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Ideate and present concepts that use creative technology to create a magical, story-driven experience where guests can interact with and ultimately purchase products within Disney Parks.

The experience should introduce a new, scalable way for guests to shop and integrate with the existing Shop Disney Parks mobile app.

The primary goal of this project is to create a testable prototype that allows us to learn more about a virtual shopping experience.


The Teleporter Shopping Pod is a virtual storefront that deeply immerses guests in themed shopping experiences of their choice.

Guests can enter the pod in Frontierland and at the turn of a knob, the pod teleports them to Tomorrowland where they can virtually shop for Star Wars products.



Four categories to test ideas within:

Explore ways of immersing guests in a compelling story experience and understand how it affects shopping.

Themed Shopping
Replicate themed shopping experiences, virtually, and understand the advantages of virtual environments.

Product Size
Understand the importance of physical product size and how products should be presented on virtual “shelves”

Guest Interactions
Understand desirable levels of phone interactions

To gain a deeper understanding of achieving these concepts and how they relate to virtual shopping.



Determining Size
We wanted it big enough to be immersive, small enough to have a manageable footprint.

So we 3D modeled a rough shape and brought it into VR, where we could quickly get a sense of scale.

After some modifications in VR we understood:

  • Minimum 8’ wide by 8’ tall
  • Perfectly round would be great but 5 panels at 30˚ angles would likely be sufficient for prototyping
  • Window size minimum is 5’ wide

Projection Mapping Platform

The original intention was to cut out the window and to project the “world” on the rear wall, viewable through this window.

This was unsuccessful. The added real depth between the pod window and the wall caused the rear projection view to appear very flat, the opposite of the desired effect.

As an experiment, we placed the cut out pieces back in, with a slight recess, and this provided all the depth we needed.

When combined with projection mapping, the “window” illusion is more effective this way.

We now successfully had an immersive physical platform to test projection mapped content.

We don’t need real depth to create believable immersion. In fact, overdoing it has the opposite effect.



We immediately knew the pod should have some personality, a name that’s probably an acronym.

So we came up with PAT – Park Access Teleporter.

PAT is our guide that takes us between worlds.

PAT is an experimental, futuristic technology that may not be quite perfect yet… and PAT knows it.

PAT isn’t human but has just enough artificial intelligence to make sassy remarks on your choices.

All of this, of course, helps us test immersion and storytelling techniques as it relates to virtual shopping.


Product layout proved to be the significant challenge that we all expected.

We started by attempting to place products “in scene” as if they were a natural part of the environment.

This was unsuccessful for a various reasons:

  • Product shot perspectives and lighting will probably not line up correctly with environment
  • Seeing plush toys and t-shirts in a story world doesn’t make story sense (i.e. Why would plush toys be on Tatooine?)
  • Shopping becomes a scavenger hunt, adds friction to shopping rather than improving
  • Fixed limit to product quantity and product choices. Updating would require significant effort.


Knowing that “in scene” products wouldn’t work, we tried separating the products from the environment.

PAT, being our guide, could “scan for products” related to the world and display them on a heads-up display (HUD).

This was successful because:

  • Products are a representation of items in the world, rather than an actual part of the world
  • Guests are reminded that this is a shopping experience and not just an experiential ride
  • Virtual nature of the display is an advantage, displaying anything and at any quantity


It’s important to separate the immersive world with the actual products. It grounds the shopping experience in reality, removes friction for guests, and provides more product display flexibility.

iPod and Nest Inspiration

Inspired by the original iPod scroll wheel and the Nest thermostat, we built a UI navigation system based entirely on a wheel.

This limited in-pod phone use while still providing a way to navigate through the product HUD.

As guests rotated the wheel, sets of new products could come in. The faster they rotated, the faster it could jump through sets.

In a product details view, the wheel could be used to rotate a 360˚ view of the product.


Keep the navigation mechanic simple yet flexible. The physical act of using a dial, keeps guests off their phones and more into the experience.


To create a greater sense of immersion, we had apply some old-fashioned Disney magic.

We synced up external lights to animate with the teleportation animation and to provide ambient lighting for the worlds we teleported to.

Adding a fan to the teleportation experience created the feeling that something magical was happening.


Although this is a virtual shopping experience, the physical details matter as they help immerse guests in our story.


In the end, this experience should bring guests back to the Disney Shop Parks app.

We integrated the app as part of the story where PAT “sends products” to the phone. From there, guests can add products to their bag and checkout.

Any guest in the pod can receive the selected product and add it to their bag. While our prototype uses Bluetooth to send product selection, we could use Light ID to ensure product selection within the walls of the pod.

Guests can simply take their phone and leave / check out at anytime.


Product Display

  • Integrating products into the scene feels very unnatural. Product perspectives are wrong and if it’s corrected, they become it’s too well integrated and hidden.
  • Separating the “world” from a product HUD allows guests to be inspired by the theme but know that they’re still in a shopping experience.
  • “Actual size” on display doesn’t translate well. It’s still a screen so we don’t necessarily believe that it’s the actual size. Providing a reference for scale is possibly more effective and believable.
  • Respect a limit on the number of products we show. It’s very easy to overwhelm the guest and create a daunting experience rather than a curated, delightful one.
  • Be selective. Not all products will make sense with the story and that’s okay.

Guest Interactions

  • Keep it simple. Using the phone as a controller or a capture device requires them to mentally leave the experience and learn an additional UI while already in one experience.
  • Don’t frustrate guests with complicate gestures or interactions that could repeatedly fail (i.e. voice recognition).
  • Allows guests to have initial interaction without their phones. At any time, they can connect and it will work.
  • Allow guests to leave and checkout at any time.

App Integration

  • Draw clear lines for when the user should be using their app
  • Avoid overly tight app integration where guests are forced to continuously looking up and down
  • Creating a control mechanism (a dial) keeps the guest in the experience while still allowing them to navigate through products. Products should be added to the app only to “add to bag”
  • Allow guests to keep their hands free. Holding their phone creates a natural tendency to look down and away from the experience.