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The Walt Disney Company Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser Lightsaber
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, a themed luxury hotel near Disney’s Hollywood Studios, in the Epcot Resort Area of the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida, is set to open in 2022, and to celebrate May 4th, the company released a teaser of what you can find. That’s right, a somewhat functional lightsaber in the sense that it has a retractable blade of light that extends from the hilt. Read more for the short video and additional information.

Disney Imagineering Project Kiwi Groot Robot
H/t: Tech Crunch
Disney has been known for their cutting edge animatronics, and Project Kiwi is no exception. Imagineering researchers have spent years working on a miniature Groot robot, and it’s still a work in progress, despite it already being able to walk. The team wanted to create something that could walk on its own and interact with park guests autonomously, without requiring a human operator. Unfortunately, no off-the-shelf platform would work, so they developed their own. Read more for a video and additional information.

Vodafone Disney Neo Kids Smartwatch Baby Yoda
Vodafone partnered with Disney to release Neo, a smartwatch designed for kids that will help parents stay connected through calls, chats, familiar characters and emojis. An integrated 5.0-megapixel forward-facing camera lets children capture their daily adventures, while the activity tracker logs activity and sets a goal to encourage them to get on their feet. Parents can check in on them with calls, chat and video messages. Read more for a video and additional information.

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Hotel Event Walt Disney World
Remember that Star Wars hotel announcement that Disney made a while back? Well, the company has just provided new images of the event, which debuts in 2021 at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Simply put, this will be a two-day and two-night vacation that aims to provide an all-immersive experience taking guests to a galaxy far, far away, but with some Disney magic. Guests become the heroes of their own Star Wars story, so each stay should be different. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.

Disney Realistic Interactive Robot Gaze
Anyone who has visited a Disney theme park has definitely come across at least one of their animatronics, but get up close, and you’ll notice that something about them seems quite off. These new robots with a lifelike gaze may change that, while also giving you nightmares in their unskinned state. The team focused on the character animation where the fidelity and believability of motion is paramount, thus creating an interaction which demonstrates the illusion of life. Read more for a video and additional information.

Disney Research Deepfake Automatic Neural Face Swapping
Photo credit: Disney Research
Deepfakes have been quite popular among internet users, as many hobbyists have been face swapping many celebrities in famous movies. Disney Research has developed an algorithm for fully automatic neural face swapping in images and videos. In other words, this is the first method capable of rendering photo-realistic and temporally coherent results at megapixel resolution, making it suitable for the big screen. Read more for a video and additional information.

Disney Splash Mountain Princess and the Frog
Photo credit: Disney
Disney Imagineers announced today that Splash Mountain at both Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom park in Florida, will soon be completely rethemed. These attractions will be themed after the animated Disney film, “The Princess and the Frog,” letting guests join Princess Tiana and Louis on a musical adventure as they prepare for their first-ever Mardi Gras performance. Read more for a video ride along of the current attraction and additional information.

Thor Ragnarock Lightsabers
In Ragnrok, Thor returns to Asgard to find Heimdall gone and his estranged brother Loki posing as Odin, who is then forced to help him find their father, and with directions from Stephen Strange at the Sanctum Sanctorum in New York City, they locate Odin in Norway. What could the movie have been like if the main characters used lightsabers instead of a hammer and other weapons? Read more to see exactly this, thanks to ImmersionVFX.

The Simpsons Pixar Onward
Pixar movies typically begin with a Pixar short film, like Bao with Incredibles 2, Lou with Cars 3, Piper with Finding Dory, and so forth, but for Onward, we’re getting one from The Simpsons universe. That’s right, since the The Walt Disney Company acquired Fox properties, they’re going to screen “Playdate with Destiny” before Onward, starring Maggie Simpson. Read more for two videos and additional information.

Animatronic Spider-Man Avengers Campus
Photo credit: Disney / Marvel
Disney first revealed at the D23 Expo this past summer that Imagineers were working on a new experience with Spider-Man at Avengers Campus coming to Disney California Adventure park this summer, but now we know that it is going to be in animatronic form. The robot of sorts is going to have articulating robotic joints capable of web slinging when launched with a bungie mechanism. Read more for two videos and additional information.