This morning the Disney PR team invited me and my son Matt to test out their new Disney Memories virtual character greetings in Times Square, New York. We didn’t quite know what to expect. But we knew we were in for something pretty big, as the gigantic Cinderella’s castle (projected onto a building) came into view.
As we got signed in, Brewer from the publicity team, explained the concept. Free augmented reality experiences allow people to interact with Disney characters, even when they’re miles away from Disney World or Disneyland. You line up (it wouldn’t be a theme park experience without a line, right?), and when it’s your turn, you are escorted to a pair of blue footprints in the video area. You’ll see yourself on the huge screen, above the Disney Store across the street, and before you can say pixie dust, a surprise Disney character appears on the screen with you. You and your character (we got Minnie the first time, and Goofy the second) will clown around in an interactive show that’s broadcast live on the billboard for all of Times Square to see. Afterwards, your picture is taken (the grand finale!) and displayed for about 5 minutes on another billboard–the one with the huge castle. Disney also emails you a copy as a souvenir.
But here’s the trick. Even though that Disney character might be dancing or high-fiving you on the big screen, they’re not really next to you. This is virtual reality, remember? So you have to watch the screen, follow their cues, and hope you get it right. It’s a little like playing a Wii video game, which explains why my attempt to kiss Minnie on the cheek was a major fail! And when Goofy dropped a bunch of imaginary boxes for us to pick up, our attempts were, well, kind of hilarious. But that’s why it’s fun! Each experience is different, depending on which character you get. We watched 2 guys get in a sword fight with Captain Hook, and a group of friends dancing with Toy Story’s Woody. I was there about 45 minutes, and never saw a character repeated. Old favorites (Minnie, Goofy and Cinderella) were joined by newcomers like those from Tangled and The Princess and the Frog.
The virtual greetings will be available on 45th Street in Times Square (in the center island, right across from the Disney Store) today (Friday, November 18) and tomorrow (Sat, November 19). So if you’re in the area, check it out! Though it’s a limited engagement for now, I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing this in major cities nationwide in the near future! This cool video shows more about what it’s all about.
Here’s a look at how our own Disney Memories virtual experience unfolded.
I’ve often compared my love for my career to that of any relationship. I have this true love and passion for what I do (or am trying to do) and even on the days when I want to throw in the towel because I hit a wall, I always know I could never turn my back on it. To me, this is what a good relationship is all about. To love someone, or in this case, something, enough to hang in there even when it looks bleak.
Recently, I noticed that my “relationship” with this company has become stale. So, like anything that it worth while, I sat down to figure out how to put that passion and excitement back into my work. Instead of trying to recreate what I’ve done, which I have decided is nearly impossible, I am moving forward. The part of this adventure that was exciting came in the development, in the discovery and in the unknown. It is time for me to get back into the creative mode!
To jump start this, I have put together a presentation and have spent a great deal of time talking to the kids at school. It has not only been educational for me but has boost the energy and excitement in what I do. It has also put deadlines back into my life. I am a big believer in committing to something so you are accountable to complete your goal within a time limit. I promised to take the kids along on this journey so they are expecting to see prototypes. I’m also on my way to a toy convention in a few weeks and am crossing my fingers that this prototype will be making the journey with me! It may or may not happen but that in itself brings the excitement to the project!
How are you rekindling the passion in your career?