Ignite the Dream

Real-time interactions trigger an iconic Disney fireworks show.

  • Shanghai, China

To celebrate the unique world of Shanghai Disney Resort, we created an experiential marketing activation to transport audiences from the SHDR Airport in Shanghai to the fantastic Disney universe. Able to interact with this world in real-time through a Kinect and LED display, visitors were given the chance to orchestrate their own version of the iconic Nighttime Spectacular fireworks, gaining a thrilling glimpse into the Shanghai Disneyland experience.

Interactive marketing

The Brief

The Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disney Resort is unlike any other. Blending the familiar magic of the Disney universe with a distinctly Chinese feel, this and other attractions at the theme park represent a unique experience for visitors from around the world.

To demonstrate this, we worked with Imagination to create an engaging experience for visitors passing through Shanghai’s SHDR Airport. Immersing travellers in a dynamic, fairytale world, the activation would provide an interactive glimpse into the Shanghai Disney experience.

Products and merchandise at the Disney store at Shanghai’s SHDR Airport.

A taste of Disney

Creative Direction

Ignite the Dream aimed to give visitors a glimpse into the exciting world of Shanghai Disney Resort. To do so, we invited visitors to orchestrate their very own digital version of Disney’s iconic Nighttime Spectacular Fireworks. Triggering fireworks through gestural interaction, visitors would light up the sky to reveal a distinctively Chinese Enchanted Storybook Castle, gaining a small yet interactive taste of the exciting experiences on offer at Shanghai Disneyland.

Screenshot from digital marketing agency shows virtual fireworks exploding in front of real-time rendered Disney castle.

Recreating an iconic world

Asset Creation

The believability of Ignite the Dream relied on our recreation of the Shanghai Enchanted Castle. We constructed the structure itself based on scanned data from the actual castle in Shanghai. Using this data, we rebuilt the castle, brick by brick, in Unreal Engine to fit into the virtual world. This was not only crucial to the experiential marketing activation’s atmosphere, but also exciting for us as we were able to explore the many uniquely Chinese aspects of the building

Screenshot of real-time rendered Disney castle from Ignite the Dream experiential marketing activation.

We also created a beautiful, fairytale-inspired environment within the castle to truly immerse visitors in this magical virtual world. We used an iconic Disney styled picture book to house instructions for user interaction and a QR code that would reward visitors with a discount in the Disney store at the end of the experience.

Screenshot shows real-time rendered interior castle environment from Ignite the Dream digital marketing.

Real-time interactivity


Ignite the Dream not only included a beautiful virtual environment, but also the ability for visitors to interact with this environment in real time. This interaction was facilitated through a Kinect with full body tracking, allowing visitors to trigger fireworks by moving their hands (represented as magical particles) in front of the 2D screen.

Relying on intuitive gestures with minimal instruction, this interactivity empowered visitors by giving them full control over the environment. Presenting audiences with a digital marketing experience that reacted directly to their input, Ignite the Dream fostered increased emotional investment in both the activation and the brand itself.

Real-time rewards


At the heart of Ignite the Dream is a simple game: players must use their gestures to trigger fireworks in a progressively complicated display over the Enchanted Storybook Castle, before being rewarded for their efforts with a promotional QR code for a visit to Shanghai Disney Resort.

Screenshot from digital marketing agency shows interaction prompts above Shanghai Enchanted Storybook Castle.

Gamifying the experiential marketing activation in this way was crucial to its success in driving genuine brand engagement. By augmenting the beautiful visual display with incentivised interactivity, the activation built users’ emotional engagement with the experience. This in turn served to strengthen their relationship with the brand, and make them more likely to follow through with the call to action.

Man uses his smartphone to capture a QR code at the end of Ignite the Dream experiential marketing.

Driving brand engagement

Roll Out

Ignite the Dream was rolled out at two Disney stores in Shanghai’s SHDR Airport. Placing Disney firmly at the forefront of engaging and emotional storytelling experiences, the experiential marketing activation used real-time interactivity to invite visitors to become an active part of the Disney world. In doing so, the experience helped build an emotional relationship between visitors and the brand, increasing the likelihood of their visiting both the Disney store and the Shanghai Disney Resort.

Screenshot of firework trail over virtual Disney castle created by digital marketing agency.
Cropped image of the Disney Castle.

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