My kids are really enamored with using voice assistants at home. Every day, either my three-year-old or seven-year-old will ask Alexa or Google to play their favorite songs, tell them the weather, or provide the answer to an arbitrary inquiry about animals. I'm sure a lot of parents can identify.
Imagine for a moment that Goofy, Mickey Mouse, and almost two dozen other Disney characters responded to your children's queries rather than Alexa. This will either give you that magical Walt Disney World feeling or turn into the bane of your existence, depending on how much you adore Disney.
Hey Disney, Disney's first voice assistant for the home, will soon be accessible on Echo devices via the Alexa Skills Store or as part of an Amazon Kids+ membership, according to an announcement made by Amazon at CES 2023. The voice assistant communicates with kids, parents, and Disney Adults alike with a simple "Hey Disney!" It does so in many of the same ways that you presently use Alexa, with the addition of some special features like Disney Trivia and Star Wars soundscapes, to name a few.
At CES, Amazon and Disney gave Mashable a hands-on demonstration of the home voice assistant, which you can see in the video below below:
We were able to ask over 20 Disney, Pixar, and Star Wars characters, such as Genie from Aladdin or Olaf from Frozen, simple things like what the weather is right now. We also heard an interactive story from Mater from Cars throughout the demonstration, and Donald Duck helped us set a 30-second timer. The primary voice assistant, Disney Magical Companion, initiates the conversation before passing it along to a different Disney character at random.
After viewing the demo, I thought the most interesting aspect wasn't the voice assistant itself but how it's going to work with Disney's MagicBand+.
If you haven't visited a Disney theme park in the last ten years, the MagicBand is essentially a watch-sized wearable gadget that allows you to bypass lines with Disney's new FastPass service called Genie+ and more. Basically, it is your main admission ticket to Disney World and Disneyland. The wearable comes in a premium version called MagicBand+ that accomplishes all of the same things but also has interactive features. For instance, the MagicBand+ will flash when you approach specific statues at Magic Kingdom, and when you tap it, the voice of the statue's character will speak to you.
However, one significant drawback of the MagicBands is that, well, they're useless outside of the parks. That won't be the case for long. In our demonstration, the connected MagicBand+ gadgets all lit up when the timer set by Donald Duck sounded. Future integrations are being planned, according to Disney, including the ability to play Disney Trivia with Hey Disney and have many participants tap on their MagicBand+ to buzz in and be the first to respond.