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WALDO Controls & Disney Castle Show

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by alcole6185, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. alcole6185

    alcole6185 New Member

    So I'm new to the forums here, hello everyone!! I have a few questions. I have heard about the WALDO control system which seems to be what Disney uses for their castle show. However, I know most characters see out of their mouths and eyes. What happens when they are blinking or in the rest position (Where, in this case with moving mouths, their mouths are closed. Also, I have heard that some people have crafted WALDO controls out of Wii controllers and such. I'm new to this system but am looking to try and experiment with building one.... Any thoughts? I work best with illustrations and I find that a search online doesn't bring much to light.....Any help would be appreciated!!
  2. fragglerockr

    fragglerockr Well-Known Member


    I think those proprietary systems are very different. For the Disney character shows such as 'Dream Along With Mickey ', the puppeteers are the actual character performers onstage. If you watch it closely, you can see the characters moving their hands and fingers when the characters speak. I think they also control the eye blink. It would seem that the controls are inside the character gloves. So a slight movement of a finger will control a blink or a mouth movement. Go watch some video of the show and you will see what I mean.

    I'm not sure how they see when they blink. I'm assuming they either have a monitor or just suffer a moment of temporary blindness. If you've ever been a mascot character of any kind you will know you always have limited vision and movement.

    From what I've seen demonstrated and as I understand it, the WALDO system creates a physical 3D character in real time that is controlled but a puppeteers movements and actions. A puppeteer puppets a mouth plate of sorts and it appears to do the actions on the screen or monitor. It may have come a lot further since then but that's the basic idea.​

    I have heard of some people using a Kinect hack to make a "virtual" puppet that does something similar.

  3. alcole6185

    alcole6185 New Member

    I was misinformed I guess. So let me rephrase. I had heard a Waldo system was the glove mech That is the type of mech I am looking to make ( one hand does eye blink, one does mouth open/close) and I had heard of people doing this with some of those new game controllers and stuff. Also I thought it might be momentary blindness but being hard to see already, then plunging into darkness is a whole new level of performing!! So I am trying to figure out some way of just figuring out some way to rig up this mouth open/close and eye blink system exactly as in Dream Along with Mickey. Now that I know someone knows the show I can reference that. So not Waldo.....is there a name for the type of glove system? And could I figure out how to rig that up? any thoughts? Thank you for clearing that up I am new to this mech/ animatronic sort of puppetry!
  4. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    These controls are often a lot simpler than you think. Maintaining complex systems that use Waldos is expensive and time consuming so I think a lot of shows with talking character heads use basic mechanical controls like what Fragglerockr describes. Some shows use expressive, servo-driven heads, but they are controlled by the prerecorded audio track of the character's voice using MIDI or something similar.

    A remote controlled head could be a nightmare for live performance because radio control is often plagued by interference, servos break, etc. Remember that Disney has millions of dollars and some of the best technologists around at its disposal. You're much better off with something that uses basic mechanical controls.

    Try searching for the forum for old posts about cable controls to find some good information.

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