Wednesday, October 7, 2015

So excited to share, I met with two amazing Disney Dreamers! #TomorrowlandBloggers

As you all know, I was able to go to L.A for a blogger junket/press trip a few weeks ago for the release of Tomorrowland. If you haven't seen it, in the movie Tomorrowland, young Frank was an inventor and a dreamer who dreamed big. During this trip we were able to do several interviews with some awesome peeps. Disneyland is a place where dreams come true, and for two people I was able to interview, they are not only getting to live their dreams every day, they are also making them a reality. 
Meet Charita. 
Charita Carter (the sweetest person by the way), is living her dream working for Walt Disney Imagineering.She is a creative producer for Imagineering. And also manages an application and prototype development team.
Her smile is not only contagious but overall, she is just amazing because you have to hear about her story. She is the brains behind Indiana Jones Adventure, the Eyes of Mara at Disneyland, and at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida's Pirates of the Caribbean, the Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow. 
We had a chance to do a little Q & A with her. I want to share that with you here:
1) Someone in our group mentioned that her story is amazing and here is what she had to say about it:
Charita: She starting at engineering as an accountant. She had no idea she would become a creative. She worked her way from the bottom to the top! What a business woman!
2) Do you find it hard breaking into the creative side?
Charita: No, you know, and the reason why I didn't find it hard-- it was strange but not hard for me was because I was able to do accounting. I was good at accounting. I had relatives who were accountants. But it wasn’t 'til I got on the creative side where it was “a little bit more chaotic” where you-- you weren't regimented. And you weren't closing the books on the 15th of, you know, and every day was different. I realize that's really where I thrive. So it was like this realization, um, and-- and taking on that role that I love not knowing exactly what's gonna happen next. I love doing stuff for the first time. I love, you know, leaving the breadcrumbs and saying, come on, follow me. You know, and so I-- I've realized that that's really kinda how I was wired. The accounting part of it was I was more in the box myself. And when I was able to move into creative it really opened it up. Now that's not to say anything, you know, bad about accounting because it’s wonderful. But it’s a-- it’s a different mindset. It is a different mindset. And like I said it was something that I was able to do. Now I am actually doing something I think I designed to do.
3) What are you working on right now?
Charita: Well, I can't tell you specifically. Um, because it’s not announced yet. But I can tell you this that, um, I'm working on a couple things that will be first in terms of our technique and the way that we’re gonna be executing for the company. And that's really exciting to me. Um, it’s scary sometimes. But it’s also very, very exciting.
4)How long have you been in the creative side?
Charita: Okay, so I've been with Imagineering for a total-- actually, it’s been 18 years. And I've been on the creative side for eight of those years.
5)What projects are you most proud of?
Charita: You know, I often say I'm proud-- I'm most proud of the one I'm working on now because it’s, you know, but, um, I would start with this park. I think, um, Indiana Jones Adventure, the Eyes of Mara, it was a lot of fun. It really was a unique opportunity to use some of the techniques and tools that we had developed in our lab. And then seeing how it resonates with guests is just-- it’s heart warming.
6)When you go to the park do you go- "I did that!"?
Charita: You know what, I actually do because one of the things that I love to do is I love to find people in my life who have not been to Disneyland. That's when I get to enjoy it as a guest. There's nothing more rewarding. So, um, it’s-- that's about this is what I did. And it’s more about really just being clued in to how they're experiencing it and what they're seeing and what's resonating with them. And it frees me up to be that guest, you know? When I come with people who've been here many, many, many times I'm more in-- I have more of a tendency to be critical. Okay, oh, we could've done that different. You know--
7) Are You Proud Of Things?
Charita: I am proud. I love-- you know, especially the kids in my neighborhood I love bringing them to Disneyland and saying check this out. You know, I-- I'm gonna admit, that's-- that's true. That's true.
8)What attracted you to Disney initially?
Charita: I’m gonna be perfectly honest with you. It was more-- it was about proximity. I actually-- yeah, yeah, I actually as an accountant had worked primarily after I left a CPA firm I, um, worked primarily in the food industry. And I made my in roads into the creative industry by a company that was actually subletting their building from the Disney Company. It was literally across the street from Imagineering. Always loved Disney, always loved the offering, didn't always see myself as a part of the magic when I was younger, especially with the kind of trajectory that I had taken. But upon my [UNINTELLIGIBLE] at Imagineering that's where I really kind of fell in love. 
9): Did you have any connection to the film? (Tomorrowland)
Charita   :   No, not specifically the production of the film. Yeah, and often times it--
10) Did you deal with the ride?
Charita: Um, let me see, I have not worked with anything in Tomorrowland with exception of a member of my team did the new murals for, uh, Star Tours. So-- and we used a technique to do those murals that-- that my team developed. That's my only kinda connection directly with Tomorrowland here in the park. 
11) What is one thing people should do in Disneyland?
Charita: Oh, that's a hard one because limiting it to one thing-- um, I would say, well, you have to go check out the Eyes of Mara over at Indiana Jones. You must do that today at some point. Um, but I would just really encourage them to do as much as you can do. You know, uh, just, you know, your feet might get tired. But, you know, go for it and take advantage of it because the park offers so much variety.
I was so excited to have been able to speak to her and all of us interview her! She is such a sweet lady! I can't wait to meet her again!
Another person I was able to interview is the brains behind consumer products! Do your kids play with Disney branded Toys? More than likely, he is the brains behind it. 
Meet Mike Goslin
Mike Goslin was pretty laid back and had me excited about Playmation. You will learn more as you read on. Mike Goslin is Vice President of Co-, Production and Content at Consumer, Disney Consumer Products.
1) Who is Mike and why is he here?

Mike: So I’m Mike Goslin. I’m the Vice President of Co-, Production and Content at Consumer, Disney Consumer Products.  I’m working on a new project called Playmation.  It’s a system of toys and wearables that work together to create uh, a new kind of play experience, so we’re, we’re basically bringing old school play into the twenty first century using technology and wrapping in Disney stories, so uh, an example of this is we’re, we’re launching with The Avengers version of Playmation.
2) About Marvel's Avengers:
So Marvel Avengers.  We’re giving kids superhero powers for real in the real world [TECHNICAL INTERRUPTION] so I can put on, so imagine you have Iron Man’s glove.  I can put that on and battle a robot across the room.  A real robot and I shoot it and I feel a kick in my hand and there’s great audio effects and light streaming down my arm and the robot over there shakes and falls over and then we’re building stories on top of that kind of an experience.
3) How are you connecting them?
Mike: They’re connected with, nfrared light and Blue Tooth flow energy and our own radio.  Different kinds of networks for different devices, but they all connect to each other and the Cloud so we can update it and so the experience evolves with you over time as you play.
4) How do you integrate with the feature division to use their content?
 Mike: So we work very closely, so for example, with Marvel Avengers, we worked with the Marvel team, the story team, very closely and so we basically collaborate on developing the stories.  We’ll come up with something that our system can do really well and match up with some stories that they want to tell or characters that, that fit well and then we kind of go back and forth and develop it in tandem with them.
5) Are the stories based on the movies or separate?
Mike: In the case of Avengers, it’s uh, it’s sort of in the classic, uh, Avengers universe, so it, it does tie into some of the themes from the movies and, and we do key off of the characters, so our, our big villain is Ultron, but we also have some characters that aren’t strictly from the movies and so we want to tap into, we have an opportunity to tap into some of the characters that people don’t know as well and go deeper into it because it’s hours and hours of play, so we have a lot of, a lot of ground to cover.
6) Could some of the less well known characters be coming into the movies?
Mike: Absolutely and we work with them, too.  There, there may be things that they want to start, you know, story lines or character they want to start developing and we’re an opportunity to do that.  It’s also good, uh, there’s all this like, rich lore and history.  All these characters and a lot of kids didn’t grow up reading these comic books and so it’s kind of a nice opportunity to expose them.  There’s like, lots of fun stuff that they don’t get a chance to touch on in the movies.
7) When did this all start? 
Mike: It started about maybe three years ago. 
8) What age group are you targeting with these products?
Mike: Six to twelve’s kind of the sweet spot, but we’ve been testing older and younger, boy, girl, and parents, too, and we make sure all the wearables fit adult arms, for example,  So it’s really for, for families. 
 9) Do you have to have an Internet connection to play the games?
Mike: No, in fact, you don’t even need a, an app or screen to play.  You can play for hours and hours with just the devices themselves. If you want to up, up bade and add new content you can do it through an app, but we wanted to keep it kind of free, freestanding.
10) Do you create things specifically for boys and girls or is there crossover?
Mike: Yeah, from the very beginning, we, we had girls and boys in mind because, you know, girls want to be superheroes also.  There’s, there’s really no separation, um, so we think about it as you’re not Iron Man.  You are a superhero that happens to have iron Man-like armor and so from the very small details like Jarvis is an artificial intelligent guy, just like in the movies, he addresses you as Avenger, not sir.  You know, so we, we try and keep it open ended and you can fill in who you are.
11) Will this lead to other product lines?
Mike: Absolutely. We’re working on, we’ve already announced that we’re working on Star wars next, so that’ll be for next year, uh, and we are, have started early work on Frozen, so you can imagine some of the things you could do with, with ice power.
12) When will these be launching?
Mike: So we’re launching the Avengers one very soon.  It’s in October.  First week of October it will be, in stores and then Star Wars will be for holiday in twenty sixteen.
13) Is the system stand alone or something that can be used with other games?
Mike: It starts with a, a starter pack we call it.  It is a standalone experience.  It does not connect to a console or anything like that.  It’s all in, integral to the, the device themselves and it’s a collection of wearables, so I described the Iron Man, the pulsar gear.  There are enemy robots and other devices that all work together to create a,  connect experience.
14) What is the price point for the starter pack?
 Mike: The suggested retail is a hundred and nineteen dollars, and we expect it will be discounted for holidays, so, so we were shooting for around a hundred dollars.
We also learned that more than one child can play at once and it gets kids off of teht TV and in the yard. Not to mention, when they come out with Frozen, Elsa can battle with anyone and vice versa. The kids make up the game! It is all about your childs imagination! It was so exciting to pick Mike's brain and learn all about him and what he is doing!
Remember, Tomorrowland comes out on October 13, 2015 on Blu-ray combo pack. You can also visit Tomorrowland on their social media below!

Tomorrowland on Facebook | Tomorrowland on G+
Pre-order Tomorrowland on Amazon today!
You can also purchase Playmation Marvel Avengers Starter Pack Repulsor on Amazon now HERE!
Are you a dreamer? Do you have a story about your dreams coming true? I don't mean having kids, or a family. Be creative, tell me all about it! 
*The Small Things received an all expense trip to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own*
Check out #TomorrowlandBloggers on Twitter and IG to see more of our Disney trip and journey~!

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