When the Star Wars hotel was originally announced at the 2017 D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, Disney made it clear that for the first time, fans of a galaxy far, far away could truly become part of the Star Wars story, even role-playing as their own Star Wars characters if they so choose.
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Now, Disney has given a first look inside of the Star Wars-themed hotel, which officially “blasts off” on March 1, 2022, and amid the lightsaber training, delicious meals, and overall immersion featuring numerous new sequel trilogy-era characters, there’s one lesser-known feature that could actually change the Disney Parks Guest experience forever.
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As one recent article noted:
The character that guests get the most time with, however, is a droid named D3-O9. D3 is an artificially intelligent character that is accessible in every single guest cabin. Each guest essentially has a personal D3 to share their experiences with, speaking to her as often or as little as they choose. D3 listens, remembers, responds, offers advice, and becomes part of the experience and story alongside the guest.
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The ComicBook.com article went on to share that D3’s lead designer, Imagineer Dawson Dill, shared with their writer that:
“So as the events on the Halcyon Starcruiser unfold, those events affect her [D3-09] and how they affect her are made up with the decisions that the guest makes. So from a development perspective, I think it was a fun challenge to bring D3-O9 to life because it was a technology piece. It’s using speech recognition, natural language, understanding, whole bunch of fancy conversational design technology that we’ve been developing.”
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This artificial intelligence droid could ultimately shift the Disney Guest experience throughout all of the company’s Parks and Resorts. Imagine, for example, if all Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort hotels were equipped with a similar feature, or if a system similar to D3-09 could be accessed on one’s smartphone 24/7, getting to know Guests better every time they visit a Disney property.
The company is already slated to add digital concierge services to all Disney World hotels via a partnership with Amazon.
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Dillow continued, sharing that Walt Disney Imagineering is viewing this unique new Star Wars character as a “stepping stone” to integrating AI into the Disney Guest experience over time:
“At the Imagineering R&D group, we’ve been working on this platform and D3-O9 is definitely the first, the limited play test to really put this out there for the first time. But the hope is that this is a platform that we think it can bring a lot of different Disney characters of life in different ways, on different mediums and different platforms. It’s been a long road to get here. We’ve been looking at a lot of this for a while, but this is sort of the first big stepping stone that we’ve put out in the water.”
More on the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser
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Despite the fact that Disney even went so far as to remove a particular marketing video following intense backlash, social media has decried first looks at the unimpressive interior as “pathetic”, and Disney executives are reportedly aware that Star Wars fans are “crying out in horror” regarding what they’ve seen so far, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek remains adamant the overall Star Wars hotel experience will leave Guests “blown away.”
Keep in mind, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and the Starcruiser fall in the Star Wars timeline between Star Wars: Episode VII – The Last Jedi (2017) and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019), meaning iconic characters like Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) are deceased.
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We do know, however, that the legendary Chewbacca, plus sequel trilogy characters Rey and Kylo Ren will be on board and Guests will take a port excursion to Batuu’s Black Spire Outpost — but Guests who don’t choose to cancel their stays will simply have to wait and see what else awaits them onboard.
What do you think about the impact D3-09 could have on Disney Guests in the future?
Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Walt Disney World Resort’s four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!