**I received an all expense paid trip thanks to Disney. All my opinions are my own and not swayed by outside sources.**
When you walk into Disneyland or Disneyworld, you are transformed into a magical place. When you sit down to see a Disney movie at home or in the movie theatre, you are transformed into a magical place. That is because Disney is truly magical in every sense of the word. When we step into this world we don’t even realize how much goes into it behind the scenes. We see the finished product but not what steps is necessary to achieve that final product. Well to get to that final product of the magic of Disney, we need the Disney Visionaries and Dreamers. Last month on my press trip for #TomorrowlandBloggers, I had the chance to sit down with two extraordinary dreamers and visionaries- Charita Carter and Mike Goslin. After talking to them about their dreams, they inspired me to pursue my very own. After all, we can’t get anywhere in life without our dreams and visions.
Charita Carter is the Senior Creative Producer/Manager at Walt Disney Imagineering. We sat down with her first and she was a beautiful person inside and out to talk to! She has worked with Disney the past 17 years and has grown her way through the company. She told us how she got her present position which was a truly remarkable story. She started out at Imagineering first as an accountant with no idea that she would eventually use her creative side at Disney. After her accounting job, she moved to the position of financial analyst for the creative division, where she became more of a strategic partner for them and started working on the front line.
” I put together a proposal, and fortunately it’s all about timing. We had a new chairman that was coming in. And I got an opportunity to present that proposal for how we could expand our blue sky area. It was funded. And that opened up the door for me then to come into creative. I started out running the internship program ,working with the artists and the illustrators, then started working with some of our strategic, technical groups, development groups within creative.
Then started focusing on one in particular, which is called the scenic illusion team. And basically we were looking at every aspect of theatre if you will, audio design, projection, visual effects, special effects. And we’re innovating. We’re constantly trying to create new techniques and tools for our designers to use to manifest the vision of what ends up in the park.
So from accounting to managing a development team, and then a lot of what we would come up with would need to be implemented. So as a producer I’m often that one that takes something that we develop for the first time and says lets do this. I love that. ” - Charita Carter
She told us she thrived in the transition because everyday at work is completely different. At the end of the day, it is not about numbers but rather being creative and letting your creative side take over. She loves doing stuff for the very first time and being an innovator.
We then asked her what roles she was most proud of?
” I often say I’m most proud of the one I’m working on now presently. I would start with this park though. I think Indiana Jones Adventure and the Eyes of Mara were a lot of fun. It really was a unique opportunity to use some of the techniques and tools that we had developed in our lab. And then seeing how it resonates with guests. It’s heart warming.- Charita Carter
She did say though that she has to be careful to keep the classics the way they are because people feel very strongly about them. She does not want to change the original, just make some of the techniques more modern.
She loves bringing new people to Disneyland and showing them the magic that all of us love! It is especially rewarding to her to bring young kids through who have never been there before. It is seeing their faces that makes everything worth it, to her.
She also told us she started at Disney because of the proximity when she first started her accounting job. Once she heard about Imagineering from a friend, she knew she wanted to be involved. She loved Imagineering upon her first arrival.
It was also interesting to learn that she was a hand model. A small tidbit for all of you!
She was such a genuine person and I learned so much from her especially that if you have a dream, you need to make it into a reality!
Mike Goslin is the vice president in charge of production and content at Disney Consumer Products. If he is a new name to you don’t worry because that will be short-lived. He is the mastermind behind Playmation. If you have not heard of Playmation, you will in about a week because it will be the hottest toy this holiday season.
“Playmation is a new system of toys and wearables that work together to create a new kind of play experience. We’re basically bringing old school play into the twenty first century using technology and wrapping in Disney stories. We are currently launching the first playmation with The Avengers.
We’re giving kids superhero powers for real in the real world. For example, if you can imagine you have Iron Man’s glove. I can put that on and battle a robot across the room. A real robot and I shoot it and I feel a kick in my hand and there’s great audio effects and light streaming down my arm and the robot over there shakes and falls over and then we’re building stories on top of that kind of an experience.” – Mike Goslin
He told us they are all connected with infrared light technology and Blue Tooth flow energy with their radio. They all have different kids of networks for different devices but they all connect to each other and the cloud so they can update it and the experience evolves as you play more.
One of our first questions for Mike was how do you integrate with the feature division to use their content?
” We work very closely. For example, with Marvel Avengers, we worked with the Marvel team, the story team, very closely and so we basically collaborate on developing the stories. We’ll come up with something that our system can do really well and match up with some stories that they want to tell or characters that fit well and then we kind of go back and forth and develop it in tandem with them.”-Mike Goslin
Next we wanted to know if the stories are based on the movies or separate?
“In the case of Avengers, it’s sort of in the classic Avengers universe, so it does tie into some of the themes from the movies and we do key off of the characters. Our big villain is Ultron, but we also have some characters that aren’t strictly from the movies so we have an opportunity to tap into some of the characters that people don’t know as well and go deeper into it because it’s hours and hours of play, so we have a lot of ground to cover.
He told us the concept started about three years ago. Since the Internet is so big, they though they could use this to create storytelling entertainment opportunities and use the current technology to active play. The Playmation is targeted towards kids six to twelve but really everyone would love to play. It is a great family game that you do not need an app or even a screen to play with. No internet is required. You can play for hours upon hours with just the devices themselves.
Mike also told us that this Playmation is for both boys and girls. There is no separation when it comes to Superheroes. They want to keep everything open ended and want both sexes to equally enjoy it.
He also told us that they are already in works with other main characters such as Star Wars and Frozen, so there is much more to come. When you bring digital and physical together, it gives you a new kind of experience that you weren’t able to do before. A lot of things have changed and they are just starting on this. They have been learning for years as they went along.
We then wanted to know if the technology or the story comes first?
“It is really a cycle, so sometimes we start with technology and then that leads with the story. We really want to tell this story about story about empowering heroes but then sometimes we’ll invent something that’s really cool that doesn’t necessarily fit in exactly. We will do what can we do with this. And sometimes it can lead, and our development process is cyclical, so we’ll build something really quick and oftentimes, we’ll fake it before we’ve even built the, the technical version.
We’ll fake it. We’ll have somebody behind a curtain and we’ll bring kids in and play test. We’ve done extensive testing and see if it’s fun. Then we’ll build it, but if it’s not working or so and then sometimes somebody will come in with hey, I built this thing. I don’t know what it’s good for. What can we do? And so it goes both in directions and we have people that can kind of work in both modes really well. We have people that are both creative and technical and it’s a great collaborative effort from the team to construct these experiences.” -Mike Goslin
You can buy the Playmation Starter pack for a bit over $100 and it just came out this week with the Avengers. It has a repulsar gear which is like Iron Man’s glove and then in November, they’ll come out with the Hulk version, so it’s two Hulk hands. For the Iron Man one, it’s his glove, you have two smart figures which are these action figures that can be brought to life by putting them on power activators, so two power activators, two smart action figures and the repulsar gear in the Iron man set, with the figures coming to life.
There is also missions that Mike Goselin told us about in the starter pack.
“So one of the things we do is we have to introduce all the different things these can do. These are very full featured devices. There’s a lot of depth. You have forty different abilities that you can unlock for the repulsar gear, for example. Increasingly powerful attack and so what we do is we create this story line where, where you are being recruited by The Avengers. Ultron is back. Ultron, the evil,, artificial intelligent robot, is back and he’s overwhelming The Avengers, and so they’re recruiting other superheroes to join them and they need to get them equipped and trained and out in the field.
So that’s kind of our story and so we tell this tale of, you’re battling Ultron all around the globe in all these really cool locations from the films and the comic books and as you play, you unlock more missions and the missions basically guide you through.”-Mike Goslin
It was so nice interviewing Mike Goslin. He was a wealth of knowledge and introduced me to the new and improved gaming world.
Playmation will most definitely be the dreamers toy come to life! It is in stores now and will continue being released so check it out today!