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.

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