Disney World’s projection mapping turns landmarks into movie screens

This summer, Walt Disney World visitors are seeing a couple of elaborate theme-park landmarks in a new light.

After the sun sets, a Star Wars spectacular beams 13 minutes of movie scenes onto the exterior of the Chinese Theatre at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Tree of Life becomes a display of clips featuring creatures from deer to dinosaurs.

Both new productions use projection mapping, a technology showing up more in attractions, museums and special events as projectors have become better and cheaper.

“Ten years ago … it was kind of a gimmick,” said Daren Ulmer, whose California-based Mousetrappe design studio worked with Disney on its shows. “Now it’s an accepted part of our palette.

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