The professor is leaving his classroom.
Imagineer Joe Rohde on Instagram today announced his retirement next year from Walt Disney Imagineering, closing a 40-year run in which he oversaw hit projects including Disney's Animal Kingdom, Pandora: The World of Avatar, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, and the Aulani resort in Hawaii.
WDI President Bob Weis honored Joe in a post of his own.
While Joe's designs have engaged and thrilled millions of fans from around the world, he perhaps has left an even greater legacy within the industry for his thoughtful advocacy of theme parks as an art form. Check out what he had to say during Bob Rogers' Legends panel at the 2017 IAAPA Expo.
Or read through his amazing history lesson on theme park design. Joe's Instagram page has been a must-read for those who study or practice any creative art, but especially those work in the theme park business. Many designers have lauded Joe as the "professor" of this industry, connecting it with the enduring practices of storytelling in art, architecture and theater.
Listening to Joe describe his attractions allows you to fully appreciate the thought and the work that goes into creating an experience that might be over in just a few moments, but that can remain impressed upon a guest's memory for a lifetime.
Joe's retirement should clear the way for him to be named an official Disney Legend, if not at the D23 Expo in 2022 then certainly by 2024. And an induction into the IAAPA Hall of Fame should follow at some point, as well.
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