Disney Is Building an Uncannily Lifelike Baby Groot Robot
Many of Disney’s latest innovations in their theme parks have been around the world of Marvel, including the recently opened Avengers Campus area at Disneyland. The land includes a ride where you can sling webs with Spider-Man, and eat comically oversized Ant-Man-inspired food. So where do go from there?
How about eerily lifelike robots of beloved Marvel characters?
A new profile in the New York Times details the company’s attempts to update their famed audio-animatronics, which have been a staple of Disneyland and Walt Disney World attractions for decades. In an increasingly techno-savvy world, though, a stiff copy of the Little Mermaid that repeats a handful of movements ain’t gonna cut it. Guests expect to be dazzled by new concepts and creations. Which is why Disney’s Imagineers are now developing far more advanced robotics — including what’s described as a “walking, talking, emoting Groot” from Guardians of the Galaxy.
The Times article includes pictures and a few GIFs of Disney’s robo-Groot (also known as “Project Kiwi”). If you want to see the thing in action, watch the video below. Get your Itchy and Scratchy Land jokes ready!
Disney is right about the need to advance their technology. Older fans are nostalgic for the animatronics on Peter Pan’s Flight and the Haunted Mansion, but 50-year-old technology is not going to cut it with younger audiences. That said, if at any point Disney announces places for a Westworld park where you can shoot robots, I’m out. That’s where I personally draw the line.