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Play Disney Parks App Launches Early, Bringing Interactive Gaming to Ride Queues

June 28, 2018

ORLANDO, FL–While officially launching this Saturday, Disney quietly launched their new Play Disney Parks app (Android, iOS) in time for the Toy Story Land Press Preview event that kicked off earlier today. We had a chance to talk to two of the Disney execs behind the effort and learn more about what Disney is trying to do in the age of smartphones and gaming.

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OneDublin.org: Given how glued folks are to their smartphones, will the new Play Disney Parks app help draw eyes back into the real world?

Scott Andress (Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Digital): “We’re trying to provide a platform for guests to interact with each other, their friends and family, by turning that wait time into play time. People will be able to interact with each other, and the environment around them, through the game play on the device. We’re building ways for people to look up, interact and collaborate with each other to accomplish goals in a fun new way that we are uniquely able to bring to life here at Disney Parks.”

OneDublin.org: Can you share a specific example of how the app will work with an attraction?

Josh Gorin (Walt Disney Imagineering): “To echo what Scott said from an Imagineering perspective, we want our guests to be immersed in these worlds. People come to Disney Parks because they want to experience fantastic places, connect with the people they care about most, and do impossible things. As we were designing these experiences the goal was to create something that did not feel like a traditional mobile game, but rather something that was a new layer of storytelling in the parks.

“For example, the Peter Pan’s Flight that attraction is all about flying over Neverland with Pixie Dust and happy thoughts. The game is centered on you and your family recounting your happy thoughts. There are conversation prompts to remember fond memories, activities where you are drawing, guessing and asking questions from each other, family polls, followed by a scavenger hunt for actual physical props hidden throughout the queue. In Disneyland, once you’ve collected enough Pixie Dust you get the opportunity to activate a beautiful lantern effect that may reveal a very special fairy from the world of Peter Pan.

“The goal is not to have people’s noses buried in their devices but rather to get them looking up and engaging with the world around them, and most importantly engaging with each other.”

OneDublin.org: How does Imagineering collaborate with other parts of the company and different disciplines to create something new?

Scott Andress: “This Play Disney Parks app is a great example of that cross-discipline collaboration. We develop the foundation for the experience together with Imagineering and our technology teams, all working together to bring ideas together, concepts and capabilities together and working to create experiences that are worthy of what our guests expect. It’s because we have all of these teams to work with that we were able to create Play Disney Parks which is unlike anything else that exists today.”

OneDublin.org: Looking forward do you see augmented reality playing a role?

Josh Gorin: “We absolutely intend to take advantage of things like augmented reality, but we also have the benefit of ‘reality reality’ – meaning our Parks are incredible physical places. We intend to bring in AR and a host of other technologies, this is just the beginning of a huge number of new experiences that allow our guests who want another layer of interactivity and personalization to have that experience, without impacting the experience of those who don’t. As we look forward to new lands such as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, where we are working very closely with the Imagineering teams to deliver that attraction, we’re able to build those layers of interactivity very early on to create something special and truly, uniquely Disney.”

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