LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., – Since Walt Disney World Resort opened in 1971, technology has been the spark of theme park thrills and chills, as well as magical moments for guests of all ages. With Disney’s innovative exhibit at the Orlando Science Center’s 11th annual Ortronicon event, VoluntEARS showcased the changing technology that has made this magic possible through the years.
Through hands-on activities and insight from tech-savvy Disney Cast Members, Central Florida students and their families experienced real-world applications for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
“As we shared this glimpse of the behind-the-scenes technology at Walt Disney World Resort, you could really see students get excited about the science and math involved,” said Disney VoluntEAR Kim Masi. “By experiencing real-life STEM applications like these, kids are inspired to pursue their dreams of becoming the engineers, scientists and technology professionals of tomorrow.”
Guests of the exhibit learned how Disney uses 3D printing to envision new costumes, attractions and more. They took a virtual ride on The Barnstormer roller coaster and learned how a motion-based simulator platform creates realistic effects for Star Tours – The Adventures Continue at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The exhibit’s interactive features also included an introduction to animatronics and Disney apps that enabled kids to create and color characters in 3D.
Proving that yesterday’s innovations can still produce impressive effects today, Disney VoluntEARS at the Ortronicon exhibit showed children the Pepper Ghost effect, used to create the famous dancing ghosts at Disney’s Haunted Mansion. This trick of light works by reflecting animated props below guests’ “Doombuggies” onto clear glass in front of them. Guests see what appears to be three-dimensional, translucent ghosts dancing in the ballroom below – a feat that has delighted (or spooked) guests for decades.
A four-day celebration of interactive technology, Otronicon attracts thousands of Central Floridians to experience the innovative technology changing the way we live, learn and play. Disney VoluntEARS have participated in Otronicon for the past five years, highlighting the fascinating technology behind their work and engaging students in STEM exploration. Besides participating in Otronicon, Walt Disney World Resort supports the Orlando Science Center with grants, in-kind donations and volunteer leadership.
“By kindling students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math, Otronicon opens new doors to exciting educational and career opportunities for our community’s young people,” said JoAnn Newman, president and CEO of Orlando Science Center. “When STEM professionals like Disney VoluntEARS share their experiences and enthusiasm, they help bring a world of new possibilities to life for our kids.”