Skip to main content

Amazon partners with Disney on a ‘magical voice assistant’

Amazon announced a new partnership during its annual September event with worldwide entertainment giant Disney that essentially creates a parallel Alexa universe known as “Hey, Disney!”

Hey, Disney! will roll out on Amazon devices in 2022 and create a “magical voice assistant” that works alongside Alexa at home, as well as at the Walt Disney World Resort.

What is Hey, Disney! all about?

Hey, Disney! is essentially Alexa for the hospitality industry, according to the announcement. It will become available inside Walt Disney World Resort hotel rooms and let fans and guests interact with Disney characters just by saying ‘Hey, Disney!’ on supported Echo devices.

“We’re bringing the worlds of Disney directly to Echo devices with Hey, Disney!” said Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices and Services. “By combining the strength of Alexa’s technology,with Disney’s unmatched storytelling expertise, we’re creating the next generation of immersive experiences to make guests’ vacations more memorable and giving our customers a way to make their homes a bit more magical, too.”

Amazon says the Hey, Disney! voice assistant was developed from the ground up, with a massive amount of input from the world’s biggest entertainment company, and will use original character voice recordings and audio for its “over 1,000 magical interactions.” It will all be led by a new cartoon- and kids-focused iteration of Alexa simply dubbed Disney.

Hey, Disney! will mark the first time that what Amazon is now calling Alexa Custom Assistant will be available on Echo devices. Alexa Custom Assistant is a new business-focused solution built on Alexa technology that allowed Disney to create its own custom voice assistant tailored to Disney’s personality and customer needs. Alexa Custom Assistants use unique wake words, voices, personalities, and capabilities, and they can coexist and even work together with Alexa.

What will Hey, Disney! do?

Amazon and Disney promise that Hey, Disney! will be at the heart of what’s termed “interactive Disney storytelling experiences and entertainment.” It will also be geared toward kids with content like jokes, fun facts, and surprise interactions using Disney characters. The interface will be tricked out with interactive adventures kids can go on with Mickey, Dory, Olaf, and other characters, or they can simply sit back and listen to their favorite Disney stories.

While these experiences will be available for kids and families at home, the entire ecosystem will be be embedded into the Disney resort experience. Once it’s placed inside Walt Disney World Resort hotel rooms as part of an upcoming integration using Amazon’s Alexa for Hospitality service, Amazon says that Hey, Disney! and Alexa will work side by side and help improve the overall hospitality experience by providing guests with a digital in-room butler. Guests will be able to say, Hey, Disney! to get more towels, ask the fastest way to get to the park in the morning, or ask where to get your child’s favorite food.

This new partnership will be sure to get a lot of attention within the hospitality industry since it will allow hotels and resorts to more easily deploy Amazon Echo devices at scale (great for the Amazon bottom line), as well as create unique voice experiences tailored to specific chains and brands.

Editors' Recommendations

Erin Lawrence
Erin has over 20 years of experience as a journalist in the media and news industries, with time both on camera and behind…
Ring security camera buying guide
Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Pro on wall.

When it comes to Ring's lineup of home security cameras, there's certainly no shortage of models to choose from. Whether you're thinking about adding surveillance to a few rooms in your home or want to create a cohesive net of Wi-Fi-powered monitoring for every room, along with a few outdoor locations, there's a Ring camera that will get the job done.

Like many DIY home security solutions, it can be a bit daunting to sift through the many types of cameras and other security peripherals that Ring offers, but that's where we come in. We've been writing about and testing Ring products for years, so when it comes to adding a Ring camera to your home, we know exactly what we're talking about.

Read more
Amazon Devices & Services livestream: Alternatives to every announced product
roku streambar ultra 2020 side angle closer

Amazon recently debuted a bunch of new gadgets, including the Kindle Scribe, Rise Halo, a slew of new Echo Dot smart speakers, and more. And while just about everything revealed during the Devices & Services livestream looked fantastic, there are already a lot of existing smart home products that fill a similar niche.

Whether you’re looking for a budget replacement or simply can’t wait for a release date that’s over a month away, here are some great alternatives to consider. All of these are available for purchase today and feature a skill set that’s comparable to Amazon’s latest devices.
Hatch Restore is an affordable Halo Rise alternative

Read more
Despite its new features, Astro is still impractical for most people
Astro looking at a dog on a couch.

Amazon's Astro is among the most interesting devices in its entire product lineup. The idea of an intelligent home robot tickles something deep in our psyches, harking back to old episodes of The Jetsons. At its Devices & Services event, Amazon announced a ton of new features for Astro that make it more useful than before, and even expand its functionality to small businesses, too. Yet despite all these features and updates, the Astro remains largely impractical for most people.

If you're going to drop almost $1,500 on a robot, it needs to do more than look at things.

Read more