Six Disney technologists, one hackathon: HackGT recap

Recently, Disney technologists and recruiters traveled to Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) for HackGT5, a hackathon where participants had 36 hours to create code-related projects. Students were able to apply their passion for technology in a variety of different ways, with projects ranging from mobile applications, security, artificial intelligence, and more!

Six Disney technologists mentored students and answered questions at the DisneyTech table, some of them even staying until the early hours of the morning! Our technologists assisted participants through a variety of challenges, including de-bugging code, brainstorming project ideas, and even teaching new programming languages. “Many students had never written code in a certain language or had done certain things so they were learning along the way which was very impressive. These are qualities that we looked at as potential interns or new hires,” D’Yanna, Technology Manager, said.

The Disney team was thrilled to host three exciting events for students throughout the duration of the hackathon. During our Tech Workshop, technologist Mat Adams, spoke on machine learning and technology innovation at The Walt Disney Company. “My role in particular is really unique, in that I manage a team that is always working with the latest technologies, from Machine Learning to Augmented Reality to IoT and looking at how we can enhance both our cast member’s efficiency and our guests’ experiences. My lab includes six theme parks, four cruise ships, and over 30 resorts. I always joke that I have the best toys and the coolest toybox of any kid,” Mat said.

During our “Fireside Chat,” students were able to chat informally with our technologists and recruiters. This was a great opportunity for students to ask for real-world advice and get more insight into what it means to be a technologist at Disney. “It was a great opportunity to meet students in a more intimate setting and not only talk about our journey but give students the opportunity to ask specific questions. Technology students are generally surprised at how much technology touches and powers much of the magic here at Disney. Great talent who many have never considered Disney as a potential company to work for are inspired to pursue technology careers at DisneyTech,” D’Yanna, said.

Students were then able to channel their inner Jedi during our Lightsaber Battle event. “We wanted give students the opportunity to the students to take a small break and let loose during their peak stress time. We also wanted to provide this experience that is uniquely Disney that no other company can replicate.” Yoshi, Campus Technology Recruiter, said. The Lightsaber Battle was a huge success, with over 400 students picking up lightsabers and battling in the field.

Additionally, students had the opportunity to unleash their inner hero by incorporating Marvel API or Disney OpenSource material into their projects. The winners of the Marvel API Challenge created a photo mosaic generator that utilized Marvel Comic Book covers. They won an R2-D2 Sphero Droid, as well as Disney theme park tickets!

Of course, the Disney team also gave out plenty of swag during the event. Our table featured DisneyTech T-shirts, Mickey TsumTsums, and a fun Mickey Bentcil. Students who attended our Tech Workshop received exclusive DisneyTech pajama pants, and those who attended the Fireside Chat recieved Mickey Rice Krispie Treats. Yum!

“My favorite part about HackGT was to see how passionate the students were during the Hackathon and how much excitement they showed toward technology,” Yoshi said.

There are so many unique internship opportunities for students in technology at The Walt Disney Company. Technology interns work on new and innovative projects, from virtual reality to artificial intelligence, and more!  Explore a variety of opportunities at