SCAD collaborated with Walt Disney Imagineering to research and develop design concepts to improve the guest room experience, including both services and entertainment, using technology.

The Challenge: We had to design concepts that would make the Guest's experience better and even more magical than it already was. In order to do so, we were given parameters by which we were able to measure each concept. The most important measurement guideline: were our concepts awesome



The team consisted of 15 students from the Graphic Design, Interaction Design and Game Development, Service Design, Design Management, Motion Media Design and Urban Design programs.

Since not everyone was familiar with the research process, before embarking on that very important portion of the project, I organised a crash course on research methodologies to share with the class. With a few team members we delivered a presentation with the basics on observation methods, interviewing, and data collection.




Site Visit: The first contact we had with primary research was a trip to Orlando, Florida, where we visited three of Walt Disney World Resorts. Through a guided tour of each of the Resorts we were able to grasp part of the Guest's experience and the Cast member's tasks, responsibilities and involvement in the vacation adventure. Observation and quick Q&A's with the different guides allowed the team to gather first hand data.

After the trip the class was divided in different teams to further conduct research. One part immersed themselves in researching new technology, while another team focused on researching our users, the Guests. As part of this user research team, we developed a research plan to gather as much information as possible: 

Survey: We developed a survey to send out to our contacts that might have visited Walt Disney World Resorts recently. This survey was meant to collect information from their experiences: highlights, favorite moments, things that they did not enjoy, the reason behind why they selected a Walt Disney World Resort, etc. 

Interviews: After going through the survey, we contacted a few of the people that were available for follow-up interviews. We were able to answer questions that we had after going through their survey answers, and we later were able to gain some insights from these conversations.

Reviews: Online reviews were a great way to know more about even more Guest's experiences and verify the information that was shared through interviews. 



Facebook post for our survey

Facebook post for our survey


Secondary research focused on seven topics:

  1. Disney's Business Landscape
  2. Disney's Competitors
  3. Demographics of the Resort's Guests
  4. Available technology
  5. Storytelling
  6. Magic
  7. Trends in hospitality and in analogous industries

My focus was on Storytelling, and how the narrative that was present in the Parks could be continued in the Resorts.  


Affinitizing in progress, clustered data points.

Affinitizing in progress, clustered data points.


After going through all the research the team had done we conducted an affinity mapping session, where we clustered our findings based on similarities in order to discover insights. This session uncovered  10 main insights.






Based on the research findings and insights, service design methods and tools were used to further understand the Guest room experience, and identify opportunities for innovation.

Encounters Map: A general Guest's interaction with Walt Disney World Resort's services was mapped to identify the triggers and overarching steps of their stay: before, during and after their vacation.


Blueprint: The service blueprint was mapped to understand a Guest's journey through the whole vacation process: before they travel, when they plan the vacation, once they go the Resort and after they leave. The blueprint allowed us to identify key moments where Guests had challenges, pain points, and where opportunities to innovate were. 

Personas: Four personas were created to understand the motivations behind each of these Guests' visit to Walt Disney World Resorts. Personas allowed us to put ourselves in different Guest's shoes and understand the Resort experience through their eyes, and later design concepts for each of their specific needs. 

Journey Maps: Understanding the journey each persona experienced during their stay at one of Walt Disney World Resorts was important, each of them interacted with the Resort's services differently according to their needs. By doing this we were able to identify many opportunities to enhance Guests' vacation.

Guest Modes: Guest modes were developed to explain the way in which different Guest activities were carried out. We created 7 modes: 

  • Personal: When Guests need time alone, away from the rest of the family, in a separated space where they can be by themselves and enjoy private time.
  • Relaxation: When Guests are finding new ways to wind down and rest.
  • Sleep: When Guests need the perfect environment to sleep at night.
  • Work: When Guests need to focus on work related activities and space to be productive.
  • Play: When Guests are engaged in fun activities that empower them with the spirit of discovery, enjoyment and entertainment.
  • Family: When Guests are spending time together as a family, creating memories, doing activities together in the Resort
  • Preparation: When Guests need to take care of logistics, planning, and preparation to carry out crucial activities during their adventure at Disney. 


Guest Journey Modes: We created this map as an expansion of the original Journey Map. Here we were able to identify the different simultaneous activities that could happen within the Guest room while each family member was in a different mode. We also were able to identify those key moments where the family was brought together and experienced activities as one. 

Mapping in progress using stickies from the refined User Journey. 

Mapping in progress using stickies from the refined User Journey. 

Finalized version of the Guest Modes Journey Map





The class ideated in small groups keeping in mind both the insights from the research process and the personas that were created. My team focused creating solutions that revolved around the concept of Immersive Spaces.  Our solutions had storytelling at it's center, as it's main component. Our biggest and most important guideline while developing these solutions was that within Walt Disney World Resorts, "The Guest is the magic".



Additional Research

After the first client presentation two areas of focus were assigned: Projection Mapping and Zoning. In order to continue with a second ideation phase, additional research had to be done. My team (Projection Mapping) looked into new and emerging technologies that allowed for images to be projected on surfaces. We looked into smart textiles, special paints, and of course, projection mapping trends. 



Before starting the ideation phase, the team listed the two core characteristics our concepts had to have and that could not be over looked:

  • The Guest as the Magic
  • Subtle, non-invasive projections

We developed 12 concepts that followed these guidelines and prototyped 3 of them to show to Disney Imagineers.



One of the concepts that was prototyped was "The Dome" which consisted of a personal and immersive environment that could be built around a bed with a retractable Dome. This concept used projection mapping on the canvas as a way to allow Guests to be wrapped in a relaxing environment and if they desired, immersive entertainment. 

My contributions to the project:

Prepared and led a research workshop 

Led the research affinitizing session and shared the methodology with the Research Team

Presenter of the Service Design portion of the Midterm Presentation, where I explained the research and service design process the team followed and the outcomes from these processes. 

Led the Projection Mapping team

Developed the Guest Modes Journey Map

Participated in the development of: Personas, User Journeys, Service Blueprint and Service Encounters Map

Helped with graphic design whenever it was needed