A Few of My Favorite Things, #11: Walt Disney Imagineering

When I was fourteen years old, I purchased this book while on vacation at Walt Disney World:

WDI1

I had been a Disney fanatic from the time I was a toddler—I collected park maps, watched the free vacation planning videos for fun, and learned everything I could about the parks and the stories behind them. (Was I weirdly obsessed? I prefer enthusiastic.)

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Me, in Disney World.

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My birthdays were appropriately Disney-themed.

But this book took my interest and knowledge to a whole new level. I began sketching ideas for my own parks and rides and hotels, inspired by the detail and unbridled creativity displayed in these pages.

WDI4
The famous Herb Ryman rendering of Sleeping Beauty Castle!

WDI2
Design concepts for the castle in Paris!
WDI3
Epcot model!
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Italy pavilion!

While I was in college, a sequel to this book was released, so of course I have that as well:

HC1

HC4
I am perpetually fascinated by park maps
HC3
Matterhorn <3
HC5
Expedition: Everest
HC2
My favorite ride: the Tower of Terror.

By the time I graduated college I had made twelve visits to Walt Disney World, two to Disneyland, one to Tokyo DisneySea, and one to Disneyland Paris. Eventually my love of Imagineering led me to design an architectural thesis based in Walt Disney World, which led to an internship and then a job working in architecture at Disneyland. (Meaning I’ve lost count of my Disneyland visits at this point, since I lived there for two years and was in the park almost every day.)

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Because I knew these Imagineering books forwards and backwards, I knew that Disney takes a big group photo of cast members when they complete a major project—here, for instance, is the one for Epcot:

Epcot
The crowd is supposed to be spelling out “We Did It!” but you can’t quite make it out…

When I started working at Disneyland, it was right at the time of the completion of the Buena Vista Street/Cars Land expansion at Disney California Adventure—which meant that I got to actually be in one of these photos! Can you spot me?

Cast Photo BVS
Hint: I’m near the front, on the left side of the photo.

I was really lucky to have the opportunity to work at Disney. Even though I’m not working there now, I still keep my Imagineering books around and look through them from time to time, and I will always be a die-hard Disney fan.


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