This Technology Could Introduce GIANT Character Meet-And-Greets in Disney Parks

The Walt Disney Company is always developing groundbreaking new technology that can be used to push the envelope in the parks.

Demonstration of Project EXO

Over the past few years, we’ve seen developments in artificial intelligence, robots, and interactive accessories, and one such project could allow large characters to be introduced to the parks. If you want a sneak peek at this developing technology, we’ve got all the details here!

Last year Disney revealed Project EXO and shared some of the details in the view below and at Destination D23. Essentially, this project could change character interactions in a major way! The plan is to create and develop robotic exoskeletons that would allow puppeteers to wear large character costumes that would otherwise be too heavy or cumbersome.


Disney Imagineers are in early development engineering new ways to bring larger than life #characters to life! #Disney #DisneyParks #Imagineering

♬ original sound – Disney Parks

This technology involves pneumatic assist (something that uses air pressure to cause movement) at joint areas to prevent the puppeteer from being fully responsible for bearing the weight of the exoskeleton, which could cause shoulder or back injuries. Imagine being able to meet and interact with huge characters like the Hulk, Thanos, or even a Yeti?!


How cool is this?!

The D23 Expo is underway at the Anaheim Convention Center in California and thanks to Walt Disney Imagineering’s research and development team, we got to visit the Project EXO exhibit and check out some of this developing technology in person!

Prototypes on display

This exhibit showcased the development of prototypes that eventually became the incredible Spider-Man Stuntronic you can see in Disney California Adventure, including 3D-printed muscles.

A Cast Member explained how these 3D-printed musculature prototypes show the evolution of muscles from the initial designs all the way to the end product. This technology is part of the development of the exoskeletons that puppeteers could be able to use in the parks.

Project EXO

Also part of the exhibit was the BRICK, or a Binary Robotic Inertially Controlled bricK. According to Disney’s description, the brick has weights inside its body, and by using the position of the weights the BRICK can use its sensors to control its spin and distance from the ground.

“The BRICK was the first proof of concept to show that controlling a robot mid-flight was possible.”


Also on display was this Pneumatic Figure, a full-scale Stuntronic prototype, which demonstrated that a “human-shaped robotic could reliably control its rotation in the air.” This prototype paved the way for the Spider-Man Stuntronic that you can see in action in Avengers Campus.

Pneumatic Figure

And the Second Pneumatic Figure was designed stronger, lighter, and tougher than the first figure, specifically with Spider-Man in mind. Disney noted that this figure is “the first prototype to perform a full-scale stunt,” with the ability to launch 65 feet into the air.

Second Pneumatic Figure

We can’t wait to see more of this developing technology, and in the meantime don’t forget to keep following along with us as we visit the D23 Expo! So far, we’ve already seen big news about Mickey’s Toontown in Disneyland, a new Tiana restaurant and store, more details about Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, and a sneak peek at the Walt Disney statue that will eventually be placed in EPCOT!

Walt The Dreamer Up Close

Keep checking back with AllEars for more Disney news and updates!

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Are you attending the D23 Expo this year? Let us know in the comments!

Disclosure: We were invited by Disney to attend a media event for the D23 Expo. This did not affect our reporting of the event — our opinions are our own.

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