The Surprising Tech Behind the BEST Walt Disney World Rides

The Walt Disney Company tends to be at the forefront of technical advancements when it comes to theme park attractions. You can see many of these cutting-edge technologies in use in the Disney theme parks today!

Rise of the Resistance

You might not even know you’re seeing amazing tech; it can seem like magic. Well, we want to take you through some of the most surprising tech uses in Disney World rides!

Here’s the surprising tech behind the BEST Disney World rides!

Hybrid A1000 Animatronics

Disney invented animatronics way back in Walt’s day, but they’ve made leaps and bounds to the newest version. You can see these Hybrid A1000 Animatronics in use on Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run!

Kylo Ren

Next time you take a look at Kylo Ren or Hondo Ohnaka, you’ll know you’re seeing all-electric animatronics with “pancake” motors powerful enough to achieve more realistic movements.

Hondo Ohnaka in the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attraction

That’s why Disney animatronics are starting to look so much like real people. Pretty neat, huh?

How’d They Do That?! Technology and Innovation Behind Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

Interactive Shadows

In the queue for Peter Pan’s Flight, you might find yourself playing with your shadow and interacting with shadow objects like bells or butterflies. The interesting thing is that there aren’t any real bells or butterflies, and that’s not your shadow!


We’ll explain. A series of sensors are watching your motion and projecting an exact shadow form of you on the wall in real-time. The interactive elements like the bells are computerized and know to react when your shadow projection comes into contact with them.

Peter Pan’s Flight

Motion capture has been around for many years, but real-time motion capture is fairly new. It’s similar to the tech used in an Xbox Kinect system!

Rear Projection Mapping

Projection has been used in a lot of very cool ways. For instance, you’ve probably seen projection mapping on Cinderella Castle during Happily Ever After. That’s pretty cool, but we want to talk about the rear projection mapping used on attractions.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Frozen Ever After, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, and Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin all feature rear projection mapping to give their characters faces.

Frozen Ever After

In the use of this tech, the projector is placed inside the animatronic’s head, and mapping technologies are used to make sure it hits the transparent surface in exactly the right way.

Mobile 4D Experience

Finally, Toy Story Mania was revolutionary in that it created a mobile 4D experience. We’ve been experiencing 4D attractions for decades, but the idea of moving guests through an attraction while providing a cinematic 4D experience was pretty new!

Toy Story Mania

You’d be hard pressed to find a system like Toy Story Mania that takes you through a series of screens outfitted with projection technologies and different 4D effects. So neat!

What do you think of these technologies? Tell us in the comments! 

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2 Replies to “The Surprising Tech Behind the BEST Walt Disney World Rides”

  1. Umm, there are actually a lot of 4D rides that predate Toy Story, which didn’t open until 2008.

    Spider Man at Universal Studios opened in 1999.

    There have been a few Scooby Doo rides that were 4D that opened earlier as well.

    There are some lesser known ones too, including one with a ride system that is virtually identical to Toy Story.

  2. Wow!!! These technologies are really cool!!!! What will they think of next? How does Quincy know all of this stuff? Quincy Rocks!😎😎😎😎😎😎