Disney gives GPS Nintendo DS to park visitors

Trials around US theme park helping guests find way around

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Visitors to Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom resort in Florida may soon be able to use the Nintendo DS as an interactive tour guide, complete with real-time information on wait times for popular rides as well as trivia quizzes to help pass the time while waiting in line.

Called the Disney Magic Connection, the interactive guide covers all sorts of things that are likely to be of use to visitors. It's GPS-enabled too, so visitors can pinpoint themselves on a general map of the park and won't get lost. By using the touch screen to request the nearest toilet, ATM, first aid post or suchlike, the DS will then use the GPS positioning data and draw a dotted-line showing the way.

Not the first time

Trials of the system are currently taking place at the Magic Kingdom, with visitors given a pre-loaded Nintendo DS. Should the trials be extended to a full roll-out of the program then it's expected that the required software will be made available to individual DS owners at sites throughout the park. No word on how much it might cost, but it's unlikely to be free.

It's not the first time that Disney has toyed with the idea of equipping its visitors with technology - in 2006 it staged trials of its 'Kimmunicator', whereby a PDA-type device was handed out to visitors and used to facilitate a treasure hunt-style game.

Baseball too

Disney isn't the only third-party to exploit the wireless capability of the Nintendo DS and give it an added purpose beyond its normal remit of playing games. Last year baseball team the Seattle Mariners launched a scheme where Nintendo owners were able to download software at their home ground, enabling them to order food and drinks as well as watch the real-time televised feed and keep abreast of the game's statistics.

It would appear that the Wi-Fi capabilities of Nintendo's best-selling console are only just being fully realised. If Disney's venture proves a success then expect to see more third-parties taking advantage of the handheld's capabilities.