Sunday, February 17, 2008


In November I took a trip out to California and went with a friend on my first trip to Disneyland. I have been to Disney World a couple times but that was approximately 20 years ago and my memory of it is vague and apparently, a lot has changed since then. Now as a "grown-up" and a professional exhibit designer I can really appreciate the creativity and hard work that goes into these illusions/rides. The animatronics in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride was fantastic. They were so realistic it looked like Disney hired Johnny Depp to stand in the display and act the part of Captain Jack Sparrow. They have really come a long way since the "It's a Small World" ride that I loved as a child.

My favorite of all the rides that I went on was definitely the Buzz Lightyear. Thumbs up to Disney for adding a bit of interactivity to its rides. On most rides, the visitor just sits in a car that takes them on a track through the immersive environment and they just passively watch the entertainment. On the Buzz Lightyear ride, the visitors have ray guns and have to shoot at targets while the car moves. When the ride is over it shows you who got the high score in your car. It's like being inside a video game. When you get out of the car you can go to a kiosk and type in your email address and it will send you a picture of yourself on the ride (see above). This part is hilarious. My friend and I had no idea it was taking our picture so you can see from our expressions how seriously we took the task of defending our planet. 

I loved this ride and applaud Disney for adding this interactive element. I think they should keep moving in this direction of making the visitor part of the experience.

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