Bringing the Past Back to Life: Recreating Disney’s History in a Virtual Setting - D23Expo

After close to a years worth of work, we are finally pulling the curtain back on several projects I’ve been working on in UE4 at this years D23 Expo in Anaheim California. The D23 Expo is Disney’s version of Comic-Con and spans three days, with around 100,000 attendees. On Saturday I will be giving a presentation on the Archives Stage detailing this work. Here’s the details they posted:

Bringing the Past Back to Life: Recreating Disney’s History in a Virtual Setting

Saturday, August 15, 4:30 p.m.—Walt Disney Archives Stage

Join Jeremy Marx, of the Disney History Institute, as he explains how technology of today is giving us access to Disney’s wonders of the past. Using 3D technology, Jeremy has developed detailed simulations, including Monsanto’s House of the Future, Adventure Thru Inner Space, the Tower of the Four Winds, and Walt’s personal backyard railroad, the Carolwood Pacific. In this presentation, he’ll showcase those projects already completed, layout the process that makes this possible, and preview retired attractions he will soon bring back to life.

In addition to the presentation, the Disney Archives has asked for a new video featuring two former attractions, Monsanto’s House of the Future and Adventure Thru Inner Space, which will be shown in their main exhibit, The Disney Archives Presents: Disneyland.

This would be similar as to last fall during D23’s Destination D, the Archives used a video I made in UE4, the Tower of the Four Winds](Tower of the Four Winds - YouTube), that had previously been released, in their main exhibit.

The third place the projects will be seen will be at the Walt Disney Birthplace Foundation’s booth. I have worked on a recreation of Walt Disney’s Carolwood Railroad, a miniature railroad that was in his backyard. They will be running this with an Oculus Rift DK2. Of note, all of the recreations that I have worked on were focused on VR use.

So, we will be in three locations at the Expo, and busy trying to keep up with it. This is going to be fun!

This last weekend ended up being a huge success. Because of the work on the recreations, which was done in UE4, the LA Times posted the following article:

Revisit Lost Disney Attractions Through Virtual Reality

The video of two of the recreations, House of the Future and Adventure Through Inner Space, were located in the Archives Exhibit, which had wait times to get in to see the collection, of up to ninety minutes. Not too bad. The LA Times article has comments from the Disney Archives Director Becky Cline, and Disney Legend and former Imagineer Tony Baxter, talking about what they were seeing in the video.



We also had just under three hundred people that attended my presentation about the different recreations on Saturday afternoon:


At the end of the presentation, I gave everyone access to a 360° Virtual walk-Through of Monsanto’s House of the Future on Youtube, which I made using the dog-eating source code addition:

Unfortunately, I forgot to get pictures of people using the Oculus at the Expo location that was running the Carolwood Pacific Railroad.
All in all, I’m very happy that this weekend ended so well.
So, Enjoy the Walk-Through and images.

That is awesome! What a great idea for them to recreate those attractions so that people can continue to enjoy them, at least virtually, for all time. It is so unfortunate when things like this are lost to time, that they “never” can be experienced at all by anyone anymore.

These were fun projects, and we have others that will be started in the near future. The ones that have been completed will need to have the menus finalized, and we hope that they will be made available to the public by the end of the year.
One of the areas that I covered in the presentation was the legal aspect, dealing with IP, copyright and trademark laws. Disney owns all of them, but we have everything in place to get these experiences out to people!

Why is monsanto doing this?
Are they trying to polish their bad image?

Monsanto has been fighting a bad images since the 1950’s and earlier. That was one reason they wanted to sponsor attractions and items at Disneyland. The thought being, if they were in Disneyland, maybe they weren’t so bad after all. Back then, they were mostly a petro-chemical company, and now they are focused on agriculture and GMO’s.