My children are completely obsessed with their home voice assistant devices. There is not a single day that goes by without either my seven-year-old or my three-year-old asking Alexa or Google about the current weather, to play some of their favorite songs, or the response to some random query about animals. I'm sure many parents can relate.
Imagine for a moment when rather than Alexa responding to the questions posed by your children, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and almost a dozen other Disney characters shared their thoughts. Depending on how much you adore Disney, this will either transport you to the enchanted world of Walt Disney World or become the source of your greatest frustrations in life.
Amazon made the announcement at CES 2023 that Disney's first home voice assistant, Hey Disney, will soon be accessible on Echo devices in the coming months via the Alexa Skills Store or as part of an Amazon Kids+ membership. Hey Disney will be available on Echo devices in the next months. The voice assistant interacts with kids, parents, and Disney Adults alike in many of the same ways that you currently use the Alexa voice assistant, with some additional features that are exclusive to Disney, such as Disney Trivia and Star Wars soundscapes, to name a few. All it takes is a simple "Hey Disney!" command.
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Amazon and Disney offered Mashable a live demonstration of their home voice assistant, which you can see in the video that follows:
We were able to ask Disney basic inquiries such as what the current weather is, and over 20 Disney, Pixar, and Star Wars characters such as the Genie from Aladdin or Olaf from Frozen were able to react to our questions. During the demonstration, we also participated in an interactive story told by Mater from Cars and set a timer for thirty seconds with the assistance of Donald Duck. The primary voice assistant is known as Disney Magical Companion, and it takes the lead in directing the enquiry before passing it off to a different Disney character at random.
After trying out the demonstration, I came away thinking that the most intriguing aspect of the voice assistant is not the voice assistant itself, but rather how it would connect with Disney's MagicBand+.
If you haven't been to a Disney theme park in the last ten years, the MagicBand is essentially a watch-sized wearable device that enables you to quickly enter the parks, skip the lines with Disney's new FastPass system called Genie+, and more. In case you haven't been to a Disney theme park in the last ten years, the MagicBand was introduced. This is essentially your all-access pass to Disneyland as well as Disney World. MagicBand+ is an upgraded version of the wearable that performs the same functions as the standard MagicBand but also has the capacity to engage in interactive activities. If you're at Magic Kingdom, for instance, some sculptures will cause the light on your MagicBand+ to illuminate, and when you tap the device, the voice of the character depicted in the statue will engage in conversation with you.
Outside of the theme parks, though, the MagicBands are basically useless, which is one of the biggest problems with them. That won't be the case for much longer. During the demonstration, all of the associated MagicBand+ gadgets illuminated when that timer that Donald Duck had set went off. According to Disney, the business is contemplating additional integrations, such as the possibility of playing Disney Trivia with Hey Disney and having many participants tap on their MagicBand+ in order to buzz in and be the first to answer questions.