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  • [Question] Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

    Alain Littaye recently reviewed the new attraction "The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow" and puts forth a theory that the non-animatronic show elements are, in reality, a test for special show effects intended for a POTC attraction at Disneyland Shanghai. In his words, Disney may decide to avoid the use of animatronics in POTC entirely:

    Sure, the "Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow" looks like a "C" ticket because you just stand in front of it and are not sit in a boat moving in real decors, but use the same high-tech projection technology with the same dazzling projection effects, put them in a boat ride with a boat moving in caverns or any kind of other decors, and add to the ride special effects (explosion, fire, water effects, etc...) and then you have something that will be a stunning "E" ticket ride. I know, some of you will miss the "all Audio-Animatronics version" but, c'mon, there is already four POTC versions in the world using the original Audio-Animatronics so may be it's time to have something different, isn't it?

    As great as these projection effects are, they lack the 3-D depth and thrill value of watching "robots". If Disney is truly moving away from Audio-Animatronics, what are the MiceChatters opinions on an Animatronic-Free Pirates of the Caribbean?
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  • #2
    Re: Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

    It's a sad, sad day. The purpose of Audio-Animatronics wasn't simply to astound people, it was to do something ONLY DISNEY could do ... to create the illusion of life in three dimensions, to take everything Disney had perfected to that point and do something new with it. AA figures are what make a Disney park totally unique. Yes, you can create a mind-blowingly dazzling attraction without them -- look at the Poseidon's Fury walk-through at Universal Orlando, which I'd term world class.

    But it's not Disney.

    Sadly, Disney is no longer Disney.

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    • #3
      Re: Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

      Really not that big of a deal to me. Like he said, we have 4 POTCs around the world, all using the same technology, why add another one like it?

      Animatronics are certainly not dead though, just look at the Little Mermaid and RSR!
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      • #4
        Re: Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

        Originally posted by Chesire View Post
        Really not that big of a deal to me. Like he said, we have 4 POTCs around the world, all using the same technology, why add another one like it?

        Animatronics are certainly not dead though, just look at the Little Mermaid and RSR!
        Don't forget the grizzly bears of Hong Kong Disneyland's Grizzly Mountain Runway Mine trains.
        But even with the new wave of AAs popping in the park, their quality seem to be dimishing. These are not in the same level of quality and fluidity as those found in Paris' Pirates ride, or Disney Sea's Sindbad boat ride. That's where future Disney visitors appear to be shortchanged. When higher praise is going to new attraction facades and queues while the ride experience doesn't match that quality.. well, I believe there is a quality problem with show.

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        • #5
          Re: Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

          I sure as heck hope not, one of the reasons I initially got involved with engineering as a whole was seeing and thinking that Disney's AAs were cool and so lifelike...

          Poseiden's Fury is amazing but I don't want every show or ride to be like that, nor is an all cheapened AA experience the best imo, personally I think if they can find someway to combine the two where the mesh is seamless and it creates that WOW effect, then go for it...i.e. I think those projections for instance would rock in some areas of the HM for a really ghoulish effect
          The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.
          -George S. Patton

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          • #6
            Re: Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

            It wouldn't be the same that's for sure and although projection technology fascinates me (specifically the technology at the Wizarding World of HP due to them being able to achieve 3D effects with it), I personally would prefer AA pirates over a ton of projected Pirates.

            Yes, it's something new and hopefully it'll make them be creative rather than just expecting the projections do all the work. Having them all be that way seems excessive to me as well, if that is what they're planning to do.

            Also, I personally feel as a child you'd probably buy a AA being a person more likely than a hologram for example.

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            • #7
              Re: Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

              The more I read about this attraction called "The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow", the more I want an animatronic of Michael Bolton to pop up halfway through the ride.


              This is the tale,
              of Captain Jack Sparrow...


              Click image for larger version

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              • #8
                Re: Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

                AAs are not gone. Disney is still Disney. The attraction is just a "C" ticket. Its differant, its new, and well done. Funny how the "negative ones" , (mostly the same members) call out for something new and differant, and when they get it, they beef.....lol....As technology changes, so will the parks. Kids now expect more than what we did when we were kids(us old farts, anyways....lol )When i first saw the Disney AAs, i was astonished. Now, kids are building thier own robots. Disney is still Disney.

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                • #9
                  Re: Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

                  I think we will see a lot more hybrids like on the Little Mermaid, maybe screen faces, screen eyes, with full bodies, etc
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                  • #10
                    Re: Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

                    I think that this attraction just doesn't need them. It's probably not worth the expense because of how long this attraction is likely going to stay. Think Narnia.
                    DisneyTwins
                    Since May 2003

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                    • #11
                      Re: Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

                      Originally posted by fifthrider View Post
                      This is the tale,
                      of Captain Jack Sparrow...
                      That was without question the best of the SNL Digital Shorts, by far!!!

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                      • #12
                        Re: Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

                        If I wanted to watch a ton of TVs, I would have stayed at home.
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                        • #13
                          Re: Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

                          Even though this is in the WDW section, it could really be in any of the Disney Park Locations, or even perhaps Disney Business. Since I'm more familiar with more recent changes in Anaheim, than Orlando, my thoughts are centered on Anaheim. With that

                          First of all, yes, I do like to see new attractions with different effects being created and used. There is a place for various type of elements, such as using video, however recently, I've really had my fill (ok, it's an OVERDOSE) of 3D glasses attractions. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I MUCH prefer a REAL 3 Dimensional Environment, as opposed to artificial 3D, As good as the 3D effects are, it still does't compare to the REAL THING. Yes, there are several things that can be done with the 3D Glasses that wouldn't be possible otherwise, but the balance has just gone too far in the 3D Glasses Direction. And that's where AA's still are necessary!

                          Take for example two of the most popular new attractions in DCA: Radiator Springs Racers and Little Mermaid. Both heavily feature AA's. And of course, lets not forget the nearly 50 year old AA Show in DL, The Enchanted Tiki Room! still draws in the crowds and it's magic still charms kids of all ages. Then there is also those two HUGE draws: the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Carribbean. Then lets also add the Jungle Cruise! These four attractions ARE what makes Disneyland, DISNEYLAND!

                          Disneyland can't survive and wouldn't be Disneyland without these 4 iconic AA Attractions. And three of the most lamented losses of DL include Country Bear Jamboree, America Sings and Carousel of Progress. However two of those still play a big part at WDW in Florida.

                          Oh, yes, I forgot a little attraction called Small World, and a little journey at DL with Indiana Jones.

                          For the sake of the future DL, lets hope that rumors of the demise of AA's is greatly exagerated. ~ But until I see Western River Expedition become a reality, I will still be a little warey of what happens.
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                          • #14
                            Re: Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

                            Originally posted by KingEric View Post
                            I think we will see a lot more hybrids like on the Little Mermaid, maybe screen faces, screen eyes, with full bodies, etc
                            I feel as if that's the way to go. They shouldn't have attractions were it's purely just projections, or one concept, but a combination of AA, projections or halograms, lightning, special effects, well constructed sets, ect. They need to be creative and put multiple concepts in one idea and really put their heads together.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

                              With Garner Holt recently installed as exclusive animatronics provider to Disney, I think we can safely continue to enjoy our beloved robots. If a time comes when Disney attractions are primarily projection-based, I definitely will no longer have an annual pass. Those are what MAKE Disney Disney for me.
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                              • #16
                                Re: Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

                                A Disney park without AA's would not be much of a Disney experience. Digital projections in a supplementary role can be useful but they cannot replace the verisimilitude that the AA's create.

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                                • #17
                                  Re: Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

                                  Originally posted by SpectroMan View Post
                                  With Garner Holt recently installed as exclusive animatronics provider to Disney, I think we can safely continue to enjoy our beloved robots. If a time comes when Disney attractions are primarily projection-based, I definitely will no longer have an annual pass. Those are what MAKE Disney Disney for me.
                                  Thanks for the info, SpectroMan -- I did not know this. So Disney has broken all ties to SARCOS?!
                                  sigpic

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                                  • #18
                                    Re: Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

                                    Originally posted by Aladdin View Post
                                    There is a place for various type of elements, such as using video, however recently, I've really had my fill (ok, it's an OVERDOSE) of 3D glasses attractions. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
                                    This. Exactly.


                                    Originally posted by Aladdin View Post
                                    Yes, there are several things that can be done with the 3D Glasses that wouldn't be possible otherwise
                                    True, but there's things you can do with live action you couldn't ( or wouldn't ) otherwise. Even if a 3D movie *could* be originally made to do things you couldn't see in an AA ride, it will pretty much be that experience over and over. Theme parks rarely refilm a new attraction. ( Star Tours a rare exception. ) You are pretty much locked into that one film and one experience in the jumbotron ride. I would point to recent complaints about Soarin' becoming mundane as an example.

                                    Conversely some of my best memories from DL animatronic-based attractions involved ir-reproducable moments of just being in the right place at the right time.

                                    1) On POTC riding through the grotto only to find two maintenance cast members down there fixing something; as each boat passed they stopped working and began acting like animatronics.
                                    2) A JC skipper spotting a live cat walking through the strip of land between the JC and Indy line and calling it out as a "domesticus felis, weighing up to 400 lbs and capable of leaping 30 feet."
                                    3) A live bird that would fly inside the Tiki Room then freak out when the show started, etc.

                                    Although these are not intentional moments designed into the ride, they just sort of happen if only for the reason that these are AA based attractions. Meanwhile you can go on Harry Potter a million times and it'll pretty much be the same series of screens and the same ride. These fun and mostly cast-member driven moments just set the AA based attraction so much higher than the mere jumbotron ride to me.

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                                    • #19
                                      Re: Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

                                      Not when future AA's can do this...

                                      Originally posted by Zoe Necrosis View Post

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                                      • #20
                                        Re: Is This the Death of Audio-Animatronics?

                                        Sarcos hasn't existed as its own entity for many years...they are owned by Raytheon.

                                        And you might recall a little tiff Disney had with Sarcos over their sale of proprietary A-100 technologies to other folks, like Universal and others.

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