What if our imagination could come true? A somersaulting Spider-Man soaring high above buildings, a conversation with a towering life-sized Hulk, and even a dancing Groot all started in the imagination but became reality thanks to Walt Disney Imagineering—a collection of creators and innovators known to many as ‘Imagineers.’
What Is Imagineering? Imagination and Engineering United
Founded in 1952 by Walt and his brother Roy to keep the development of Disneyland distinct from the movie studio business, Imagineering became the creative force behind some of the most memorable Disney experiences. Originally called Walt Disney, Inc., the organization became WED Enterprises after the initials of Walt’s name, Walter Elias Disney. In 1986, Walt Disney Imagineering became the official name, blending the words ‘imagination’ and ‘engineering.’
Within Walt Disney Imagineering are over a hundred disciplines that collaboratively bring to life extraordinary ideas through storytelling, design and engineering. Imagineers transformed an uninhabited island of Castaway Cay in the Bahamas into an environmentally responsible Caribbean destination and can even transport guests into outer space at sea. Imagineers have also created numerous guest-beloved classics like Jungle Cruise, and mysterious worlds like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Pandora: The World of Avatar in Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida.
Legendary Walt Disney Imagineers like Bob Gurr, Don Iwerks, John Hench, the Sherman Brothers, Harriet Burns and Mary Blair are forever remembered, but each Imagineer carries the legacy of experiential storytelling and pioneering innovation.
How Walt Disney Imagineers Have Cultivated A Culture Like No Other
Walt Disney Imagineering has been described as a world-class design firm, a premier development and storytelling studio, and a cutting-edge innovation lab. If you ask Josh D’Amaro, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, it is all that and more. It is a global team of storytellers, artists, engineers, technologists and more who are dedicated to immersing guests in timeless stories. It is a team that helps families make memories of a lifetime and inspires beyond generations and geographies.
Imagineers challenge their own assumptions, ask questions that reject preconceptions, and consistently seek innovative approaches to make the seemingly impossible, possible. Can an inanimate character be expressive? Can a shared experience by millions of people be personal? Can we suspend physics for just a second?
Bringing together a diverse group of passionate individuals with a common goal of creating the best experiences is no easy task but is one that has been embraced by visionaries for over 70 years. Under Josh’s leadership, the team is encouraged to push boundaries, to think big and to embrace creativity… all with the greatest respect for Disney’s legacy.
Walt Disney Imagineering Brings Disney’s Innovations to Life
Imagineers have consistently done what was previously unthinkable, and have brought imagination to life. Their achievements are plenty: Developing the first Audio-Animatronics figures, obtaining and holding over 500 U.S. patents and creating the first daily operating monorail system in the Western world, to name a few.
This culture and history of daring creativity inspires Imagineers today, and any Imagineer will say the best is yet to come. In 2023, Imagineers work with innovative technologies like machine learning, augmented reality and advanced robotics to enhance storytelling and guest experience. And many more exciting experiences are in the works.
As the Imagineers work toward bringing more imagination to life, there will be even more future experiences to choose from and adventures to have. What if you could go to the World of Frozen in Hong Kong Disneyland, or Journey of Water in EPCOT at Walt Disney World Resort? How about Tiana’s Bayou Adventure or a land themed to Zootopia?.
Just as no single definition can capture the imagination and creativity of an Imagineer, no list of accomplishments would ever be complete. Alongside Josh, Imagineers wowed the crowd with a real lightsaber at SXSW, made audiences gasp watching a dynamic robot on roller skates, and tomorrow…
The world cannot wait for tomorrow.