I am Groot. I am Groot. I AM GROOOOOOT! Sorry about that! We were just practicing for the meet and greet of our dreams — you know, a meet and greet with THE walking Baby Groot robot.
Got no idea what we’re talking about? Well, allow us to let you in on the beautiful phenomenon that is the walking Baby Groot robot.
“Why do you have Baby Groot on the mind,” you ask? Well, over at EPCOT we’ve been keeping a very close eye on the construction happening for the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind ride!
Not too long ago, we got a peek inside a big part of the queue — the Galaxarium.
We’ve gotten a behind-the-scenes peek at the ride…
…and a new commercial for the ride too!
Disney has also announced the official OPENING DATE for the ride — May 27th — and has shared that select guests can get an early preview of the ride.
The ride is (of course) focused on the characters from the Guardian of the Galaxy movies. On Disney’s own website it notes that guests will get to join Rocket, groot, Gamora, and Star-Lord on this ride. In the commercial and attraction posters, Groot appears, but is in a much older, adult form.
So, it’s not as though we expect to see the walking robot version of Baby Groot in this ride, but all of the talk about the Guardians of the Galaxy ride got us thinking about the REMARKABLE walking Baby Groot Robot Disney shared a video of nearly a year ago!
We first got a glimpse of this unique creation during a private media event. And when we say glimpse, we mean it! We only got to see it up on the screen for a few seconds and then it was GONE!
We had seen similar tech in a patent Disney filed at the end of 2020 for a “Legged High-dexterity Self-balancing Capable Robot Actor.” At the time, some of the images were for more of a Judy Hopps figure. But one depiction did have a bit more of a Groot-like appearance.
After the quick glimpse in the media event, we thought that maybe it was all a dream because, seriously, a WALKING Baby Groot robot?! Maybe that’s just too much to ask of the universe. But, it turns out it was NOT a dream! Disney later shared a full video and more details of this incredible project!
The robot isn’t “stuck” in one spot like what we’ve seen with other animatronics in the parks. Instead, as you can see in the gif above and the video below, the character is only attached by a thin cable (which is used for live programming). Other than a few minor cables, this baby Groot robot could walk around freelywhich could be a total GAME CHANGER when it comes to character interactions in the parks!
This walking Baby Groot robot is what Disney Imagineering has called “Project Kiwi” — a “Small-scale, free-roaming robotic actor.” (TechCrunch) The overall goal of Project Kiwi is to move characters into spaces with guests, while keeping them at a proper scale so they still are genuine.
This robotic Groot has expressive eyes, textures on his face and body, and other details that make it a TOTALLY believable Disney character — all while being kid-sized!
According to TechCrunch, this version of Project Kiwi is “Groot-flavored” but this technology could take different forms when it gets to the parks.
So…when will this walking Baby Groot show up in the parks?! Well, Project Kiwi is still a work on progress. Back in April of 2021, TechCrunch said that guests shouldn’t expect to “see this in the wild soon” and that Walt Disney Imagineering “doesn’t have immediate plans to put it in the parks.”
Still…it is a SIGHT to behold. Check out the video below to see more!
According to the TechCrunch article, while Project Kiwi still has a lot of work left to do before it can appear in the parks, “It’s already well on the road to being viable for things like stage performances, photo ops and eventually free roaming deployment in the parks.”
Click here to see our full article with more details about this walking baby Groot robot
Again, Disney previously noted that it didn’t have immediately plans for this to go into the parks and that a lot of work is still left to do. That what based on the TechCrunch article from back in April of 2021.
Almost a year has passed since then, but we really haven’t seen any big updates from Disney about this tech just yet, though the project was discussed a bit during Destination D23 back in November of 2021.
At that point, we got to see a video of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro interacting with Groot!
— Disney Food Blog (@DisneyFoodBlog) November 20, 2021
Still, we can’t help but share the details about this robot again because it’s just TOO EPIC to not remind you about! Click here to see our full article about this creation. What forms would you like Project Kiwi to take in the future? Tell us in the comments! And, as always, stay tuned for more Disney news.
Click here to see something that could change character interactions FOREVER
What walking robotic Disney characters would you like to see in the parks? Tell us in the comments!