The New York Times has released a story looking at the future of animatronics and more from Walt Disney Imagineering, with a sneak peek inside their warehouse for testing.

What’s Happening:

  • Walt Disney Imagineering has given The New York Times a sneak peek at what the future may hold for Disney Parks around the world with the latest technology being used for animatronics and character performers in both small (Project Kiwi) and large (Project Exo) sizes, bringing new experiences to Guests.

Project Kiwi:

  • They were able to get a look at Groot, part of Project Kiwi, walking around and interacting with people around him at a secret warehouse located in Glendale, California.
  • Groot is a prototype for a small-scale, free-roaming animatronic actor that can bring forth new levels of interactivity and intelligence not seen before.

  • The new animatronic uses cameras and sensors to give them the ability to make on-the-fly choices on what they can do and say, along with custom software.
  • The next stage for Groot and Project Kiwi is a “play test,” with tests at Disney Parks to get Guest feedback, but Disney would not tell The New York Times when or where it will begin.
(Adam Amengual for The New York Times)

(Adam Amengual for The New York Times)

Project Exo:

  • Another test being worked on is larger scale character interactions with Project Exo. The concept is the same, but instead of Groot-sized animatronics, WDI is going big, think Marvel’s Hulk.


  • These interactions will bring both new experiences for Guests and sets of challenges for WDI.
  • Development has begun on a full-body exoskeleton that can be applied to a variety of oversized characters, with the weight of the suits being redirected to the ground to not have it be on the performer.

Check out the full story on The New York Times website to learn more. Who do you think we’ll be seeing first at the parks using Project Kiwi and Exo?

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