Earlier this year, Universal Orlando Resort launched a new mobile app entitled “Universal ScreenPlay”. Unlike most of the theme park apps out there on the market (including the wonderful one our website offers), this app is not designed to help and assist your vacation planning but to enhance your vacation itself.
The app’s three many features rely heavily on augmented reality. For those of you not-so techno-savvy readers, Merriam-Webster defines ‘augmented reality’ as:
“an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device (as a smartphone camera)”
Let me break it down for you in Disney terms. Have you ever been inside the LEGO Store in Downtown Disney? If you stand in front of video kiosks there and display any LEGO box, it will magically bring to life an actual-size animated version of that set on the screen, and when you turn the box, the set moves in tandem.
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One of my hobbies is collecting images and ephemera from the early decades of the Disney theme parks. I have a particular weakness for memorabilia that gives a glimpse from the 1960s and 70s. Photographs from that era have an unmistakeable texture that makes me want to go back in time.
Unfortunately, my Way-Back machine is broken, and out-of-print Polaroid film is outrageously expensive on eBay. Fortunately, thanks to the iPhone, photographers have the next best thing. It’s an inexpensive app called Hipstamatic, and it instantly transforms your cutting-edge smartphone into a clunky piece of analogue optical awesomes.
Hipstamatic features numerous simulated films and filters that can re-combined to create refreshingly organic digital images. There are other similar software suites (such as Instagram) that sport superficially similar “vintage” effects, but only Hipstamatic’s effort feel so authentically old-fashioned that their artlessness becomes artistic.
In future posts, I plan to present some documentation of my Hipstamatic time travels around the Happiest Place on Earth. For starters, enjoy this gallery from Main Street U.S.A., starring the Disneyland Band and a bunch of balloons with a certain distinctive shape.