From early pneumatic tiki birds, to more advanced hydraulic pirate auctioneers, to the cutting edge, all-electric Na’vi Shaman of Songs, Walt Disney Imagineering is always looking for ways to make our characters more expressive, believable and reliable in some of the most demanding situations on Earth.

A Constantly Evolving Program

The Imagineers behind our A-1000 program are on a mission: to combine the best of industry with decades of know-how to deliver our highest fidelity Audio-Animatronics® figures ever. Our team brings together experts in fields like electrical, mechanical and software engineering; simulation; materials science; mechatronics; and robotics to extend and perfect the state of the art in character performance. We develop new hardware systems for building physical characters, new software tools for more direct translation from artist’s hand to high-fidelity performance, and new ways of thinking about design and systems integration.

Meeting both Technical and Creative Demands

The A-1000 team partners with Imagineers from disciplines like show design, plastics development, figure finishing, and show programming to uncover and solve design challenges that exist nowhere else. How might we build a mechanical face system that can represent a human pirate as easily as it can an animated princess? Could we harness algorithms to generate electromechanical character bodies in various height ranges at the touch of a button? And how do we do it all while delivering Audio-Animatronics figures that perform flawlessly 365 days a year and are still relatively easy to install, maintain and repair?

More than just Robots

A-1000 characters like Hondo Ohnaka from Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run represent only the beginning of an incredible new era of Audio-Animatronics figures. By building on the legacy of the past and inventing the technology of the future, Walt Disney Imagineering does more than build robotic versions of familiar characters — we give life to "actors" who are ready to move audiences through believable and emotive performances in the grand tradition of Disney animation.