Toward the beginning of last month, Disney announced the start of an alternate reality game that aimed to explore one of Walt Disney’s more intriguing traits – his optimism.
Walt was a dreamer and none of his dreams were negative. They were always positive and pushed the boundaries of what we think we could accomplish. His ideas for Tomorrowland at Disneyland and EPCOT at Walt Disney World were perfect examples of his optimistic dreams and aspirations of building bigger and better things that would make a better world.
The alternate reality game developed in partnership with Walt Disney Imagineering and the Walt Disney Studios sought to play out that story with a newly imagined (aka fictionalized) story where participants could find out the hidden secrets of Walt’s dreams of building a great, big, beautiful tomorrow. By taking true Disney history and combining them with fictionalized characters and plot lines, Disney was able to create a game that really immersed players into another world filled with mystery and challenge.
For the past 6 weeks, the story’s characters revealed clues over social media and their own blogs that apparently came from Walt’s past with believable pictures, charts, and videos. Participants even had to call fictionalized numbers and visit real California landmarks that connected to Walt himself to get more clues. Some of those places that players had to visit were pretty exclusive including Club 33 and Walt Disney’s firehouse apartment at Disneyland! There were so many cool and immersive ways that clues were hidden and revealed.
If one were to describe the process, think “National Treasure” for Disney fans. The clues eventually brought everyone to the D23 Expo this past weekend where they had to even find more clues that eventually lead them into Disneyland where the story and game concluded.
We had the opportunity to follow along with the game called “The Optimist” and finished the journey with others at Disneyland. As was the aim from the beginning, the whole game pushed those who followed this story to build a better future by continuing to be optimistic about everything just as they did in pushing through each of the challenges week to week AND just like what Walt did almost half a century ago with his visions of the future. But there were questions that were still unanswered…
…what do we do now?
Are there any more clues…?
…how do we start building a great, big, beautiful tomorrow?
Was all this really a viral marketing ploy by Disney to promote their upcoming film called “Tomorrowland“?
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There’s still so much to be answered and we have a feeling that if this is certainly a tie-in to the “Tomorrowland” film, we’ll be continuing on this journey well into our own future. We’ll be sure to share any new updates, if at all, with all of you here. We’re still pretty optimistic about that since this whole experience, as others would confess, gave us so much more appreciation for Disney storytelling and the Disney Company itself. What more could you give a Disney fan?
Did any of you follow along with “The Optimist” journey? What did you think of the whole experience? Do you think it continues? For those who didn’t join in, would you have wanted to? Tell us in the comments.