Theme parks, movies, and virtual environments have much in common. Some have even claimed that simulated experiences will render theme parks obsolete. A partnership between the University of Central Florida and Disney i.d.e.a.s in Orlando is experimenting with the concurrent creation of an animated movie and a Web-based virtual experience above a theme park: Disney/MGM Studios. The key question: how can virtual world-building and animated film-making inform each other?

Fantasy3 is a year-long Senior Design Project involving 30 undergraduate students from six academic departments, four faculty members, and several graduate students. The animated film concerns a group of aliens in a tour bus/spacecraft who visit the park and have typical tourist experiences, with a twist. The virtual world is similar, and some of the same experiences are available, but the story may turn out differently.

J. Michael Moshell
University of Central Florida
Computer Science Department
Orlando, Florida 32751 USA

The students of the CREAT Program