Disney engineers showcase theme park innovation to inspire local kids and families at annual STEM-focused event
Guests visiting a Disney Park often wonder, “How’d they do that?”
During the recent Otronicon event at the Orlando Science Center, dozens of technically minded Disney VoluntEARS showcased the creativity, innovation and technology behind the magic as a way to inspire future professionals in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
A celebration of all things in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), Otronicon shines a light on the ways modeling and simulation, interactive technology, digital media and other technologies are changing the way Central Floridians live, learn and play.
At the four-day event, Disney engineers infused fun and interactivity to demonstrate how Disney pushes the boundaries of creativity, innovation and technology to bring stories to life in new ways. The team showcased early innovations such as the use of Pepper’s Ghost effect at Haunted Mansion to some of the latest advances used to bring Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to life.
In addition, kids and parents received a 3-D glimpse into the latest expansion at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Using augmented reality, visitors experienced 3-D representation of a model used to create Pandora – The World of Avatar with its awe-inspiring land of floating mountains and bioluminescent rainforests.
“Today’s students will be the technical professionals of tomorrow creating and maintaining the attractions guests from around the world experience at Disney Parks,” said Dennis Lind, vice president of Design and Engineering for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “By participating in events like Otronicon, we hope to fuel the fascination of young people and open up some of the opportunities available for them in technical fields.”
The Otronicon event attracts thousands of kids, families and technology enthusiasts from across Central Florida to the Orlando Science Center.
“Otronicon is a perfect reflection of Orlando Science Center’s mission to inspire science learning for life,” said JoAnn Newman, president and CEO of Orlando Science Center. “Through a collaboration with industry leaders across our community, including Disney, we are able to help spark an interest that could carry the next generation of Central Florida’s scientists, engineers, doctors and other technical professionals for the rest of their lives.”
Otronicon is one of the ways that Walt Disney World supports the Orlando Science Center, a Disney Grants recipient that also receives in-kind donations and board member support from Cast Members. For the past six years, engineers from Walt Disney World Resort have also volunteered to participate in Otronicon.