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Disney Guest Room Experience



Disney challenged our collaborative group of designers to conceptualize and prototype a refined guest room experience through the novel marriage and implementation of technology and living services.  This concept should aim to increase the entertainment value for the guest, deepen the Disney narrative, heighten guest service capabilities, and serve a functional purpose to the guest. Bridging the magical quality from the theme park can make the guest room stay as memorable as the unparalleled Disney park experiences.


Leading with research, primary and secondary information sources were mined to highlight opportunities that would ultimately lead to a better design solution.   After the initial conversation with Disney representatives, a site visit to Disney World allowed interviews and direct observation to occur with Disney guest services and leadership alike. Multiple Resort “campuses”  and their rooms were explored to identify the existing experiential qualities and help recognize the challenges of designing for resorts. 

Secondary research covered an array of topics that included: technology, the Disney company, themed entertainment competitors, luxury resort competitors, market analysis, means of narrative, user reviews and theater and alternative entertainment.

Once data points were created and collected, a process of affinitizing occured. Grouping similar points of observation, opportunities and challenges allowed for a clearer analysis that could be funneled into conceptual design solutions. Following concepting, our design group began creating prototypes to deliver to Disney Imagineers for discussion and feedback. 

Disney Imagineers provided feedback allowed the prototypes to be refined to enhance the functionality, entertainment, narrative and “magical” quality of the final deliverable. Using a modified Agile methodology, the collaborative team worked in 48 hour sprints to accomplish the cumulative workload within the 10 week project timeline.



An initial site visit to Disney World in Orlando, FL kicked off primary research. Meeting with multiple Disney staff, our team was escorted around the grounds of numerous Resort campuses. Coronado Springs, Art of Animation and Animal Kingdoms was visited to give our design team a broad scope of the value, luxury and economical resort styles. Over the course of the day, numerous Q&A sessions occurred, as well as conversations throughout our tour. Furthermore, we were able to observe guests passing through public spaces, arriving and exiting the resort and interacting with cast members and guest services. 


Secondary research covered a number of topics including;  technology, the Disney company, themed entertainment competitors, luxury resort competitors, market analysis, means of narrative, user reviews and theater and alternative entertainment. Some of our most profound insights on the current experiential aspect of the Disney resorts came from the study and analysis of over 1,000 guest reviews from varying sources. Rated on the topics of entertainment, business, family accommodations, romance and luxury, a number of Disney Resorts were studied from the perspective of the guest. These insights provided profound information that helped orient the design concepts toward certain user objectives. 




Identifying the needs, wants, and goals of the user groups further helped recognize what capabilities and functions the concepts would need to possess. Keeping in mind users on both sides of the product (the guest and the service provider) was also another consideration when designing.  Because of this dichotomy of user needs, numerous personas were created. Our target user groups were; The Room Service Staff, the Traditional Guest Family (2 parents-2 kids) and the Resort Front Desk Staff.  

The Housekeeper

The Family

The Front Desk Manager


Various mapping techniques were used to deepen our understanding of the Guest's experience while on a Disney vacation. From these maps our team was able to extract valuable information regarding emotional, behavioral, contextual and environmental variables and considerations to ultimately solve for a better design solution. Some of the mapping techniques used were Encounters Mapping, User Journey Mapping, and Service Blueprint mapping. 







The MyDisney Sidekick concept was a concept that allows guests to enhance the entertainment value of their room, as well as maximize the capabilities of Cast Members & Guest Services, through the use of a familiar device; The Guest’s smart phone. The MyDisney Sidekick concept is a customizable mobile app which syncs with a holographic avatar within the room that can carry out entertainment requests, or realay guest services requests with a Disney-esque themed narrative. Furthermore, Guests can preload information into the MyDisney Sidekick app that can help them prepare for the long days at the Disney theme parks. Through reminders about the weather, creating reservations, and even customized Avatar specific animations, the MyDisney Sidekick enhances the Guest Room Experience exponentially with unique Disney style.


Insights Addressed




Through the use of their familiar mobile device or voice commands within the room, Guests can use the MyDisney Sidekick application for a variety of entertainment and functional purposes. Downloaded prior to arriving to the Disney Resort, Guests can choose their favorite Disney character as an avatar to help them with their Disney planning or as entertainment. Making dining or entertainment reservations is possible through the MyDisney Sidekick, as well as setting reminders for those reservations or other events that the Guest may forget. This information is then relayed to Guest services, who can prepare accommodations and preparations for the Guest's custom itinerary. Once the Guests arrive at the Disney Resort, their favorite Disney Avatar can be present within the room as a hologram within a clear prism. Through the use of voice commands, the Guest can interact with this Sidekick hologram for a more themed Guest to Service interaction. Synced with the local mobile devices, the Sidekick Hologram can remind the Guests of upcoming events, reservations and weather to help them prepare for a day at the park. Unique, Disney character animations are queued by voice commands, making the Sidekick hologram seem as if it is responding to the Guest's commands. 




Rough Wireframes


Refined Wireframes


Initial Interface Visual Concept