On this date 70 years ago, Walt Disney formed a think tank of his moviemakers to design and develop Disneyland, leveraging their expertise in film to craft dimensional storytelling. Combining imagination and engineering, these were the first Imagineers. Today, Walt Disney Imagineering continues Walt’s dream of creating immersive experiences that bring people together – not only at Disneyland but at all Disney theme parks, resorts, cruise ships, entertainment districts and beyond.
The amount of Disney magic made by generations of Imagineers from all over the world during the last seven decades is mind-blowing when you step back and reflect on all there is. But as our president Barbara Bouza shared at D23 Expo, there’s nothing like working alongside our Imagineers who thrive on doing the impossible.
It’s so true – one of the best parts of working at Imagineering is the people – they represent more than 100 different disciplines with more than 500 U.S. patents from Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development combined. You can imagine the overwhelming breadth of expert talent that inspires me every day!
I can’t help but reflect on the many memories I have at Walt Disney Imagineering because of my role in communications and my dad being an Imagineer for more than 40 years. If you’ll humor me, I want to share a fun memento that came to mind. This image is from a 1989 issue of WDEye, an in-house publication that Imagineering produced. The child second-to-left is me, with a caption that speculates that this group of Imagineers’ kids would apply for a job here in 2010. Well, I was hired by Disney in 2010 (and later joined Walt Disney Imagineering)!
Walt Disney Imagineering has always led with a brave little spark, and together, we share a spirit of optimism. Every day, we are proudly building upon our extraordinary legacy of experiential storytelling and pioneering innovation, and this year, we’re excited to be celebrating our 70th anniversary! Imagineers around the world celebrated this milestone during internal celebration events in California, Florida, Paris, Germany, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
And if you haven’t yet seen this video produced by Iwerks & Co., the studio behind “The Imagineering Story” on Disney+, it captures meaningful moments and milestones from the last seven decades. A huge thank you to all Imagineers, past and present, for your contributions to this incredible legacy. As Walt would say, “we’re just getting started!”
Happy 70th Anniversary Walt Disney Imagineering! My favorite subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, and one that deserves love, attention, and investment! Thank you so much for this article Kevin Rafferty, Jr., including your personal reflections!
Please make a second season of The Imageneering Story.