how cool will this be Future visitors to Walt Disney World will be able to reserve ride times from their home computers and bypass hotel check-in desks entirely once they arrive at the resort, the head of the Walt Disney Co.'s global theme-park division said at an investors conference Thursday. It is part of a series of technological advances Disney is developing in hopes of making visits to its increasingly crowded theme parks easier to plan and less intimidating to navigate, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs said at the conference in Anaheim, Calif. "In the coming years, we'll introduce a broad set of systems and tools that will help us create a more seamless and personalized experience," Staggs said. Staggs' comments offered the first detailed glimpse at a secretive initiative dubbed "Next Generation Experience," or "NextGen," that Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has been working on for more than a year. Former company executives have said the budget for the project is nearly $1.5 billion — nearly as much as Disney is spending to build a pair of 4,000-passenger cruise ships. In his remarks, Staggs described a "a version of Fast Pass for the an entire Disney vacation." Future guests, he said, will be able to reserve specific ride times for popular attractions and secure seating for shows and restaurants long before they leave their homes on vacation. They will also be able to able to obtain their room keys in advance, eliminating the need to check into hotels and allowing them to proceed immediately to their hotel rooms or the theme park once they arrive on Disney property. "Our tools will help our guests better understand all that we have to offer and better plan their time with us," Staggs said. Other advances, he said, will include incorporating more personalization into rides and character-greeting areas, the expansion of interactive queues designed to entertain people while they wait in lines and new, behind-the-scenes tools designed to let park operations workers better monitor and direct crowd flow to ease congestion. The initiative will also include Disney culling more personal information from its guests, which Staggs said would ensure more personalized experiences. Staggs declined to say when Disney would begin to implement many of the advances in its theme parks, though he said the company has already applied for "a number" of patents related to the work. Disney would not elaborate on his comments in any detail. "It will be some time before we roll out the bulk of these developments," Staggs said. "But we're well into development." The decision to pump more than $1 billion into developing systems that aid in vacation planning and crowd flow underscores one of the biggest challenges facing Disney's flagship theme-park resorts, particularly Disney World, which has four parks and roughly 25,000 hotel rooms. As those resorts have grown bigger over the years, they have also become more complex to navigate and more crowded, threatening to undermine Disney's historically high guest-satisfaction ratings and deter repeat visits. "We know that our guests love creating great memories," Staggs said. "We know they don't exactly relish waiting in line, checking in at the resort or feeling uncertain about how to navigate our property."