SAN FRANCISCO (04/20/2000) - Compaq Computer Corp. has signed a 10-year pact with Walt Disney Co., the two companies announced today. One of the key planks of the agreement will be Compaq's sponsorship of and provision of hardware and software technology for Mission: Space, a planned space simulation attraction at Walt Disney World's Epcot Center in Florida.
Due to open in 2003, Mission: Space will be presented as an international space flight testing center set 30 years in the future, according to Compaq spokesman Alan Hodel. "This is truly unique," he said in a phone interview today. "Compaq will be the primary supplier of hardware and software and Disney's key partner in Mission: Space's digital operations and technology."
Mission: Space will be the first ride able to simulate the sensation of weightlessness that real astronauts experience in outer space, Hodel said. The ride will also give visitors the sensation of a spacecraft's lift-off from Earth, encountering G-force as they leave the planet's atmosphere and the experience of zooming across the solar system, he added.
Compaq will be able to leverage the track record it has already established in Hollywood in providing hardware for film studios to use in high-end computer animation, Hodel said. For example, Compaq's AlphaServers powered animation used in Oscar-winning movies such as the blockbuster "Titanic" and the short film "Bunny," he added.
"We're taking that capability and the computer simulation models off-screen and into the (Mission: Space) ride," Hodel said. As well as AlphaServer hardware, Disney will make use of Compaq's Tru64 Unix operating system in the development and operation of Mission: Space, he added.
The 10-year pact announced today builds on an existing relationship between Disney and Compaq. The PC maker is already a key supplier of servers, PCs and services to Disney and the company's Net operations, theme parks and regional entertainment facilities, Hodel said.
Under the terms of the agreement, Compaq will also sponsor and power the "Believe, There's Magic in the Stars" ongoing firework display, celebrating Anaheim, California-based Disneyland Park's 45th anniversary, Hodel said.
Disney is already using Compaq computers to both create and power the show, which kicked off in February and is the largest fireworks display the entertainment company has offered at its theme parks.
Compaq, in Houston, Texas, can be reached at +1-281-370-0670 or via the Internet at http://www.compaq.com/.