Disneyland Mobile eTicket
The Disney eTicket was originally a product that allowed guests to purchase a park ticket online and receive a PDF via email that had to be printed and brought to the parks to be redeemed. This created friction for guests who didn’t have a printer available to them, or perhaps traveled all the way to the resort and forgot their printouts at home–not to mention it used a lot of paper.
The initial ask was to simply move the barcodes into the body of the confirmation email that guests could recall on their smart phones. However, during in-park testing, we discovered that the existing front gate scanners couldn’t handle barcodes in close proximity to each other, and would either scan the ticket barcodes out of order, or repeatedly scan barcodes which had already been scanned. This execution created more problems than it was solving, and contributed to guest dissatisfaction before they even entered the parks.
It became obvious to my design partner and I that we needed to break the ticket barcodes out from an email, and provide a surface that could be scanned one at a time. We decided that an email wasn’t the right place to cater to this new experience, and instead, redirect guests back to a personalized “wallet” of tickets on the Disneyland web site. While exploring this new direction, we also realized that there would need to be a way to differentiate one ticket from another beyond a serial number – similar to how physical park tickets have Disney characters on the face of each one. We saw this as an opportunity to surprise and delight guests before they entered the park. We wanted to turn a boring barcode into a preview of the fun they’ll be having during their stay at the resort.
The parks have iconic landmarks and architecture–typically with some movement or atmosphere to make the surroundings feel alive. Photos can’t always capture this, but videos can – and even then, guests would only be looking at these tickets for a few seconds at a time. I went to Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park to do some test shots. While combing through the footage, I realized that the motion I captured could easily be looped after a few seconds to create a seamless video that seems to go on forever. This medium is called a Cinemagraph, and can add a touch of magic to any photograph, making it seem to come alive in a very subtle way.
I spent three weekends in Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park equipped with only an iPhone 5 and a portable tripod shooting videos of flags, fountains, windmills, lights – anything that was instantly recognizable as Disney, but didn’t require a long form video to capture its essence.
I then edited these videos down to 3-5 second looping Cinemagraphs. However, mobile web browsers at the time didn’t support autoplay video, and many were still on 3G wireless. Working against this limitation, I exported the Cinemagraphs into animated GIF’s, which were then used as the background of each digital eTicket.
Prototype to Production
The prototype I created that was used to pitch the project was built using standard web technologies. Because it was built using best practices for the time, it ended up being the foundation for the shipping product and was integrated into the Disneyland web site codebase, allowing our engineering team to focus on bigger backend hurdles and deliver a more stable product to our guests.
Examples of Work
Examples of the Disney eTickets that launched, complete with motion, can be viewed by clicking here.