ANAHEIM, Calif. Welcome to 360 Tomorrowland Way, the residence of the Elias family.
If you like technology, you'll feel right at home here.
Step into the foyer with one of the Elias family members, and the pictures and music change to fit their personality. When 10-year-old Robbie comes in, for instance, his favorite music plays, and pictures of his soccer team fill the photo frames. When his mom, Patti, comes home, it all switches to easy listening and family pictures.
Set some groceries on the kitchen counter, and a computer recognizes what they are and starts suggesting recipes. The big flat-screen computer in the corner does a quick check of what's in the pantry and fridge, preparing an electronic grocery list of needed items as it does.
At dinnertime, place a cell phone on the dining-room table and you'll automatically see in the table's glass surface pictures that were taken with the phone at school or work.
Push a button, and the living room transforms into a home theater. Drapes close automatically, lights dim and a 100-inch flat screen TV pulls up the list of movies in the home server or available for download online.
Bedtime might be best. As his dad reads "Peter Pan" to Robbie, the room comes to life, thanks to voice-recognition computers and projection systems. Tinkerbell zooms through the air, and an animated film of pirate ships wraps the room. A virtual cannon can fire a virtual cannonball through virtual clouds.
In her room, Robbie's teenage sister Chelsea has a "magic mirror" that lets her virtually "try on" different outfits and looks.
In fact, the Elias family members are only actors living a fictional tale. But the technology is very real.
In a unique mix of technology, fantasy and marketing, Walt Disney Co. and partners Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., home automator Life/Ware and builder Taylor Morrison this past week opened their new Innoventions Dream Home here at Disneyland.
The house, which Disney expects will attract about 1 million visitors a year, is at its core a marketing gimmick.
Each company paid Disney $1 million and up to participate in the home for five years. As a result, there aren't any Apple iPods or computers in the Innoventions Dream Home. If it runs on something besides Microsoft Windows, you probably won't find it in here.
"I don't think we ever implied that this is the only vision of the future, but this is our take on it," said Ray Aldrich, marketing and programs manager for HP. "We're looking at things here from our perspective."
The 5,000-square-foot house, with a total cost of around $15 million, is an updated version of a Disney staple of the 1950s and 1960s, the Monsanto House of the Future, which was an elevated, pod-like plastic home that was supposed to depict life in way-off 1986.
That house featured cutting-edge technologies such as a microwave oven and a giant (but non-operational) television that hung on the wall.
Disney's new house of the future also features technologies that are just now heading toward mainstream, such as touch-screen PCs and Microsoft's "Surface" table computer.
The 100-inch TV in this house works, as does the kitchen that tracks groceries using computer-connected radio-frequency identification tags and cameras.
But compared to the original House of the Future, Disney's latest one isn't really that futuristic at all, said Jonathan Cluts, director of strategic prototyping for Microsoft Corp. In fact, strip away the high-tech add-ons, and it looks like a stereotypical tract house.
Unlike with the Monsanto house, "when the guests go through the home, they don't feel like they're in Jetson-land or that all this is some whimsical bit of imagination from the companies involved," he said.
"Eighty percent of this stuff you could immediately go out and purchase," Cluts said. The rest, he added, is already technically possible, even if not readily available.
The companies involved are hesitant to say what it might cost to similarly outfit an average sized real-world house, but rest assured, it would cost tens of thousand of dollars for the same sort of gadgetry.
Or, you could go to Disneyland.