While we recently learned what merchandise will be available at Avengers Campus when it opens at Disney California Adventure on June 4th, Disney fans with a good memory may have noticed a peculiar resemblance an older product has to the controversial WEB Power Bands that will interact with the attraction opening alongside the new theme park land.
Above is the WEB Power Band (and some of the add-on devices that will be sold for it), which allows guests to unlock special abilities while riding WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure. Interestingly, the design is remarkably similar (if not identical) to the main apparatus for Playmation, a line of interactive toys from Disney that debuted in late 2015. The toys were designed to be able to be connected to the internet, where they could unlock new missions and track their progress, but they also interacted with toys that the player could digitally “fire” repulser blasts at, just like Iron Man. Disney developed much of the technology for Playmation internally, before handing it off to Hasbro for distribution.
Here’s a video showing off the toys in action:
And here’s a video Disney has released with an actor playing around with the WEB Tech accessories:
Playmation proved to be disastrous for Disney. The Wall Street Journal reported on its shortcomings in June 2016, leading to the starter pack, which originally sold for $120.00, to be available on Amazon for $23.00. Later waves inspired by Frozen and Star Wars ultimately failed to materialize. Normally, that would be the end of the story, but even before Playmation was released, things took a turn.
At the time of its development, Bob Chapek was president of Disney Consumer Products, but before Playmation hit store shelves, he would become president of Disney Parks & Resorts, serving in that capacity until he was tapped to become Disney’s CEO last year.
Walt Disney Imagineering and the product developers knew that they had this toy fully developed, and knew pitching the reuse of a failed product that the company had lost money on would tickle Chapek’s fancy. Given Chapek’s track record with parks and resorts, it’s no surprise to see an item from consumer products, that was put in motion during his time there, recycled as something “new”.
Do you think this new offering resembles Playmation? Is it even the same device? Share your thoughts in the comments!