Walt Disney Imagineering Research builds free walking Groot animatronic figure

Apr 23, 2021 in "Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind"

Posted: Friday April 23, 2021 10:35am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Walt Disney Imagineering Research and Development has built a free walking Groot robot as part of a multiyear Project Kiwi.

Tech Crunch has a great article detailing the work that has gone into producing what can only be described as a very next generation audio-animatronic figure. This is a real, walk around character that looks incredibly realistic.

The article interviews Project Kiwi, R&D Imagineer Principal Scott LaValley as well as Advanced Development Studio Executive SVP Jon Snoddy. The project isn't ready for the parks yet, but it offers a glimpse of what is to come and how Disney are aiming to shape the future of character experiences.

Disney World's Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is coming in the next couple of years - are we going to see something like Project Kiwi in the future at EPCOT?

Discuss on the Forums
View all comments →

ImperfectPixieMay 02, 2021

Talking Mickey should never have been taken away. (ETA: Beaker and Honeydew, either, but Mickey is where it all started for Pete's sake.)

PiebaldMay 02, 2021

In theory it would be insane. And I suppose anything is possible many years down the road. But if this is the route they went theyd probably have 4 characters with massive lines. I mean, they went cheap and back peddled on talking Mickey and got rid if Beaker and Dr. Honeydew and we expect fully AA characters?

erasure fan1May 01, 2021

He's not dead if you adjust the timeline of Galaxys edge. ;)

brb1006May 01, 2021

_calebMay 01, 2021

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Master Yoda passed away. He went peacefully, though—at his home in Degobah. Don’t worry, though, no one’s ever really gone. Yoda’s force ghost has been known to visit from time to time.

erasure fan1May 01, 2021

If Disney wants to knock it out of the park. This is when they bring out the Yoda meet and greet in Galaxys edge.

CoffeeroastersApr 30, 2021

Impressive indeed!

PiebaldApr 30, 2021

As a m&g this would be awesome, but would only work in Tokyo Disney and I'm not sure GoTG is popular there lol

vicariouscorpseApr 29, 2021

This one is just dressed up as Groot for a benchmark test for believability. It won't be coming to any parks for quite a while. He been at Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale since 2015.

spock8113Apr 29, 2021

Where the heck is Lucky? (not a reply, but a question)

RSoxNo1Apr 25, 2021

So is that the New Fantaslyand dragon?

Magicart87Apr 25, 2021

The patent deets: https://uspto.report/patent/app/20200369333#D00000

Magicart87Apr 25, 2021

Pretty sure that's the plan.

Magenta PantherApr 24, 2021

Pity that this experimental tech is being wasted on a non-Disney second-tier Marvel character. Still, it's pretty cool. I've often argued for a "life-sized" interactive Mickey Mouse AA to greet guests, rather than a 5-foot human wearing a giant mouse head. This new tech could make that happen. A "life-sized" Donald Duck would be awesome too. Unfortunately, as others have mentioned here, these are the Imagineers that once came up with a truly spectacular flying dragon - then flew it once and retired it. They retired Lucky the Dinosaur too. AND they won't fix the Yeti. So I refuse to get too excited over this...