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Disney Parks app is a transformative experience for fans

Disney Parks fans can transform themselves into Captain Hook, a Pirate of the Caribbean or Queen Amidala with a new photo-transformation mobile application that provides a personal and entertaining way to engage with some of the characters from the entertainment and media conglomerate?s theme parks.

The Tyffon-created Show Your Disney Side app lets users pick a Disney Parks character, take a selfie and then tap and swipe to watch their Disney Side come to life with special effects. The app points to mobile?s ability to boost engagement by giving the consumer a uniquely immersive experience with a brand.

?From a consumer engagement viewpoint, the app links the visitor?s mobile usage right back to Disney,? said Chuck Martin, CEO of Mobile Future Institute, Boston. ?Disney visitors can use their mobile phones to actually augment their park visit by integrating their own photos into the experience. 

?This is a very logical Disney mobile extension,? he said.

Precision framing
After downloading the app, the user taps on a character category, for example Frozen Fun ? an event in Disney California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort.

Portraits of three characters from the category pop up. Tapping on one brings up a selfie booth.

Finding characters in app.

Pressing the shutter produces a head and shoulders image with markers over the eyes and mouth. The markers can be adjusted for more precision framing. Once that is done, the user?s face appears superimposed in the character?s body. Special effects cause heads to nod, eyes to blink, and other mannerisms to appear, unique for each character. 

Users can personalize their Disney Side character with different costumes and frames.

The user can share the finished portrait or a video via social media from the app. 

The app is a mobile extension of an ongoing cross-channel Disney Parks campaign called Show Your Disney Side, which promotes the idea of showing one?s side that says ?yes? more often, laughs louder and lives life to the fullest. 

It?s the side that embraces fun and comes out to play the moment one steps through the gates at Disney Parks.

Disney has been leveraging mobile to drive interest in its parks and other properties for some time.

Its mobile programs include the Disney Mobile Magic App which let users to find Disney characters in a park via GPS-enabled maps. Users could also access attraction wait times and return times through Disney?s virtual queuing system Fastpass and view Verizon features such as behind-the-scenes video and games.

Ads showcasing the app appeared in print, in several airports and on TV.

In November, Disney was among brands beginning to show video ads on Instagram, as the photo- and video-sharing site leveraged its access to parent Facebook?s enormous storehouse of user data to generate revenue.

Early last year, Disney targeted families and parents who increasingly watched full-length movies across multiple devices with a new video service that included a mobile application and Web site.

The film studio?s new app was part of a bigger cloud-based product called Disney Movies Anywhere that let consumers discover, buy and watch films on tablets, smartphones and laptops. The initiative tied together three of Disney?s brands ? Pixar, Disney and Marvel ? into a hub of cross-screen content.

Disney?s app points to how more brands are baking selfie references into campaigns, in some cases centering the pitch on the taking of a selfie. The pastime?s emergence as a viable mobile-marketing tool highlights the importance of user-generated content in maximizing the reach and impact of campaigns.

Startup program
Tyffon came out of the 2014 Disney Accelerator mentorship and investment program for technology-enabled startups in the media and entertainment space. 

Selfie pops into character frame.

?The app extends the Disney brand to make the park experience more immersive, by allowing visitors to integrate themselves with their favorites Disney characters via selfies,? Mr. Martin said.

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter for Mobile Marketer, New York