Technologists and recruiters from across The Walt Disney Company recently showcased the technology behind the memorable characters, iconic stories and immersive worlds that The Walt Disney Company is known for at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) 2018. More than 20,000 attendees from around the world traveled to Houston to discover the latest innovations, meet with representatives from hundreds of companies and celebrate the role and contributions of women in technology.

GHC WDW TechThe Disney Career Expo booth gave GHC attendees the opportunity to connect with technologists and recruiters from across our segments, including: Disney|ABC Television Group; Disney Parks, Experiences, & Consumer Products; ESPN; The Walt Disney Studios; Lucasfilm/ILM; Direct to Consumer and International; Disney Streaming Services; and Pixar. Over the course of three days, Disney representatives met, interviewed and extended employment offers to top female talent in the tech space.

At GHC’s Technology Showcase, some of the innovative women who are helping to shape the future of technology in their roles at The Walt Disney Company presented four uniquely Disney demonstrations that highlighted some of the newest innovations being created across the worlds of Disney:

  • The cutting-edge technology Disney showcased included the Na’vi Audio-Animatronics® figure from Pandora—The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The Shaman of Songs figure, which is the most complex of its kind, is a collaboration between Walt Disney Imagineering and Disney Research.
  • Attendees stepped into virtual worlds at the Disney•Pixar Coco and Marvel virtual reality (VR) demonstrations. Alexa Hale, manager, Production Technology, was involved in creating the Disney•Pixar Coco VR experience. “The viewer can actually interact with the world, so we needed to make sure that [in the experience] everything looked as phenomenal and absolutely stunning as it does in the movie,” Hale explained.
  • Technologists from ESPN shared a look into the new ESPN app and ESPN+ streaming service, which recently surpassed 1 million subscribers in just over five months. ESPN+ allows users to stream their favorite sports programming on any device. “It was a big project for ESPN. A lot of engineers collaborated with product managers, quality assurance and designers. Plus, we worked with Disney Streaming Services, a new group in The Walt Disney Company,” said Grace Ryu, 2017 Grace Hopper hire and software engineer at ESPN.
  • Inspired by the famous “purple wall” located in Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort, Disney technologists created an augmented reality (AR) wall using iPads and Disney’s custom AR application. Attendees were invited to virtually share how they dream big!

GHC attendees were also invited to test their skills with the first-ever Disney Coding Challenge. Quoc Nguyen, manager, Engineering, shared, “For this challenge, we used an existing ESPN engineering team question [and asked attendees to complete it] using the languages Java, JavaScript, Swift and Python.” Top performers received prizes in celebration of their accomplishments.

GHC WDW TechWe brought an extra touch of Disney magic to GHC by partnering with artist Jerrod Maruyama to create a Minnie-inspired design that pays tribute to women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), which could be found on tote bags, laptop stickers and T-shirts. Additionally, #DisneyTech was the top-trending branded term during the conference across social platforms.

Disney participation in GHC is just one of the many ways that the Company supports women in technology. “In the entertainment industry, diversity and inclusion are often thought of as ‘in front of the camera’ initiatives. However, they are important for every aspect of the business—not just what we do, but also how we do it,” says Brandon Tao, event representative, Campus Programs. “Attending events [such as GHC] shows that Disney is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in all areas of entertainment, and specifically lifting up women in technology.”

To explore opportunities at Disney, visit Follow DisneyCareers (#DisneyTech) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to hear more about our technology, our employees and how we are aligning technology, content and platforms to deliver world-class, personalized entertainment experiences to consumers around the world.

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