This weekend at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro showcased Disney’s long-time commitment to innovation by pulling back the curtain on ways Disney creates intentional environments envisioned and built for happiness.
D’Amaro’s presentation, “Creating Happiness: The Art & Science of Disney Parks Storytelling,” was delivered at the essential destination for global professionals. SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals celebrating the convergence of tech, film, music, education, and culture.
“Disney’s 100-year legacy is built on the intersection of creativity, innovation, and storytelling,” D’Amaro said. “We’re humbled by the fact that millions of people choose Disney as their vacation destination every year to escape into our beloved stories. To our guests around the world, I want to tell you that we’ve only just begun.”
Disney Imagineers, the team behind making “broomsticks walk and cars talk” took the stage to share some of the unique and ambitious ideas that bring Disney stories to life and spark happiness for millions world-wide. D’Amaro and Disney Imagineers shared insights about how creating immersive environments, sensory-provoking food and music, visual effects, interactions with favorite Disney characters and world-class service from Disney cast members are all designed to bring people together to create their own stories again and again.
The “Creating Happiness” presentation included the unveiling of a brand-new prototype robot. Pushing boundaries of what characters can do in Disney experiences, the new robot demonstrated its ability to make dynamic maneuvers, including falling down and getting back up, as well as a somersault. The dynamic robot incorporates motion-capture data to create performances that evoke emotion, giving Disney Imagineers a new way to bring out a characters’ personality.
The presentation also included a behind-the-scenes look at another blue-sky concept from Disney Imagineers that lets fans have a live conversation with pixie-sized Tinker Bell. It’s the latest in innovations from Disney Imagineers to bring Disney characters, both big and small, to life in new ways. The Hulk character who appeared at Disney California Adventure Park in 2022 was also on display for the audience. This unique, exoskeleton allows performers to operate large, non-human characters.
Delivering more hope, inspiration and happiness is at the center of Disney’s next 100 years, D’Amaro shared. “We want to invent the future once again – together – drawing on a range of voices and perspectives that will help us continue to create even more happiness around the world.”
About Disney Parks, Experiences and Products
Disney Parks, Experiences and Products brings the magic of The Walt Disney Company’s powerful brands and franchises — including Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, ESPN, Twentieth Century Studios and National Geographic — into the daily lives of families and fans around the world to create magical memories that last a lifetime.
When Walt Disney opened Disneyland in Anaheim, California, on July 17, 1955, he created a unique destination built around storytelling and immersive experiences, ushering in a new era of family entertainment. More than 60 years later, Disney has grown into one of the world’s leading providers of family travel and leisure experiences, with iconic businesses including six resort destinations with 12 theme parks and 53 resorts in the United States, Europe and Asia; a top-rated cruise line fleet of five ships with three more planned in the coming years; a luxurious family beach resort in Hawaii; a popular vacation ownership program; and two award-winning guided tour adventure businesses. Disney Imagineers are the creative force behind Disney theme parks, resort hotels and cruise ships globally.
Disney Consumer Products, Games and Publishing includes the world’s leading licensing business; one of the largest children’s publishing brands globally; one of the largest licensors of games across platforms worldwide; and consumer products at retail around the world.