Using augmented reality to build new experiences for guests at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

The challenge

Identify a problem that guests often encounter during their experience in a Disney park or resort and create a new and innovative solution.

The outcome

Designed and developed an augmented reality mobile app prototype that creates an in-park game experience while waiting in line for attractions and rewards guests for finding and unlocking hidden Mickey's.

Scope of work / Personal contribution

  • Art Direction
  • Design
  • User Experience Design
  • Prototype Design
  • Interactive Design
  • Design Strategy
  • Brand Identity
  • Environmental Design


Disney Imagineering approached the digital design team and was looking for new ideas to solve various guest issues within the infamous parks of Disneyland and Walt Disney World. As a designer at Disney, you become very familiar with the parks and always looking for ways to improve human experiences digitally and physically.

I worked with a small team of other digital designers to look for various solutions for problems within the park. Our goal was to enhance a guest experience in the park when they are not enjoying one of the park attractions, events or dining experiences.

Defining the brand

To try and solve a problem with a new solution, we strived to explore new and innovative ideas that utilize technology and create delightful experiences. By exploring new technology, we also wanted to create a balance within the brand by visually anchoring the look and feel of the experience with the nostalgic and classic feel of Disney. This balance between vintage Disney and innovation of technology creates a brand approach that is anchored in the nostalgia of the Disney brand while also allowing Disney to always be at the forefront of creativity, technology and innovation.

Brand attributes defined

Understanding the audience

Before solving any problem, identifying pains for guests is a key factor to discovering a solution. This initial step is meant to explore at high levels the pains that guests experience when visiting Disneyland or Walt Disney World. Examples of pains for customers are long lines for bathrooms, waiting in line too much for rides, large groups want to do different things, small children can’t go on all the rides.

After we explored the pains a customer might encounter, the next step is to identify the gains or wins that a customer experiences. What are the things that make a customer delighted and happy. They want to make memories with their family, they want to quickly and early do all the things the desire in the park. And most importantly they want to have fun.

Guests carry out various jobs while visiting a Disney park. From entering the gates, waiting in line, finding food, storing valuables, mapping out the day, taking restrooms breaks, shopping for Disney merchandise and more. Identifying the various jobs and align them with their pains and happiness helped steer us to finding a problem that matters. The next step is to create a meaningful solution once we identify the problem.

Brand Archetypes Defined


Annual Passholder

In-Park Mobile Device Users


Our goal is to create a positive experience for families, friends and individuals waiting in line for an attraction or ride at a Disney park. Using technology, in-park experiences and mobile design, we set out to create an experience to delight and reward guests in multiple ways.

This experience needs to be familiar, fun and on-brand for Disney while championing all guests who visit the park. A tall order, but doable.

Positioning statement

Using augmented reality to enhance guest experiences while waiting in attraction lines at Disneyland.

Brand Identity

The brand identity was developed through a nostalgic Disney visual approach. Tying this approach to a bigger story within the experience, we utilized the idea of scout guidebook that is aligned with Russell from the Pixar movie, Up! Russell is a boy scout and his character was a perfect Disney element to guide guests through the app and enhance the Disney experience. We combined this approach with vintage Disney typography, colors and early hints of the initial Disneyland brand when Walt launched the park in 1955.

User Experience Design

When combining digital and physical elements to a new technology experience, it creates a complicated user experience to map. This process included sitemap, wireframes, prototyping, incorporating augmented reality, qr codes and a mobile app design. All of these elements require a prototyping process, green housing ideas, and aligning the technologies with the customer's pains, gains and jobs to accomplish. We take this into consideration and use this information to merge all of these parts in seamless experience.

Hidden Mickey’s are rumored to be intentionally put throughout the park by Imagineers, but never fully disclosed officially. We felt this would be an interesting facet to explore and integrate as a catalyst for our experience. Hidden Mickey’s have been around since the inception of Disneyland and Disney fans who are park guests are familiar with the concept of Hidden Mickey’s existing throughout the park. We felt this alignment between our audience and the goal of making waiting in line a bit more enjoyable would be a great place to build an experience from.

We decided to utilize QR codes as Hidden Mickey's. Hidden Mickey’s are located throughout attraction lines. Guests are encouraged to find them and use their augmented reality mobile app to capture the hidden Mickey’s.

We decided that we wanted to gamify the experience. The app allows guests to engage in a game of collecting various Hidden Mickeys while being guided by Russell from Up! throughout the experience.

As guests use the app and complete the game, we wanted to incentivize guests to continue using the app and collect all the Hidden Mickeys. We implemented a series of rewards to be unlocked throughout the experience. When a guest finds all Hidden Mickeys, we reward them with a physical special edition Mickey ears scout cap.

Combining these elements with the technology creates a delightful experience for guests while waiting in line. Our focus was to combine a story driven experience merged with innovative technology. To do this, we prototyped, tested, built sitemaps, wireframes, and prototyped real-world physical scenarios. This process defined the final outcome of the app design.

Mobile App Prototype

After exploring various ideas, I proposed that we address the problem of waiting in line.The solution was to make waiting in line for attractions more magical.

A guest finds a hidden QR code, snaps a picture with their mobile device and earns badges through the mobile app. Throughout the experience, guests earn special rewards (such as FastPass, food or discounts in the park) and they can share their experiences with friends through social media.

Guided by Russell, from the Disney movie Up!, guests follow him throughout the park to earn scout badges. Once a guests completes and earn all the badges in every line attraction, they are rewarded a limited edition Disney scout hat.


This app consists of integrating augmented reality with a real world experience happening within the boundaries of Disneyland and Walt Disney World. As users move throughout the park and wait in lines, they collect Hidden Mickey’s. Note: this app and idea came 2 years prior to the launch of the Pokemon Go! app.



Disney Parks & Resorts


Disney Imagineering


Jeff Webber
Jordan Lee
Wes Lebsack
Eric Hansen
J. William Washington


Mobile app design
QR Codes
Augmented Reality