Zootopia's Duke Weaselton audio-animatronic at Shanghai Disney. Photo copyright Disney

Duke Weaselton Steals the Show at Zootopia Grand Opening

A Zootopia-themed land opened in Shanghai Disney yesterday. Well, today by the calendar. But it was yesterday for anyone in the Western Hemisphere. As part of the festivities, Josh D’Amaro, Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, was joined onstage by a stunning audio-animatronic. Thanks to Imagineer Dustin Schofield for the footage.

Duke represents the next generation of animatronics. Earlier this year, Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development (R&D) and Disney Research unveiled a skating, somersaulting robot at South By Southwest (SXSW). Duke is the first Disney character to use this robotic technology. In fact, there were two animatronics on stage today (yesterday).

While we can’t tell you many of the details of how Imagineers brought Duke to life, or where you might see similar robotic technology in the future, we can share with you one secret: to pull off this achievement required not one, but two robots working together in sync. Not only was Duke a robotic figure, but so was the kiosk itself!

Disney Parks Blog

We can’t wait to see characters like Duke in the parks!

Photo copyright Disney.