2017 Disney Imaginations Competition

Role | Team Lead, 3D Artist
Team Size | 4
Team Members |
Sara Zorns: Concept Artist, 2D Artist
Casey Bate: Research, Rapid Prototyping
Jeffrey Dib: Environment Design, Layout Design
Duration | 10 weeks, Fall 2016

For the 2017 Disney Imaginations Competition, the prompt was:

“Our parks, resorts, cruise ships and entertainment venues are designed to be places for families and friends to gather and create memories together. Beyond the attractions, restaurants, shows and parades, our parks and resorts include outdoor spaces that are functional yet invite guests to pause and enjoy the time in between their activities. We challenge you to apply some of our same design principles to create a new outdoor space within your college or university that addresses current students, faculty and visitors needs while providing a respite from the stresses of college life.”

Our Pitch
College is a stepping stone used to propel us forward into reaching our dream jobs, fields of study, and places we want to visit and explore.  However, reaching those goals require great effort, which is typically, but unfortunately, accompanied by stress.  Stress cannot become so great that students forget why they came to college and lose sight of their goals.  That is why we created Mindfulness, a place for students to reconnect with the goals and passions that drove them to attend college. It is important to recognize that not everyone connects with the same things.  Therefore, Mindfulness utilizes three islands of inspiration: Creation, Community, and Adventure.  Creation Island was designed to allow guests of any skill-level to explore their creativity with unique instruments and create art with their body movements in the projection mapping room.   Adventure Island features three, breathtaking mountain ranges from around the world, fitted with rock-climbing walls representative of the heights of the mountains along with foliage from where each mountain originates.  Other features include tree houses and grass chairs for guests to relax and a virtual reality cabin to explore some of the world’s most unique locations.  Community Island was designed with the intent of bringing everyone from the university together to create a supportive and inspirational place for all guests.  Main features include team building activities and a showcase display to highlight dreams and passions of different guests.  These three unique areas were designed to draw on simple passions that each individual may, or may not, find connection to.  Connecting to all three is not a necessity; what is important to Mindfulness is that each guest is able to disconnect from their work world by exploring one of our three, totally immersive environments.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Story Behind the Design
Inspired by the idea of creating an area that addressed the needs of our campus community, we interviewed and surveyed over 100 students, faculty, and visitors to find out how they like to relax. The responses were as detailed as they were diverse, leading us to take inspiration from Pixar’s Inside Out.  The movie’s main character, Riley, has five personality islands that make up who she is: family, honesty, hockey, friendship, and goofball.  We saw a similar collection of personality traits in our community based on our survey results; the concepts of creativity, adventure, and community were prevalent throughout our university. We wanted to bring those personality traits to life in Mindfulness. The concept of mindfulness is used in meditation practice to describe the state achieved by focusing one’s awareness and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. We felt this perfectly described our concept for the area, encouraging students and faculty to acknowledge their thoughts and feelings, but put them aside to focus on their true purpose and meaning.

User/Guest Experience
Mindfulness is not a single experience, but rather a platform for each visitor to make his or her own experience.  Our guests will start their journey into Mindfulness inside the Control Room as depicted in Inside Out.  Here, they will pick up their Memory Spheres, a customizable 3D printed orb fitted with a USB, to interact with each island and capture memories of their experiences.  Guests can take home their Memory Spheres and download any videos, pictures, or sound recordings to store into Long-Term Memory (their personal computer’s hard drive). The guests can then decide which island they will first explore: Creation, Community, or Adventure.  From there, each experience is different and customizable to every guest.  Guests can use their Memory Spheres to record sounds and songs from Creation Island, capture images from experiences in the Adventure Island virtual reality cabin, and project their memories onto the academic building to share with others in Community Island. Aside from being guests, students will have a unique opportunity to contribute to the three islands to truly be a part of the Mindfulness community.  This will encourage students to enhance their learning while also keeping the exhibits in Mindfulness current and constantly evolving.

2017 Disney Imaginations Competition: Participant

  • The project was conceived by the Rowan University Team and created for the 2017 Walt Disney Imagineering’s Imaginations Design Competition.
  • This project is the sole property of Walt Disney Imagineering and all rights to use these ideas are exclusive to Walt Disney Imagineering.
  • The competition is a way for students and recent graduates to showcase their talents and for Walt Disney Imagineering to identify new talent.