Disney is looking for more cost-effective ways to visualize characters in the attractions without having to employ complex electronically-controlled mechanical animation. And, frankly, none of these alternative techniques are quite effective.
The Buzz Lightyear figures with the facial projections are not convincing.
And, the two-dimensional Pepper's Ghost video projections don't do much for me, either.
I would not mind seeing Disney invest in researching and developing stereoscopic displays that do not require guests to wear special lenses. Certain newer video displays use lenticular arrays to orient the light they emit to different eyes, but the users still have to be fairly close to the devices.
I also don't mind the effect used on the Califia statues at Golden Dreams.
Perhaps, Disney could project animated, photorealistic imagery onto moving heads from outside the figures instead of from inside, as is the case with Buzz, currently. In that way, complex and smaller facial expressions could be visualized while the larger movements would remain mechanical.
It also might be more cost-effective to use live performers, more often, also, especially during the expositions and resolutions of stories when the plot is not as important and when interactivity and improvisation is suitable.
Does anyone have opinions regarding the alternatives toward which Disney has been gravitating in recent years?