Friday, June 8, 2012

A Walk Around The World With Ridge--My close encounter with Carbonite

My appointment was scheduled for 8:25AM on Saturday to have the Carbonite Freeze done on my pretty face. I was fairly optimistic about it all. I would sit for what I was hoping would be some kind of high-tech laser scan of my face. Then a few weeks later I would have myself all fixed up like Han Solo and all I would need is someone to try to rescue me from Jabba and life would be complete.

When I arrived at the park the day prior to my appointment, I went over to the former “Sounds Dangerous” to see what was outside as far as samples of the product were concerned. I was somewhat unimpressed by the models they had on display but that was in direct sunlight and I was moving on to meet people so it wouldn’t be until in the morning that I would see these again.
The "freeze" chamber

Next day: 8:00AM.  Arrive at park but miss rope drop by a couple of minutes…. That stinks, but on to my destination. When I get to the CF I was greeted and welcomed to look around at the more elaborate displays. My beard was a big concern to me because of what it may look like on the finished product. There was one on display of the product creator and his had a beard. Well to me it looked odd, it showed up as just a darker area on the face so when the CM came to get me I expressed my concern that I didn’t think that it looked very good and was this the finished product? She told me yes and looked somewhat panicked and left to get me the supervising Imagineer. While I waited, I was handed a model I could hold and examine. Here I was able to feel the weight and the finish.
When I met the Imagineer, we talked for a few minutes about the materials used, overall cost involved, the unique printing process involved (yes I said printing process) and just the general coolness of the idea. Still I wasn’t feeling impressed, the money didn’t bother me. At 100.00 dollars it isn’t small change but considering the total cost of a trip to Disney World you can spend 100.00 bucks before breakfast. Back to the matter at hand… the Imagineer and I were soon joined by another and they invited me inside to see the process and told me to take all the pictures I wanted. Now we’ve gotten this far and I haven’t even told you my criticism so here it goes as I told the Imagineers.
·         Price, 100.00 dollars to have my face on some merch… not bad.
·         The size of the statue is good at around 9 inches. Perfect to see detail.
·         The finish. The finish wasn’t smooth and you could clearly see the lines from the resin gypsum printing. (it is printed on a 3D printer and built one layer at a time, awesome process but generally not used for finished products but for prototypes)
·         Materials: I understand that the cost is driving the material but for my money getting my face on something I want it to look nice. The movie props are smooth and finished. I suggested a lacquer finish and even some painting would make them look better to smooth out some of the details. Even better would be a cast model. Yes, again I understand keep costs down.
·         The process wasn’t actually a scan but a series of pictures that were then composited together. This is a cheap way of getting a result but nothing as accurate as a laser image scan.

products with packaging


the "freeze" chamber

Overall I agree it is an impressive product and there were tons of happy people having their pictures taken for the memories. The reason I was given for the some of what I called “short comings” was this was a new product that had never been tested on this scale and, if it did well, improvements would be made and it would be back next year. So I will definitely be back next year to scope out the improvements.  

For the official news Check the Disney Parks Blog for their description of the experience.

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