as a result of our development efforts and the successes of our disney-centric blog, etckt, i was recently a guest of the disney cruise line as they celebrated the christening of their latest ship, the disney dream.
the disney dream is an amazing ship that has virtually everything you could want on a vacation. the technology incorporated into all aspects of the ships design integrates amazingly well with the cruise experience; never feeling forced on intrusive from a guest’s perspective. some of it is even absent from your conscious thoughts, but it is ever-present. if you are interested, you can read more about our experiences on the disney dream over at etckt.com.
as a gift to all the press on this cruise was a lovely ipod touch; the newest model with the camera. the reason for the ipod touch, was a newly installed application for all the media to begin using once aboard the ship.
dream cruise is an application designed much like a traditional scavenger hunt, but using some of the latest technology to engage us media-folks. the ipod touch’s camera was integral to the experience, as was the immediate delivery of rewards upon successfully discovering new locations on the ship.
essentially, we had to explore the disney dream and locate placards with qr codes on them situated around the ship at key locations. once there, we used the ipod touch’s camera to snap the qr code and voila, a video would be unlocked for us to learn about that feature about the ship.
this was an amazingly engaging way to learn about the ship. moreover, for those of us that brought their families on the cruise, it was also an interesting way to involve the whole family. the entire “team” was enticed by this scavenger hunt and allowed us to not only explore the ship, but learn key details about the disney dream that were not evident by just wandering the decks.
during the cruise there was a panel discussion with some of the key folks at disney cruise line and imagineering to discuss the ship, its creation as well as answer some limited questions. i took the opportunity, as an ios developer, to commend disney on the inclusion of this app for the media. i also questioned them as to how we might see this rolled out in a larger way across their parks and resorts.
although i did not get a robust answer, the forum really did not allow detailed responses, i am hopeful that disney will really leverage this type of application development across their properties.
the ability to engage guests during lulls in their trip to the parks and resorts is an incredible opportunity for a brand like disney. with the upcoming expansion of many areas across their parks and resorts (cars land at disneyland, the new fantasyland in the magic kingdom, etc.) the time could not be more opportune for disney to capitalize on this development.
with the ever-increasing number of people playing socially integrated games (read: famville and their ilk) combined with the sheer numbers of ipod touch’s and ios devices in the marketplace today it makes for a healthy marketplace to engage the disney fan. there are multiple brands and properties under disney’s immense library of characters to would transition naturally into this social-gaming and location-based-entertainment space.
anyone who has been to disney, knows what it’s like to wait in lines. with the expansions they have planned, drawing more and more people, those lines and wait times are only going to increase. now imagine taking some of disney’s well-known and loved characters and placing them in gaming situations that are not only controlled by these ios-toting guests, but also location-aware. integrating that type of engagement and personally-directed time for the guest, those lines may not seem as daunting. integrating augmented reality and location-aware features may actually require checking in at locations within those queues as well; making a game of actually waiting in line and alleviating some of the boredom that inevitably comes when waiting for your favorite ride.
now you not only have, say, a hundred-acre-wood replete with pooh and his friends but a gaming device aware of the guests location and able to unlock new levels, features and goodies once the device reaches certain latitudes and longitudes; other words, once inside disney’s parks and resorts around the world.
people are spending millions of real dollars for virtual farm animals, guns and more along the gaming space. wouldn’t it behoove disney to begin leveraging their massive library in this manner and bring their story-telling prowess into this space? it is a win-win imho and hope that disney learns from these initial steps in augmented reality apps for the media and pushes into the wider consumer market.
in case anyone from disney is reading, i am happy to speak with anyone about this further; heck i can even be hired for this!
disclosure: i was an invited guest on this media tour of the disney dream. as a guest, the walt disney co. paid for my fare, but not my families, on the ship so that i could experience the disney dream first hand. the walt disney co. provided food and lodging during my trip to the park and aboard the disney dream as well as bus transfers to and from the port. i am under no obligations to the walt disney co. from this media cruise to write about my experiences.