If you’ve every been to Disneyland or Disney World, you know that the parks are all about magic and the experience. The amount of time, energy, technology and “imagineering” that goes into even one attraction at the park is amazing, and it takes a special type of Disney Dreamer to do create that magic.
Last month, when we were at Disneyland learning more about Tomorrowland and it’s upcoming release, we had the opportunity talk to two Disney Dreamers – Charita Carter and Mike Goslin. While neither is directly linked to the movie Tomorrowland, both dreamers are creative minds and talents that Disney relies on both in the park and for their fans at home experience.
Charita Carter works for Walt Disney Imagineering and helped shape Blue Sky Strategic Initiatives, and is currently Senior Creative Producer and Development Manager of the Scenic Illusion team. Charita started her career with Disney as an accountant – and unlikely start for someone in the creative field. But her creative side took over and now she helps create the visual effects at Disneyland and Disney World. I asked Charita if the switch from accounting to creative was hard for her: “It is a different mindset. [Accounting] was something that I was able to do. Now I am actually doing something I think I designed to do.”
What is an Imagineer? Charita and her team help create the visual effects you experience on the rides and in the attractions. All of these visual effects help you experience and immerse yourself in your favorite stories while keeping true to the original story line and characters. The Imagineering team helps bring technology to the classic stories and updates them for modern day users. “You know, we have to be very careful when we go in and we touch the classics because people feel very strongly about them. And to be able to take a story that is loved and use new techniques to give kind of a fresh delivery of that and then to have it so well received I think has been really, really rewarding.”
On the consumer side, is Mike Goslin VP of Production and Content at Disney Consumer Products. Mike also has worked in the Imagineering side of Walt Disney Company and was on the team that built a series of ground-breaking virtual reality theme park attractions including the THEA award-winning Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold, Aladdin’s Magic Carpet VR Adventure, and Hercules in the Underworld. Mike is currently working in product development, and helping bring Disney magic home. His team is currently working on the final launch of Disney Playmation – an interactive gaming system that children (and adults) can play as their favorite Marvel Characters, with Iron Man being the first character launching this year. “[Playmation is] a system of toys and wearables that work together to create a new kind of play experience. We’re basically bringing old school play into the twenty first century using technology and wrapping in Disney stories.”
Playmation is bringing technology and play together. “Imagine you have Iron Man’s glove. I can put that on and battle a robot across the room. A real robot and I shoot it and I feel a kick in my hand and there’s great audio effects and light streaming down my arm and the robot over there shakes and falls over and then we’re building stories on top of that kind of an experience.” All of the Playmation toys are connected using Infared and low frequency blue-tooth and radio waves. This allows the wearer to play with other users within a 30 foot radius, and outside as well as inside. No app is required to play and create your own adventure, but new features can be added using an app as well. The technology used allows you to play with the devices without any additional gaming systems or items needed.
Similar to the exhibits in the park, there is a huge team of creative talent, engineers and tech gurus to make the new products work. In their early testing phases, not everything is set up – but they want to test to see how children will respond to the products. “We’ll fake it. We’ll have somebody behind a curtain and we’ll bring kids in and play test. We’ve done extensive testing and see if it’s fun. Then we’ll build it… It goes both directions and we have people that can kind of work in both modes really well. We have people that are both creative and technical and you know, it’s a great collaborative effort from the team to construct these experiences.”
Tomorrowland is a movie based around dreamers like young Frank, who are looking to make the world a better place through their talent and their innovation. Both Charita and Mike are dreamers that do the same. Making people experience their dreams is a way to make the world better, and while it’s not as futuristic as parts of Tomorrowland, some of their ideas definitely are! Keep dreaming Charita and Mike, and keep shaping our world!