Dreams of Imagineering

January 19, 2021, 6:25 PM

Hi all,

Since I know many insiders here have worked at Disney, I was wondering what your tips are for those who want to become an imagineer (like cough cough me). I mean this as in how to be recognized by Disney from a young age, not in terms of skill building like a previous discussion thread I saw had mentioned since I've been finding plenty of ways to do that.


Replies (6)

January 19, 2021, 11:14 PM

[deep breath] [big sigh]

What topic are you talking about exactly? Getting a job is all about skill building, if you don't have the skills, the portfolio, the networking ability, and the grades, you won't get any job in imagineering. There are so many millions of people all around the world that want to be in imagineering, Disney is not going to actively go out and seek you from a young age that kind of thinking is not going to work. They get thousands of resumes for every one job opening in imagineering. Everyone I know that has gotten into imagineering was top of their class in whatever field they were studying, started with nothing, and networked like hell for years.

Sorry I may sound like a downer but I have a huge disdain for people that say they want to be in imagineering (or animation) without any specific kind of idea or plan of what they are going to do because literally thousands of young people show up at the door of WDW every semester saying that. You know the joke about all of the waiters/waitresses in LA being actors or writers? That's how it is in Orlando with imagineers, hundreds of theme park and attractions designers can be found sweeping the grounds of WDW and UO.

January 20, 2021, 11:43 AM

(slightly smaller breath) (slightly smaller sigh)

I have a background in theater and film, so I am most interested in creating original stories expressed through immersive lands and dark rides (in other words, concept design and script work). I know it's probably pushing it, but thought I'd ask anyway.

Does that help?

Edited: January 20, 2021, 12:36 PM

I don't know how to break this to you any better than the previous poster, but, here, let me try...

Having a vague "background" in something is not going to get you hired.

You will need to go to college and get a degree in some very specific fields of study at some very specific colleges.

Also, keep in mind that "creating original stories expressed through immersive lands" is a beginner's lazy dream. These days everything at Disney/Universal is based on owned or purchased/rented Intellectual Property.

If you want to create original things, do it. Don't wait until later or until you get hired by someone or get discovered. Do it now. Close this browser immediately (Sorry Robert) and get to work. Write that novel. Write the screenplay. Write that musical. Stage it. Direct it. Produce it. Publish it. Build your portfolio! If you want the Imagineers to come looking for you, have something extremely impressive for them to see once they get around to it, but unless your name is Lin-Manuel Miranda or Jo Rowling you will probably not see a queue outside your door.

So I guess what I am trying to say here is: Waiting for Imagineering to seek you out and hire you is admitting failure already. Quit wasting time surfing the Internet and build a brand that someone will want to pay for, whether it is some special knowledge that you have gained through study and experience or something that you created through your own creativity.

January 20, 2021, 1:31 PM

Thank you so much to those who have answered so far - I truly do value the feedback. I suppose my question was more out of curiosity about how people become imagineers rather than life advice (although I appreciate that as well!). If anyone who has had experience can share their story of what got them recognized, that's more of what I'm interested in reading about. Sorry if that was unclear :)

Edited: January 21, 2021, 8:55 PM

"what got them recognized"??

By busting a__ and creating a brand. Literally! The only way to stand out from the others in the group of the highly talented and educated is to create, hustle, and have an exemplary portfolio. There is no other way.

I'm an avid reader of biographies. Especially those about people in the creative realm. One thing they all have in common -- putting in time and hard work!! Very few highly successful people are ever "discovered" or "recognized" by someone else and given their dream job. ALL have to work their way into the career they want thru all the junk they don't want. How??...by following the well written life advice above -- get out there and make a name/career/dream for yourself that will delineate you from the masses.

Edited: January 21, 2021, 9:06 PM

FTR, what got me recognized was by athlete's mouth a few different times. It got me recognized by the CEO, COO and CTO of the company (not Disney) and not always in a good way. But it did get my name recognized everytime it was mentioned! LOL Recognition can actually be the worst case.

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