Four Recent Disney Patents That Could Change Theme Parks Forever

Disney is pretty well-known for pushing the envelope when it comes to theme park technologies.

Hondo Ohnaka

From animatronics that blow our minds to projections that brings Cinderella Castle to life in wonderful ways, we’re big fans of Disney tech and the minds behind it. Now, we’re bringing you four recent patents that could change theme parks forever, and you have to see some of this tech to believe it.

Here are four mind-blowing recent Disney inventions!

1. Legged High-Dexterity Self-balancing Capable Robot Actor

The first patent we’re going to look at is for a “Legged High-dexterity Self-balancing Capable Robot Actor.” That means a robot that’s capable of standing on its own without support structures and moving in a realistic fashion — with legs!


These robots would be programmed to move, similar to the way animated characters are animated for movies. The use of the word “actor” is pretty indicative of how we might see tech like this used.


The patent notes that “The robot actor enables the often screen-constrained characters to become life-like, interactive participants with nearby people in ways not presently achievable.” Disney also mentions that the tech will allow characters to be brought to life on a realistic proportional scale.


This could totally change the way characters are represented in Disney Parks. We could see a life-size Piglet and a realistically moving Judy Hopps. So neat!

2. Aerial Show System Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Energy to Animate Creative Show Element

Next up, we’ve got an innovation that could change Disney’s nighttime spectaculars forever. The patent is for an “aerial show system using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) energy to animate creative show element,” A.K.A. a way to use drones and the rushes of air they produce to animate elements of a live show.


This drone technology could be used a number of ways, such as to fly a flying ship and animate the rotors on the ship itself or help the sails to blow in the wind. The patent also notes that drones could also be used to help disperse water particles for fountain-based projection screens.


The patent even has a photo of the drones being used to animate a massive living mountain, like the one from Moana. The kinetic energy is used here to help move the arms of the set-piece, and the wind helps to make other details move organically. Nighttime spectaculars sure could look different with drones in use!

3. System for Introducing Physical Experiences into Virtual Reality (VR) Worlds

Disney has been doing a lot of work in the augmented and virtual reality fields. Some of that work seems to be for behind-the-scenes movie tech, other parts of that work seem to be for guest experiences. Ooh! We want to try Disney VR!


The most significant of these recent inventions is the “System for Introducing Physical Experiences into Virtual Reality (VR) Worlds.” This is a robot that matches up with an AR or VR experience to provide a tactile experience to a user. You could see something handed to you by a character in your headset and feel something reach your hand in real life.


This bot could even throw and catch things to interact with folks and the patent specifically mentions an “energy saber” application that sounds an awful lot like lightsaber tech!


So, uh, could we be fighting a robot with a lightsaber? Maybe. Needless to say, Disney’s strides in robotics and virtual reality could make theme parks more interactive than ever.

4. Preference Implementation System for Acting on Preferences of Facility Visitors

Finally, we’ve got some technology that could significantly change the way Cast Members interact with guests in the theme parks. This tech is called a “Preference Implementation System for Acting on Preferences of Facility Visitors.”


This boils down to tech that could scan a wearable signifier (like a readable sticker or MagicBand) to learn about what a consumer likes. This could mean voluntarily opting into an in-park system where cameras would scan these RFID chips and tell Cast Members about your name and preferences. And yep, it is built on an opt-in system so you’d have to choose to participate.


Potential applications of this are pretty endless. Mickey could know your little’s name right when you walk up, rides could adapt to show you experiences suitable to your personal preference, and more! Wow!

Which of these inventions would you most like to see in Disney parks? Tell us in the comments! 

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2 Replies to “Four Recent Disney Patents That Could Change Theme Parks Forever”

  1. The last one is really in line with the new experiences between the new Star Wars hotel and galaxi’s edge

  2. These amazing bits of technology remind me of cast members capable of remembering you and talking with you.