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They're alive! (Well, not really)- 5/7/05- St. Petersburg Times

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  • They're alive! (Well, not really)- 5/7/05- St. Petersburg Times

    The theme park goes high-tech, unveiling robotic attractions that are interactive and in your face.

    LAKE BUENA VISTA - Lucky is not your normal robotic dinosaur. He snores, he purrs, he hiccups and belches big time. He can sign autographs with a magic marker clutched in his teeth.

    Oh, yeah. He also walks around Disney's Animal Kingdom on two legs pushing a flower wagon.

    "There's not a moment when something isn't in motion with Lucky," said Akhil Madhani, a project engineer with the Walt Disney Co.

    "The most complex is the sneeze. It's a combination of big motions and his eyelids curl up. Then everything moves at the same instant."

    That's about 400 things moving from the tail to the nose of a 9-foot creature Disney claims is the world's first free-roaming animatronic figure.

    Lucky was by far the smallest of several new attractions unveiled at Walt Disney World on Friday.

    The others opened with the usual hoopla of confetti canons and fireworks. Soarin', a simulated hang-gliding experience over California shown on a big screen; Lights! Motors! Action!, a fiery auto stunt show whose drivers burn up dozens of rubber tires a day and an elegant new antique gold embellishment of the Cinderella castle.

    But Lucky's tentative first few walks into Dinoland, and another recent arrival called Turtle Talk with Crush at Epcot, represent what Disney's creative team hopes will be the next big things to hit the theme park world.
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