Amazon and Disney show off 'Hey Disney!' voice assistant at CES

Jan 04, 2023 in "The Walt Disney Company"

'Hey Disney!' Voice Assistant
Posted: Wednesday January 4, 2023 3:57pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Amazon and Disney are introducing the new "Hey Disney!' voice assistant to the general public at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Already in limited use at some Walt Disney World Resort hotels, 'Hey Disney!' is set for a general release to people's homes later in 2023.

Built in partnership with Amazon, 'Hey Disney!' will offer several Disney features, including trivia, jokes, greetings from Disney characters, weather, and more.

'Hey Disney!' will also integrate with the recently released MagicBand+, adding more use to the wearable when not at the parks. The band will light up and buzz in response to alarms and timers.

The release date and pricing are still to be announced, but Disney expects a 2023 launch.

"Disney is the master storyteller, and its stories are so powerful for so many people," said Aaron Rubenson, the vice president of Alexa. "Now people can keep talking to a character, they can continue with the storyline when they go back to their room at the end of the day, or when they go home after the vacation is over. It's just gratifying to imagine that we're a part of literally bringing that magic home."

You can read more about the 'Hey Disney!' Disney Magical Companion at TechCrunch.

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Disstevefan1Jun 27, 2023

The family gets back to their room from a day at the Magic Kingdom. The Hey Disney unit detected they were back when they swiped their magic band to get in the room. The “listen” LED hidden in the back of the Hey Disney unit lights up green and Mickey is listening. Dad says, “Oh boy, what a day. That place was MOBBED today. Maybe we should have gone to the Magic Kingdom yesterday instead of going to Universal.” The “listen” LED in the back of the Hey Disney unit flickers. “Hey Dad, when we are going to Universal again?”, asks Jonny. The “listen” LED in the back of the Hey Disney unit flickers again and turns yellow. Dad says, “We are going again to Universal, day after tomorrow.” The “listen” LED in the back of the Hey Disney unit flickers again at a higher frequency. Jonny say, “I want to go to Universal tomorrow!” Sue joins in, “Me too!” Jane, Mom, of Jonny and Sue says to Dad, “The kids really want to go to Universal tomorrow.” The “listen” LED in the back of the Hey Disney unit brightly flickers again at a higher frequency. Dad says, “Look, we got the STUPID park pass reservations for Disney tomorrow, I already paid for the STUPID Genie+ and STUPID ILLs. Disney is so aggravating!!” The “listen” LED in the back of the Hey Disney unit goes from flickering yellow to solid red. The kids begin chanting, “WE WANT TO GO TO UNIVERSAL, WE WANT TO GO TO UNIVERSAL!” The Hey Disney unit begins to smoke. Dad, thinking quickly yanks the unit and throws it in the shower and turns on the water to save the day! Mom, calls guest services, “Hello, guest services, our Hey Disney unit went on fire!” Jake of guest services answers, “We are sorry for the incontinence, we will send someone right up” and hangs up. Jake says to his associate Hank, “We got another Hey Disney meltdown”, I slacked you the room number. We hear keyboard clicks as Hank checks the logs, "Yup, guests were talking about Universal again."

KamikazeJun 27, 2023

Do you use Alexa or another voice assistant at home?

habumaJun 24, 2023

Shameless plug, but... Although I can't get "Hey Disney" to do anything parks related at home except play a soundscape, there *is* an Alexa skill called "Mouse Guests" that *does* give park hours (and wait times, and fun facts, and Lightning Lane availability, and show times, and height requirements, and a lot of other things). Just say "Alexa, open Mouse Guests" and then ask things like "What time does Epcot open tomorrow?" or "How long is the line for Haunted Mansion?" How do I know so much about this skill? Well, because I created it. At the moment, it's only available to Alexa users in the US, but after I polish it a bit more, I hope to expand it to *at least* other English speaking locales. And I'm currently working on a "widget" that lets you say "Our next trip to Disney World is {some date}" and the widget will display a countdown on your Echo Show devices. Also, it works VERY well in the parks if you're using the Alexa app on your phone, Echo Buds, Echo Frames, or (my personal favorite) the TalkSocket device. Lets you ask things like "Where can I get a churro?" and based on your location it will guide you to the nearest place to get a churro (or whatever snack or food you might want). It's not perfect...I'm keenly aware of some of its bugs and quirks...but I'm kinda proud of it. Totally free for now (although I might add some premium features in the future). Please check it out and let me know what you think.

Andrew CJun 19, 2023

Just got this email…

Jenny72Jun 17, 2023

For what it's worth, we used the smart speaker to order extra blankets today, and it actually worked -- 20 min later we had our blankets. I think that's the main function of the "Hey Disney" thing. Which explains why when you ask for park hours or other information, it tries to give you, say, six irons.

MrPromeyJun 15, 2023

👋 Hi mom! I had no idea you had an account on here and had been posting all these years! Also, when did you sneak off to Disney without saying anything? Also, who's this "us"? 🧐

AylaJun 15, 2023

That's hilarious. 😂

Jenny72Jun 15, 2023

We have this in our room at POFQ. I don't know if we're just bad at this, but for us it's comically inaccurate. I asked for ride recommendations (just out of curiosity) and it offered us several hair dryers. I was afraid it was going to really request them so I started shouting at it that we wanted 'zero' hair dryers, and then it offered us a portable crib. When we tried to redirect it, it kept telling us to go ask a cast member. It was highly amusing to us for a few minutes, though...!

Coaster LoverJun 15, 2023

Not sure if I was just not asking in the right way, but I couldn't get it to provide park hours.

The Moles FamilyJun 15, 2023

Now to figure out how to get it work in the UK, probably via VPN. Does the home version tell you park hours etc still?

Coaster LoverJun 15, 2023

Just enabled the skill at home. I think the part I (as a 39-yr old man) will get the most use out of is the "Soundscapes" (specifically the "Parks" one which basically is a trip around the park with soundtracks (and background sounds) from various areas around the park (Main Street , Tomorrowland, the train station, Frontierland, etc ... it very much gives the feel of what it would sound like to take a casual walk around the park)

DisneyDreamer08Jun 15, 2023

It was in our Poly room in March. We unplugged it though. Family of 4 with multiple devices so we needed the outlet space.

dreday3Jun 15, 2023

This was not in our Beach Club room in April! I was kind of looking forward to trying it.

DCBakerJun 15, 2023

The Hey! Disney voice assistant is now available in the Alexia Skills Store for most voice-activated Echo devices. "Amazon and Disney announced Thursday that “Hey Disney!,” the new voice assistant built on Alexa technology, is officially available in the U.S. It’s available for most voice-activated Echo devices. Hey Disney! marks the first time that an Alexa Custom Assistant (ACA) has launched on Echo devices inside customers’ homes. ACA allows companies to customize Alexa’s technology so it’s specific to their brand and supports their in-house tech. The custom assistant has its own voice and personality, which the companies are naming “Disney Magical Companion.” It features over 20 characters across Disney, Pixar and Star Wars franchises, including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Olaf, Moana, Dory, Mater, Chewbacca, R2-D2, Fozzie Bear and more. While users can ask Hey Disney! simple commands like setting an alarm or timer, there are also thousands of custom interactions, from jokes and greetings to trivia games and soundscapes, among other activities. Plus, users can engage in “Play-Along Adventures” or interactive audio and visual experiences. The companies wrote in the announcement that the adventure feature allows users to go on “fun-filled journeys like going fishing with Goofy.” Additionally, there will be hidden “Easter Eggs” built into the experience, which will apparently “surprise and delight customers,” Aaron Rubenson, VP of Amazon Alexa, told TechCrunch." ----- "Users must sign up for an annual subscription in the Alexa Skills Store to access the voice assistant, which costs $5.99 per year. It will also be included with a subscription to Amazon Kids+ ($4.99/month or $48/year)." Full article below.