When you enter your Disney World hotel room in the future, something will be DIFFERENT.
No, we’re not talking about the refurbishments taking place at select hotels, or the fact that overnight parking for hotel guests is now FREE. No, this will be a much smaller change involving Amazon’s Alexa, and it’s one that you absolutely NEED to know about.
What Is “Hey Disney!”?
Back in 2021, Disney announced that it would be partnering with Amazon to bring a NEW interactive Alexa feature to Disney hotel rooms and your home too. The service is called “Hey Disney!”
Essentially it is a voice assistant that will be powered through Amazon’s Alexa and it’ll be made available on select Echo devices. So yes, you’ll soon find Echo devices in Disney’s hotel rooms that’ll enable this service to be possible.
The device will let you talk to a NEW character that Disney and Amazon have created called the Disney Magical Companion. You’ll be able to speak with the Companion to do things like set alarms, “order select room items, ask questions and have fun with favorite characters.”
The service was originally set to debut in 2022, but it has not yet fully rolled out to all Disney World hotels. Instead, what we’ve seen so far is a limited test of the service at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort that took place back in November of 2022.
But, when “Hey Disney!” does eventually debut in more Disney World hotel rooms, you’ll want to know how to use it. Here’s a complete guide.
When you arrive in your Disney World hotel room and see that “Hey Disney!” has been installed (a.k.a. you spot an Echo device in your hotel room) you’ll be able to review information about the experience that’ll be displayed on the device.
When you enter the room, the ⊘ button on the top of the echo device should be red. That indicates that the device is muted. If you want to use the “Hey Disney!” service on the Echo device, you’ll need to press the ⊘ button to unmute the device.
Once you’ve unmuted the device, it’ll listen for the words “Hey Disney” or “Alexa.” If you’re ready to ask “Hey Disney!” a question, you’ll be able to tap or say “Hey Disney, start the magic!”
Once you’ve done that, you can start any requests with the words “Hey Disney.” Once the device hears that, it can then help you answer your questions about the parks, etc. We’ll go over just what it can do in one second!
Do You Have to Pay to Use It?
If you’re using the device within a Disney hotel room, the service will be entirely complimentary.
Note that “Hey Disney!” will eventually be available for Amazon Echo devices at your home but to use that you will need to purchase the “Hey Disney” Alexa skill from Amazon.
Do You HAVE to Use It in the Hotel Room?
No! “Hey Disney!” is entirely optional. You do not need to use it if you don’t want to.
Disney points out that you can keep the device muted throughout your entire stay if you’d rather not use it. Or you can mute and unmute it as you want, using the ⊘ button. If you have other questions or concerns about “Hey Disney!” during your stay, you can call the front desk of the hotel.
How Does It Work?
If you’re familiar with Amazon’s other Alexa and Echo devices, then this will likely be second nature to you. But let’s go over the basics!
If the Echo device in the room hears that someone has said “Hey Disney” or “Alexa” (or if you use the interactive touch screen on the Echo device) it’ll respond. Essentially, Disney says your “requests will be sent to Amazon for processing in the cloud.”
Disney also explains that if the Magical Companion (their new character) can help answer your questions, then “Amazon will send your requests (but not the voice recordings) to Disney.”
When Is It Listening to You?
If you’re worried about security and privacy, here’s what you need to know about when the device listens to you.
Whenever the Echo device detects that someone has said “Hey Disney” or “Alexa,” it will listen to you. It’ll then take your request and “send it to Amazon for processing in the cloud.” Note that using certain features on the touch screen will also wake up the device and cause it to listen to your request.
How will you know if it’s listening to you? Look for the blue bar on the device to light up! If it is lit, you know it’s listening.
Remember you can turn off the microphone by pushing the button on the top of the device. You’ll then see a red ring which indicates that you’ve successfully muted the device.
What Can It Do?
And now we get to the good stuff — what can “Hey Disney!” actually do for you during your hotel stay? Well, a few different things!
There will be features to help you get room amenities, see guest service information, plan your day, explore Disney fun, and even try other things.
If you need a few more things in your hotel, like extra pillows, blankets, or towels, or something like that, you can make the request through “Hey Disney!” and it’ll get fulfilled by your resort’s Cast Members.
What if you’ve got a question about the parks, like when EPCOT opens or when the next bus leaves from your resort hotel for Magic Kingdom? Those are questions you can also ask “Hey Disney!”
The goal is that it will be able to show you helpful park information that’ll make your stay easier like showtimes, hours, bus schedules, and more.
Other Useful Things
But it goes beyond getting towels or finding your next bus. “Hey Disney!” can also set an alarm for you to help you wake up with a smile. Or it can give you a weather forecast.
While those are things you can already ask the regular Alexa (or even Siri) to do, what makes this system unique is that it utilizes the Magical Companion and Disney characters along the way. So if you ask about the weather, you might get some comments about Olaf and how he loves the sun and everything hot!
Or if you set an alarm, Dory might tell you that she will NOT forget about it this time. It’s the character interactivity that really makes this unique.
Games and Fun
In addition to the “useful” stuff, “Hey Disney!” will also have tons of fun experiences for families to enjoy. For example, you can ask the system to tell you a joke — you never know what characters might chime in! You can even ask for specific jokes, like a “Mickey Mouse joke.”
— AllEars.Net (@AllEarsNet) May 4, 2022
There are also stories available to listen to, which could be a great way to end the night with little ones. And there is a special offering called “Magical Moments,” which will enable you to go on some fun little adventures with the Disney characters you know and love.
But wait…there’s MORE! As you step into your room after a long day in the parks, you may find that a character has “stopped by” and left a message to greet you as you enter. Or you may get a departure message from some characters near the end of your hotel stay.
The messages may even be tailored to certain holidays, including Disney-specific ones like May the 4th (Star Wars Day).
As we noted, the system will make heavy use of Disney’s own characters (including characters from Disney animation, Pixar, Star Wars, the Muppets, and Marvel), but you’ll also meet the Magical Companion — a new character that’ll guide you throughout your journey.
A look at the new persona – The Disney Magical Companion – on the ‘Hey Disney!’ Voice assistants that are complimentary for all Disney World Resort Hotels coming next year❗️ #DestinationD23 #D23Events @DisneyD23 pic.twitter.com/gZc1fKEzET
— AllEars.Net (@AllEarsNet) November 20, 2021
The Magical Companion can introduce you to Disney characters, guide you to exciting surprises, and more.
All in all, Disney has shared that the Magical Companion will “help guests discover more than a thousand magical interactions.”
“Hey Disney!” is also set to connect to MagicBand+ to make things more special. With MagicBand+, trivia games will be enhanced by a vibrating buzzer that will react with lights and haptics. The MagicBand+ can also buzz if you set an alarm or a timer with “Hey Disney!”
While Disney World is getting in on the fun, Disneyland isn’t being left out! The service is set to come to Disneyland hotel rooms in the future as well.
And, as we noted above, the “Hey Disney!” feature will soon be available for you to buy for qualifying Echo devices through the Alexa skills store. It’s set to become available for purchase later this year, so you’ll be able to use it in your own home!
And that’s a complete look at “Hey Disney!” What do you think? Will it be a service you will use daily or something you’ll skip? Let us know in the comments.
For more hotel news, check out our posts below, and stay tuned for the latest updates!
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Will you be using “Hey Disney!” or not? Tell us in the comments!