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Imagineering: What is It and 4 Interesting Facts

Imagineer, or Imagineering is a word that Walt Disney would often use himself. It’s the title given to anyone who works for Disney whose job it is to design and/or build any aspect of the theme parks or resorts. It’s different from a Cast Member whose job it is to run and maintain the park and its guests. It’s also a very general term, since an Imagineer can design structures, write music, paint walls, build rocks, plant trees, frankly there’s hundreds of things an Imagineer might do.

It’s not totally clear exactly when the term was first used, and it’s likely/possible that Walt Disney was not the first. There were several documented uses of the word as early as 1940, long before Walt started building his parks. Walt started his team of Imagineers in 1952 to build Disneyland, but official use of the name Imagineering didn’t come about till 1986 at Disney. This is when WED, the original name of the company Walt created to build the parks, changed their name to Imagineering.

Today all those involved with building, designing, and evolving any aspect of any resort or theme park are known as Imagineers. Imagineering is a huge part of the Disney corporation and is responsible for building every single park and resort that Disney owns. It used to be that these Imageneers would be fairly hidden from the public, but over the last few decades there has been more interest in how the parks are built and some Imagineers have become celebrities in their own right.

Probably the way most people see Imagineers is during videos and social media posts featuring or previewing new park features. They often wear colourful hard hardhats with their names in bold and fun lettering, while talking about the ride or attraction. There is also the hidden shrine to Imagineers of the past, the windows on main street. Many of the imagined businesses on Main Streets around the world at various castle parks use the names of past great Imagineers as an homage.

Since the advancement of social media and the internet, Imagineers have really become more front and centre at Disney. They really are the pixie dust that builds these amazing places.

  • Disney Imagineering holds more than 300 patents.
  • The first attractions that Imagineers worked on were for the World’s Fair in 1964.
  • Imagineers build a lot of models, just look it up.
  • Imagineers get to travel when they’re researching new attractions. They also buy a lot of stuff to decorate the attractions which means a great deal of the items in the queue for Expedition Everest are really from Nepal.

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