Interactivity at Disney

This week my family and I are at Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida.  We've done this trip many times before, and it always amazes me the level of interactivity and user interface that a typical visitor encounters at Disney.

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This year we rode on the new and improved Test Track ride, which has been completely redone (they said we were there on opening day)  To make your wait time more bearable, they have riders design a car at a kiosk while waiting in line, and then the car you design continues to show up throughout the ride experience.  The ride doesn't change based on the car you select, but it is fun to see the experience customized a little bit to acknowledge you are there.  The users take the car with them by scanning in an HID badge, and then scanning their badge in at various locations throughout the experience.  During the ride your car's "stats" are compared against the test car that you are riding in.

The system worked for me rather well, although my fellow riders could not seem to get their car to show up during the ride.  The interactivity area at the end seemed to have several glitches, especially with the "racing" kiosk.  I would scan my badge in, but nothing seemed to happen.  Then I moved on to another station to see if it was working, all the way around this racing pit.  Eventually 5 version of my car showed up on the screen, but by that time I was already moving onto another activity.  I bet a few lines of code could fix most of those problems.

I'm also a huge fan of the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger spin.  On this ride, you zap targets throughout the ride, and your score is tabulated on your space ranger vehicle.  I didn't do as well as my father this year, but nevertheless it is a ton of fun.  I would like to see them add some sounds to that ride so you know when you've successfully pulled the trigger on your zapper.

Anyway, Disney is far improved from my childhood, and every year it seems to get better with additional interactivity.