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Cast Create Holiday Magic in Disney’s Mobile Apps

Jenna Tsakas

by , Communications & Experience Manager, DPEP Technology & Digital

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the phrase holidays at Disney? Giant Christmas trees, green and red Mickey-shaped treats, festive costumes and entertainment?

What about themed content in the My Disney Experience and Disneyland Resort apps, such as decorative and creative illustrations, interviews with Disney legends about the holiday season, trivia series and more?

Elijah Bates, Lead Digital Story Editor, has been working to bring holiday magic to guests at home or in the park through Disney mobile apps the past several months, along with his teammates in Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Technology & Digital, operational teams at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, and countless other partners across the company.

Disney by the Numbers - Experience the magic of 500 hours spent baking the Gingerbread House at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Elijah and his team aim to create interactive content for guests within our apps. In the “Passholder Buzz” section, the team developed a fun Disney-by-the-Numbers trivia game, where guests can swipe through beautifully illustrated slides to reveal festive facts, like the number of hours spent building the gingerbread house at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

“I get so excited every year to see artists and animators teaming up for these holiday pieces, because the whole content production team is so talented. They really bring that first-class Disney quality to our mobile app content. I know all of our guests are going to appreciate the lens they’ve given to different cultural celebrations that take place this time of year,” Elijah said.

Elijah and his teammates are passionate about ensuring inclusion and representation are foundational pillars in their work. To ensure all stories told celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion, Elijah and his team brainstorm with the Stories Matter council. This group of diverse cast serve as advisors to the team and help ensure the stories and content accurately represent our global audiences.

Cozy Up, Honor Traditions, Share in Unity
These fun illustrations represent a few of the different holidays celebrated in the Disney mobile apps.

After connecting with resort partners and the Stories Matter department, Elijah and his team get to work ideating, storyboarding and conceptualizing what stories to tell, what visual style to use and what fun elements can be incorporated. Accessibility is another important factor, so the team includes audio and closed captioning in videos to ensure content on the apps can be consumed by as wide of an audience as possible.

“We really look at these as an opportunity to tell a story that everyone gets to enjoy and share. A foundational step for our team is to make sure we’re showing the love and respect that everybody deserves, especially since it’s coming from a brand they likely have an emotional connection with,” Elijah said.

Disney Legend Kim Irvine's interview in the Disneyland Resort app
Elijah and his team create all sorts of content exclusive to the Disney mobile apps – this interview with Disney Legend Kim Irvine in the Disneyland Resort app is just one example!

All of the time spent brainstorming, working with partners, storyboarding, developing and problem solving pays off as Elijah and his team achieve their ultimate goal: to bring holiday happiness to all of our guests, whether they’re in the park or at home.

“We hope that the work we’re doing helps people celebrate the holidays. We just want to be a part of guests’ holiday experience and enrich it in any way we can,” Elijah said.

The next time you’re scrolling through either the My Disney Experience or Disneyland Resort app, and you see a fun illustration or cool piece of creative, you’ll know Elijah and his teammates were the cast behind the content!

Take Care

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  • Welcome to the blog Ms. Jenna!

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