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How we think about the materials used inside a land. Copyright The Walt Disney Company.

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Video transcript

In addition to plant life and buildings, it takes a wide variety of physical materials to create a land. The hardscapes, walkways, lamp posts, backgrounds, railings, light fixtures, doors, the list goes on and on. And they all have to be made out of something, and that something must be durable, lasting for decades. Disneyland's and attractions need to look look as great on day 10,000 as they do on day 1, but the materials must also meet the creative requirements of the artists and designers. As we're about to hear, Imagineers spend a lot of time choosing and manipulating materials. A tremendous amount of thinking goes into the choice of materials: building materials, flooring materials, drapery materials, everything that constitutes the physical presentation of a ride, show, attraction, land. We use a lot of concrete, plaster, we use a lot of plastics, and we use these not necessarily because we love these materials, but because they're super, super durable and we have a high level of control over them. You think about guest flow in our Disney parks and about how many guests step through the Emporium on Main Street, for example, tens of thousands of people in a short amount of time. And so, if you think about the flooring surfaces in that, in that shop we can't put in any materials that aren't going to last with all of that foot traffic going through. So in fact, it's a fairly limited range of materials that we can use to build the places that we build so a lot of attention has to go into the texture of the material, the temperature that that material might acquire in in broad daylight, and then oddly enough the sound reflectivity of the material. So I could make an environment that's beautiful to look at, well, when you put a hundred and eighty-five people inside this environment that can barely talk to each other because it's all hard surfaces and the sound is bouncing back at them. So durability and practicality are clearly big issues when selecting materials, but the materials must also reflect the theme and story. Here are some examples. We've done a lot of graphics For Tomorrowland and in an environment like that you would have maybe a lot of stainless steel, kind of shiny metal textures, but in something like Critter Country or Fantasyand it would be much more in the fairytale kind of environment. So you can see a lot more wood or maybe kind of a hand-carved texture. In a land that is inspired by the Caribbean, when you go there, you see such glorious color, beautiful tile work, you know, really cool details of weathered wood with the knots coming out of it. Treasure Cove at one point was just crawling with artists, painting, sculpting, concrete, and plaster, and wood, to simulate and look just like the photos we took in the Caribbean. So Pandora, for example, texturally everything has texture on it - the rocks are crusted with moss, the trees are knobby and spiky - whether they're real or not - we're trying to create a fantastically rich textural environment, and you touch a lot of this environment so that you feel that it is real. Sometimes the material used is what you would expect. For example, a door that looks like it's made out of metal probably is made out of metal, but sometimes the material used isn't what you would expect. One example, is the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage at Disneyland, where the underwater coral reefs are actually covered with tiny little pellets of colored glass. That glass doesn't fade, keeping those reefs looking bright and vibrant even under very harsh conditions. And this isn't the only example. Sometimes if we're making signs that are designed to look like wood, we work with people who are really skilled at sculpting pieces of material, maybe a fiberglass or carbon bowl epoxy, to actually give it a woodgrain texture, but when you actually see it in the park it's not real wood - it may look like it, may almost feel like it when you touch it, but it's not the real thing. I'm still learning about materials all the time. I think as technology advances, we're going to see new materials with every project that were on, but I would definitely say working on Pandora project, we were looking at materials that had more of an organic kind of feel. So we have to create a artificial plant material that is durable enough that it doesn't need to be maintained for decades. No such thing existed. That required manipulating a variety of materials: window screen, mesh, stainless steel mesh, automotive paints, very, very, very high test plastics, to create something that was in fact it's full of steel - right, the window mesh is steel - it's not gonna go anywhere but the automotive paints give it this beautiful transparent plant-like quality when we're done, and you'd never know. You can't tell that this stuff isn't real. There are some things that we saw in the Caribbean that we took you know close-up shots of that we we were in love with and thought we're really important and if we could recreate that for a guest, that might just be the thing that it takes it over the edge and one of those things was this glorious blue brick - roads that were made out of blue brick - and we really really wanted to at least do that in an area in the plaza, in front of our restaurant and so Katherine Jean, who is our creative director, went on a wide search in China to look for a pottery maker or a brick maker who could recreate that for us and found this lovely woman who did custom tile, who made this blue brick for us and everybody who walks by the land, it catches their eye, it turned out to be a really important element. Now it's your turn. Use the next exercise to select the materials that you'll need to build your land.