Rafferty most recently helped oversee the development of Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway at Disney's Hollywood Studios, which won our most recent Theme Park Insider Award as the Best New Attraction of the year. I spoke with him in 2019 about the ride - the first dark ride themed to the first couple of Disney.
Before Runaway Railway, Rafferty worked on many now-classic Disney attractions, including two of the top 10 attractions in our annual reader poll: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Cars Land at Disney California Adventure.
"Cars Land will obviously always, always have a special place in my heart. It is so epic," he told D23. "There are more than 280,000 square feet of hand-sculpted and hand-painted rockwork, and I see all of the blood, sweat, and tears and love that went into that land and how it evolved and how it really happened."
Rafferty started his Disney career not far away from Cars Land, working as a dishwasher in Disneyland's Plaza Inn. After seeing a recruitment poster for WED Enterprises (now known as Walt Disney Imagineering) at the Disneyland costume window, he sought an interview, which then launched him into a four-decade career working on Disney attractions around the world.
If you'd like to learn more about Rafferty's career, he recently wrote a memoir, "Magic Journey: My Fantastical Walt Disney Imagineering Career." Rafferty's departure follows that of fellow Imagineer Joe Rohde, who left the company this month. As the pandemic closes parks and delays projects around the industry, a generational change is underway at WDI.
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