Disney Announces Project Updates During D23 Expo 2019

During the star-studded D23 Expo in Anaheim the last several days, Disney announced plans for an Epcot transformation, the new Avenger Campus theme park attractions, a retail collaboration that will bring Disney stores to select Target locations, a first-of-its-kind Cirque du Soleil show coming to Disney Springs, a summer 2020 reopening of Disney’s Hotel New York in Disneyland Paris featuring a design based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a new port of call for Disney Cruise Lines on Eleuthera, and a new docu-series on the people behind Disney movies and parks. The company also revealed more details of its upcoming streaming video service. Continue reading Disney Announces Project Updates During D23 Expo 2019

Disney Brings Immersive ‘Star Wars’ Experience to its Parks

When Disney opens Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (which will debut this summer at Disneyland in California and this fall at Disney World in Florida), visitors will discover a multi-faceted, immersive experience that lets them build a droid, learn how to construct a lightsaber, and use their phones to hack data ports. All the while, they will also engage in a struggle for control of the fictional town of Black Spire Outpost. Walt Disney Imagineering exec Scott Trowbridge noted that visitors now want to be more of a participant than a spectator in experiences. Continue reading Disney Brings Immersive ‘Star Wars’ Experience to its Parks

Dreamscape Immersive to Expand Location-Based VR in 2019

Dreamscape Immersive focuses on creating virtual reality experiences as location-based entertainment in malls and other venues. From the entrance, a “departure lounge” that immerses visitors in backstories and props, titles such as “Alien Zoo” and “Lavan’s Magic Projector: The Lost Pearl” are intended to feel like journeys. Dreamscape chief executive Bruce Vaughn, who was former chief creative officer of Walt Disney Imagineering said it’s about reframing how audiences view virtual reality. Continue reading Dreamscape Immersive to Expand Location-Based VR in 2019

Audi, Disney to Demo Media for Autonomous Vehicles at CES

A future untapped market for media and entertainment is the time gained in our days thanks to the freedom provided by self-driving cars. As the world’s population increases, travel times also continue to grow. When we no longer have to focus on the road while in our vehicles, all that time becomes a perfect opportunity to provide content. Audi and Disney have partnered to create what the German automaker is calling a “new type of media” to fill that time. The fruits of this partnership are scheduled to be revealed at January’s CES in Las Vegas. Continue reading Audi, Disney to Demo Media for Autonomous Vehicles at CES

Disney Tests Prototype, Pursues Patent for Soft-Bodied Robot

Disney recently submitted a patent application for “a robot that will move and physically interact like an animated character.” The prototype sketch with the application shows a round body similar to the soft-robot character in Disney’s 2014 “Big Hero 6.” Before soft-body robots can be employed at Disney theme parks, the company will have to deal with the issue of robotic interaction safety, since the patent application implies that theme park guests will be able to hug the soft-body characters. Continue reading Disney Tests Prototype, Pursues Patent for Soft-Bodied Robot

Expert Predicts Madden NFL and Reality Shows Coming to VR

Videogame designer, Carnegie Mellon University professor and former Disney Imagineer, Jesse N. Schell, soared through a list of 10 virtual reality prognostications at Unity’s recent Vision AR/VR Summit in Hollywood. One of five speakers asked to soothsay about VR’s future, the creative director behind the “Toontown Online” massive multiplayer online game (MMO) predicted that by 2018, “Madden NFL” will be released in VR, and by 2020, there will be at least 10 VR reality television shows and a $10 billion VR adult video industry. Continue reading Expert Predicts Madden NFL and Reality Shows Coming to VR

SIGGRAPH 2015: More on VR and 360 Degrees of Experience

Last week we reported that beneath the aura of excitement generated this year at SIGGRAPH 2015 by the prevalence of virtual reality, a number of compelling panels examined the nuts and bolts of creating VR experiences, including managing workflow and assets. Part 2 of our report on SIGGRAPH VR panels continues with coverage of the VR Village sessions Creating on the Edge and Convergences in Film and Games Technologies, featuring perspectives from professionals in production, post production, visual effects, gaming and journalism. Continue reading SIGGRAPH 2015: More on VR and 360 Degrees of Experience

Industrial Light & Magic Creates VR/AR Projects in ILMxLAB

Earlier this summer, we reported that Industrial Light & Magic was launching its new ILMxLAB division to develop virtual reality and augmented reality experiences for movie fans. The experimental division has now shown off three of its VR and AR proof of concept projects. In addition, ILMxLAB houses a team from Walt Disney Imagineering that’s working on futuristic Disneyland attractions. None of it would be possible without ILM’s unique blend of creative staff, cutting edge technology and years of expertise. Continue reading Industrial Light & Magic Creates VR/AR Projects in ILMxLAB

SIGGRAPH 2015: Talking About VR, 360 Degrees of Experience

Beneath the aura of excitement generated this year at SIGGRAPH 2015 by the prevalence of virtual reality, a number of panels drilled into the nuts and bolts of creating VR experiences, including managing the workflow and assets. From a Birds of a Feather interest group discussion to panels of senior artists from the major studios and visual effects companies, almost everyone agreed that VR represents creativity on the edge. SIGGRAPH offered a 360 degree look at the issues and lessons learned thus far. Continue reading SIGGRAPH 2015: Talking About VR, 360 Degrees of Experience

SIGGRAPH 2015: XRoad of Discovery; Emerging Tech Conference Opens in LA

SIGGRAPH 2015, the interdisciplinary conference on the latest computer graphics and interactive techniques, is underway at the LA Convention Center and runs through August 13. SIGGRAPHis unique as a trade event because it showcases both the state of the art in professional production as well as being one of the best places in the world to see and experience emerging technologies, talent and academic research. The conference theme, “XRoads of Discovery,” and the selection of Joichi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab as the conference keynote speaker, underscore the future look. Continue reading SIGGRAPH 2015: XRoad of Discovery; Emerging Tech Conference Opens in LA

Disney Accelerator Program Announces its First 11 Startups

Disney has named the first 11 startups to participate in its 15-week Accelerator program. The diverse first class of tech-driven media and entertainment startups will be mentored by top Disney execs and receive up to $120,000 in seed funding. Mentors will include leaders from ABC, ESPN, Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar and Walt Disney Imagineering. The companies will be advised how to best develop effective business plans, product launches and marketing campaigns. Continue reading Disney Accelerator Program Announces its First 11 Startups

Disney Partners with Techstars to Launch Accelerator Program

The Walt Disney Company has announced a partnership with Techstars to launch an accelerator program that will help 10 startups get off the ground, while potentially providing the media giant insight into new innovation and creativity. Disney Accelerator plans to invest $120,000 in each startup, and provide them with the opportunity to work with Disney for three months starting in June (the application deadline is April 16). At the end of the program, Disney and Techstars may take a stake in one or more of the startups. Continue reading Disney Partners with Techstars to Launch Accelerator Program

Walt Disney Imagineering Redefining Alternate Reality Games

“The Optimist,” developed by Walt Disney Imagineering, is the latest take on the multi-platform experience known as the alternate reality game (ARG). Linked to the Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird film due in 2014 called “Tomorrowland,” the new ARG is part of Disney’s efforts to create new interactive experiences that place its audience members directly in the action and reach beyond the niche ARG audience to attract more people. Continue reading Walt Disney Imagineering Redefining Alternate Reality Games

Marvel Superheroes to Appear On Tour and Disney Cruise Ship

Hero Ventures will produce “The Marvel Experience,” a $30 million attraction featuring Marvel superheroes that plans to go on tour beginning next year. The first person superhero experience will include a 4D motion ride, 3D animation, motion comics, virtual reality and holographic simulations. In related news, Disney recently announced that it will also feature a number of Marvel’s superheroes aboard its Disney Magic cruise ship as part of its Oceaneer Club for kids. Continue reading Marvel Superheroes to Appear On Tour and Disney Cruise Ship

Disney and James Cameron to Bring Avatar to Theme Parks

  • Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide has announced a deal with filmmaker James Cameron and producer Jon Landau to bring “Avatar”-themed lands to its parks.
  • The first attraction is expected to start construction in the Animal Kingdom of Orlando’s Disney World by 2013.
  • Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment will consult with Walt Disney Imagineering in the design and development of the attractions, which will eventually be built in Disney’s international locations as well.
  • “The parks will not only play off the huge hit movie which dominated the box office for months in 2010, but also benefit from the release to two more movies now in pre-production,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Cameron has announced plans to release those movies at Christmas 2014 followed by the second at Christmas 2015.”
  • “‘Avatar’ created a world which audiences can discover again and again and now, through this incredible partnership with Disney, we’ll be able to bring Pandora to life like never before. With two new ‘Avatar’ films currently in development, we’ll have even more locations, characters and stories to explore,” said Cameron. “I’m chomping at the bit to start work with Disney’s legendary Imagineers to bring our ‘Avatar’ universe to life. Our goal is to go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling, and give park goers the chance to see, hear, and touch the world of ‘Avatar’ with an unprecedented sense of reality.”