Girls could wait until Halloween to buy a shimmering blue dress and transform themselves into Queen Elsa from the hit Disney movie "Frozen." Or nowadays, they could open up a new app whenever they want, take a selfie and hit a button to switch roles from Elsa to Princess Anna to a "Star Wars" pilot in moments.
That iPhone app, Show Your Disney Side, has been downloaded more than 1.25 million times since launching two weeks ago. And people have customized themselves to look like a Disney character over 11.5 million times.
The app was born out of the company's first mentorship program for technology start-ups. Tyffon, a start-up that moved from Japan to participate in the Disney Accelerator program last summer, had created an app that alters photos to turn people into zombies. But Disney saw how easily they could swap in its characters instead and contracted Tyffon to make it happen.
"Our goal has always been to create easy and fun new ways for people to show off their Disney side," said Tom Aronson, vice president of digital marketing for Disney Parks. "We believe everyone has a Disney side that's more fun and playful."
Considering it a marketing tool, Disney doesn't plan to charge for the app or any features within it. Visitors to Disney parks, or people who share three photos from the app to social media unlock special characters, though. And Disney is using the app to promote some of its other apps. On average, users sharing their creations on social media are posting five "sides."
"The biggest ding we get is people want more characters," Aronson said. "We're working on that right now."
Tyffon hasn't given up on its ZombieBooth 2 app; there's plans to add more characters on it too.