I wanted to be an Imagineer as long as I can remember. When I was in 3rd grade I spent an entire day drawing a big map of Disneyland on my desktop. I had rendered every attraction in the minutest detail. But my teacher caught eye of my masterpiece, made me scrub it off my desk and then sent me to the principal’s office to get paddled for my obsession. Mind you, I’m not really obsessed, but it seems that I had a little “pixie dust” flowing in my veins even then.As a young adult I tried to get hired but to no avail. So I eventually gave it up. Years past… and then one day I got a card in the mail. It was from Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) and it simply said, “We want to talk to you”. At that very moment I knew I had the job I always wanted.
That was the beginning of a seven-year journey. A journey into imagination, creativity, passion, pushing the envelope, and a lot of hard work with the most talented people you could ever find in one place. I started on the Splash Mountain/Critter Country project at Disneyland. For a year and a half I absorbed everything there was to know about the production, construction, installation, and operation of a Disney attraction. After the successful opening of Splash Mountain I was chosen to become part of the Tokyo Disneyland Project Office. Over a period of four years we conceived, produced, and with our Japanese partners, installed 13 attractions including their very own Splash Mountain, Adventureland Treehouse, and Mickey’s Toontown. I was a member of the high level policies & procedures team, corporate synergy team, new technology committee. I was also involved in contributing to some very special projects including the “Aida” and “Beauty and the Beast” Broadway Productions, Disneyland’s 35th Birthday celebration, and the development of Tokyo Disneyland 5, 10 & 20 year Master Plan. I concluded my Disney career working on the EPCOT development team and leading the S.S. Disney effort.
I couldn’t imagine working with a greater team than at Imagineering during those years. I had the distinct honor of working daily with true legends in their respective fields. And now that I have moved on, it feels like I was part of a most special fraternity. The experience challenged me and changed me, and lit in me a creative flame that still burns brightly today. Once an Imagineer, always an Imagineer….