disney’s California Adventure was reported to be around $1.2 to $1.4 billion and if I remember correctly, the cost of building Animal Kingdom was right around $1 billion dollars, but that was 10 years ago. Essentially, they’re planning to build a new park, or they could in theory. In actuality, while not building a new park, it’s been said that they’re hoping the changes that they’re working on will be a game changer for the resort, similar in the way that Magical Express was, or even an actual new park would be.
As stated, the project is super secret and the small group of people working on it have been required to sign confidentiality agreements that forbids them from talking to anybody, including other members of the company not involved with the project. Rumors are still circulating that at least part of the project will involve the use of RF technology in new and creative ways that will give guests a much more immersive and interactive experience at WDW. I should add that this is controversial as well and is being discussed on several Disney fan message boards. Opponents argue that it’s an invasion of privacy that will give Disney the ability to see almost everything you do while at their resort. While this is true, it’s hardly sinister. Using RFID to track guests movements could streamline some things and make them more efficient, like transportation and crowd control which will ultimately lead to a better experience for all guests. Ultimately, I think all Disney really cares about is how you’re spending your time and money while visiting and finding new ways of getting you to spend even more money. I really don’t see a problem with this or the current finger scanning (not finger print) devices in use which some have voiced privacy issues with as well. So, call me naive if you disagree, but I see nothing malicious or evil about this.
I’m going to make another prediction and say that I think we will see some of these new Next Gen innovations possibly as early as this summer. I would expect to see Disney start rolling out some new perks to their guests in an effort to stem the tide for the coming Harry Potter land and attractions that will be coming online later this year. It’s not much of a stretch, but I’ll take it further and add that I think that the “Next Gen Experience” will change the way guests “do” Disney in the future. How so? Well, I wish I knew, but knowing Disney and their past history of great innovations in the theme park industry, I expect it will be impressive.