Disney Pilot Project

Film and Photography: Grandkids are a Reward

December 2014 by James Spradlin

Today, our pilot project with Disney was released. We created a (very) short film and photography to capture two grandparents experiencing the magic of Disney with their grandchild. We did our best to provide a deeper experience of a normal day — and are pretty happy how it turned out.

Check out the project page for the film and all the photos. Below is something special, and a bit personal, that we’d  like to share.

It took me nearly twenty years to see Walt’s vision.

It’s easy to miss the original vision of Walt. I certainly did.  

I was fifteen the first time I visited, so I missed out on forming those young childhood memories that stay with you the rest of your life. But, I did grow up, like nearly every other kid in North America, watching Disney movies.

Since I never had the opportunity to visit the Disney parks as a child, I couldn’t experience the Disney movie fantasy worlds coming to life.  As a result, their impact was mostly two dimensional.

If you miss Walt’s vision like I did, you may just see Disney as a near endless sprawl of entertaining rides, performances, and story themed gift shops.  But now, I think, I get what Walt ultimately meant for the Disney experience to be.

We had a pretty big epiphany at Epcot.

While we scouted for the project, Jon and I shared a deep realization. It goes like this.

Disney, on a macro level, is about igniting and re-igniting imagination. If a person’s imagination has died — Disney wants to resuscitate it.

If imagination is small in size, Disney wants to make it bigger.

But why does imagination really matter?

It matters because we realized imagination is deeply connected to hope. Without hope, everything fades. Imagination isn’t just about being creative for creativity sake. Creativity is most significant when applied to creating a better world.

Walt clearly got this.

And imagining together, hoping together, creating together — brings us closer to each other. Jon realized that “Disney is about relationships”. Once he said it, I knew he was totally right.

Disney is much more than entertainment.

I couldn’t see past the surface until I started looking deeper.  

It took me suspending my jadedness about life — suspending lack of hope — to see what many others could see and experience, just like my two year old son. 

Taking my boy to Disney, now, is also about helping him grow up truly knowing that imagination matters.

It matters because my son has to learn to imagine (and hope) that the world can be better in order to persevere when life gets tough.  And as he learns this, perhaps I might re-learn it too.

Then, as we imagine and hope together, we will grow even closer together.

It sounds a bit cheesy, but it’s true. 

The Future.

Disney is a massive garden of awesome stories.

Millions of people from all over the world travel here for the Disney experience.

As we have the opportunity, through film and photography, we’d really enjoy helping more people more deeply experience Walt’s original vision, too.