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The next step for Disney's NextGen? 'Pirates Adventure: Jewels of the Seven Seas'

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Published: May 10, 2012 at 9:56 AM

We've been talking about Walt Disney World's NextGen project. Most the attention has been to the resort new, unnamed advance ride reservation system for hotel guests. But NextGen includes in-park attraction elements, as well. And now I've seen plans for what might be the next implementation of NextGen in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

It's called "Pirates Adventure: Jewels of the Seven Seas" and it will transform the Magic Kingdom's Adventureland into an interactive treasure hunt. Using RFID-enabled tap points, participating Disney World guests will be able to shoot the cannons on top of the Pirates of the Caribbean fortress queue, interact with animatronic idols, parrots and snakes, and search for and open a treasure chest which has been left somewhere in Adventureland.

Pirates of the Caribbean
There might soon be much more to do in Caribbean Plaza than shop and wait for Pirates of the Caribbean.

The adventure will take place in newly decorated scenes throughout the land, including sites inside merchandise shops, along walkways and near attraction queues. A fountain in Caribbean Plaza that was long ago converted to a planter would be restored - and stocked with animatronic piranhas, poised to attack upon your request.

The scale is intimate, much like the new Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game, so that guests who aren't playing - and who haven't memorized every decoration detail in the park - probably won't notice any of the interactive elements. Unless someone's there activating them, of course.

Disney's not announced or confirmed any of this publicly, of course. And I don't have any inside information on whether this will be opened to everyone to play, like Sorcerer's, or restricted to invited hotel guests, like with the current Fastpass+ test. Nor did my sources provide me with any guess on an opening date.

But "Pirates Adventure: Jewels of the Seven Seas" would take Disney a step closer to that NextGen ideal we've discussed, where themed lands become platforms for customized attraction adventures, rather than simply serving as well-decorated location for rides and shows.

Thoughts?

Readers' Opinions

From Dan Heaton on May 10, 2012 at 10:28 AM
This is getting ridiculous. I'm okay with Disney trying out Next Gen technologies and trying to improve the guest experience, but it seems like the games and "experiences" are taking precedence over actually creating new attractions (or revamping outdated ones).
From Brandon Mendoza on May 10, 2012 at 10:31 AM
Well considering these things are pretty inconspicuous, I don't have a problem with them. If they give kids and adults something extra to do, then why not? It'll free up Attractions for those that don't care for the electronic stuff.

I'd bet that the cost of this system is significantly cheaper than developing and installing a new E-ticket.

From 192.250.112.193 on May 10, 2012 at 10:33 AM
Sounds like you have the same info we do. We posted something similar a couple of days ago on www.wdwfanboys.com.

Tim

From Skipper Adam on May 10, 2012 at 10:37 AM
I'm all game for this. To begin with, Disney parks were not always just about rides, not that I'm saying it's not a major part. It was about the experience, getting lost in the atmosphere and being involved in the world. After all, that is the idea behind themed lands, to feel like you are part of something different somewhere else. Making the environment alive and interactive is the next step.

People never complained about the theming detials of WWoHP, where the windows are filled with motion and surprises. In fact, that was praised, and set the bar high for themeing. So now that Disney is fixing up it's parks, taking a step further, people are gonna complain? Just doesn't make sense.

As for the cost thing...The money us spent. The tech is there, installing different adventures won't cost enough to steal from new attractions. After the New Fantasyland, redone Test Track, Avatar-Land, Cars Land, redone DCA, newe Shanghai park, expansion in Japan and Hong Kong, the possible Tomorrowland overhaul...I would say that Disney is working on new rides and fixing up old ones. Company wide, I don't think they could fit in a whole lot more R&D or construction.

But people love to criticize and complain.

From Robert Niles on May 10, 2012 at 11:17 AM
Things like this and SotMK aren't things that would appeal to me on a first, second, or even third visit to the MK. And if I were a local AP holder, they'd get boring to me pretty quickly.

But if I were a DVC member, an annual visitor to WDW who spends a week or more at the resort? Yeah, this is exactly the type of thing that would help keep the parks perpetually fresh to me. Disney ought to have something that hits that market, and rewards some of its most loyal customers.

Plus, I think Disney could learn something from the intersection of this technology and user experience that could be applied toward creating a genre-busting "E ticket" attraction that would appeal to a first time visitor, or even encourage non-theme park fans to become first-time visitors. It's well worth watching.

From Randall Peek on May 10, 2012 at 1:16 PM
One of the things that my daughter most wanted to do at Epcot was the Kim Possible adventure. Considering that this was essentially her first visit to Epcot, I'd say it speaks wells for the appeal of this sort of attraction to kids. It also turned out to be something that we accomplished as a family, something that is definitely part of the Disney plan of making memories.

Attractions like this definitely have a lower price tag than building a D- or E-ticket attraction, and can be fit into the existing landscape without removing any of the existing rides or attractions. Often the interactive elements provide a small thrill for other park guests as well. They also bleed off a certain number of guests who are not waiting in ride lines but now doing things in the open areas of the park.

Downsides? I don't see any. If people are upset that Disney isn't devoting this capital to making bigger rides, then I think they have their priorities wrong. Things like this probably have as much bang for buck as the bigger attractions, and they actually provide a story. Universal may have higher tech, but they still fall far behind in actual storytelling.

From Dominick D on May 10, 2012 at 1:36 PM
Jewls of the Seven Seas sound Kewl to me!
From Tim Grassey on May 10, 2012 at 2:12 PM
Robert,

It looks like we've come across the same information. If anyone is looking for more details on this, we have some up at www.wdwfanboys.com

Tim

From 184.88.75.70 on May 10, 2012 at 2:23 PM
This is EXACTLY why Touché is important. The park is the platform. You do not walk between attractions. When you pass through the front gate you are already experiencing the attraction.
From Robert Niles on May 10, 2012 at 2:33 PM
I was told about this a while back, which inspired my article about NextGen several weeks ago. But I was just released a few days ago from my agreement not to mention it directly.
From Flavio de Souza on May 10, 2012 at 2:54 PM
Disney is testing separately many parts of the NextGen technology. Fast Pass + talking Mickey + Interactive games , etc…

How would all they work together? In my opinion it could work the following way:

You are at a Disney Hotel and ask a wakeup call for 7:00, because you will use the magic hours at MK. At that time, instead of a phone call someone knock at your door. You open and find a message, from Peter Pan, named to your son and daughter. He asks them help in solving a problem.

As soon you arrive in MK, Goofy approaches your family and ask you to take the train and go to POTC (where an electronic fastpass will allow you to skip most of the line). Note that thanks to “talking Mickey” technology, Goofy will speak to you in your mother language.

As soon as you exit the POTC boat, you receive a new message from Peter Pan. You and your daughter should go to Tiki room and your wife and son to Splash Mountain (because the system has analyzed your previous attraction pattern and discovers that you don’t like thrill rides and your daughter is too small for it).

Each group receives a message at the end of the attractions that together will indicate that the next step should be HM. You won’t skip lines that time, but the interactive queue will give you new hints.

By doing that Disney will not only play with you between the attractions, giving a personalized experience, but also can conduct your journey in a way to minimized not only your waiting time at lines, but also the overall waiting time of the park, by managing the crowds during the day.

It could also interact with your iPhone or iPad, gave you a complimentary chocolate ice cream after a lunch, or offer discount in merchandise when you are inside a shop or project your photo on the castle wall at night when you are passing by.

For me these technologies, if well used, have a lot of potential by offering a much better experience, with more fun and less waiting times.

From TH Creative on May 10, 2012 at 4:18 PM
What I love about Flavio's post is that it represents just some of the possibilities available to Disney. The theme park experience begins from the moment the guest awakes.

Perhaps Universal could employ similar technology to be more efficient in the way they charge guests staying at their hotels for parking.

From Amy Smith on May 10, 2012 at 8:41 PM
Well they need something to distract people from the fact that PotC will be closed for a year soon...
From Robert Niles on May 10, 2012 at 10:12 PM
+1 to TH for his comment on the Universal hotel parking. -17 to Universal for that annoyance. (Grrrr....)

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