The voice assistant has become a household fad among my children. My three- and seven-year-old kids use Alexa and Google every day to get the latest weather updates, listen to their favorite music, and research weird facts about animals. Many parents may probably relate to this.
Imagine if Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and nearly two dozen other Disney characters answered your children's inquiries instead of Alexa. Depending on how much of a Disney fan you are, this will either make you feel like you're at Walt Disney World or drive you crazy.
Amazon said at CES 2023 that in the coming months, Disney's first home voice assistant, Hey Disney, will be accessible on Echo devices through the Alexa Skills Store or as part of an Amazon Kids+ membership. A simple "Hey Disney!" activates the voice assistant, which can engage with children, parents, and Disney adults in many of the same ways that you use the Alexa voice assistant today, with some added features, such as Disney Trivia and Star Wars soundscapes.
Watch below as Disney and Amazon give Mashable a demo of their home voice assistant at CES.
More than 20 Disney, Pixar, and Star Wars characters—including the Genie from Aladdin and Olaf from Frozen—responded to our inquiries about the weather and other topics. Mater from Cars read us an interactive story, while Donald Duck helped us clock 30 seconds. Disney Magical Companion is the primary voice assistant, and it handles the initial inquiry before passing it off to a random Disney character.
After trying out the sample, I realized that the most intriguing part wasn't the voice assistant per se, but rather, its potential integration with Disney's MagicBand+.
In case you haven't visited a Disney park in a while, the MagicBand is a wristband that serves as your ticket into the parks, your FastPass+ selections, and more. It's your main admission to Disney theme parks like Disneyland and Disney World. The wearable has a more expensive, interactive variant called MagicBand+ that performs the same functions. In Magic Kingdom, for instance, the MagicBand+ will glow in response to particular statues, and when you tap the device, a voice belonging to the statue's character will engage with you.
However, the MagicBands have a severe flaw in that they are basically useless outside of the theme parks. That will no longer be the case very soon. In our demonstration, when Donald Duck's timer went off, all of the linked MagicBand+ devices flashed. Disney said that in the future, players will be able to use their MagicBand+ taps to "buzz in" as the first to answer a Disney Trivia question using the new Hey Disney feature.