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  • [Question] Disneys Imagineering Job

    Im not sure if this is in the right section but I have a question about Disney Imagineering. I have been looking at majors and something I wanted to do was Design Rides/Things on the Lamp Post/ Details around the park/The little greets like Pizie Hollow/ ETC. I was wondering what is needed for this, how much money do they make, and where do they work ( EX: In Disneys Offices? )

    PLEASE MOVE IF IN WRONG SECTION

    I didnt know where to put it.


    ~babs


    Thank you Solitary!

  • #2
    Re: Disneys Imagineering Job

    The majority of Imagineers work in WDI Headquarters in Glendale, CA.

    To become an Imagineer working in the areas you described, I would suggest a major in either Architecture or Technical Theater Design. Disneyland, and all related parks, are one large show put on by all cast members. In studying Theater Design, you learn how to approach the story being told, and how to convey those themes and messages in the design process. Tony Baxter, the Senior Vice President of Creative Development for WDI started as an Architect, but soon switched to theater design, and he has designed the majority of projects for Disneyland since the installation of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

    So I would strongly suggest looking into theater programs, architecture, landscape architecture, or art. All will help lead you in that direction. Further, start creating a portfolio of all your design ideas to be able to hand to WDI upon application to show your diverse ideas, and that you have put significant thought into the job.
    Last edited by coasterandrew; 10-19-2009, 04:08 PM.

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    • #3
      Re: Disneys Imagineering Job

      Originally posted by coasterandrew View Post
      The majority of Imagineers work in WDI Headquarters in Burbank, CA.

      To become an Imagineer working in the areas you described, I would suggest a major in either Architecture or Technical Theater Design. Disneyland, and all related parks, are one large show put on by all cast members. In studying Theater Design, you learn how to approach the story being told, and how to convey those themes and messages in the design process. Tony Baxter, the Senior Vice President of Creative Development for WDI started as an Architect, but soon switched to theater design, and he has designed the majority of projects for Disneyland since the installation of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

      So I would strongly suggest looking into theater programs, architecture, landscape architecture, or art. All will help lead you in that direction. Further, start creating a portfolio of all your design ideas to be able to hand to WDI upon application to show your diverse ideas, and that you have put significant thought into the job.
      Thank you so much. I already have 2 drawn papers of a fountain ( just beginning! ) That I had came up with showing different effects of it. Also another thing is, Do I need to be a good drawer? Because I am not so good.


      Thank you Solitary!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Disneys Imagineering Job

        Weren't Tony Baxter's first jobs for Disney selling popcorn at the hub and scooping ice cream? And now the new President of the Disneyland Resort started with Disney 38 years ago as a busboy at the Contemporary Resort.

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        • #5
          Re: Disneys Imagineering Job

          Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) designs pretty much everything you see in the parks. I'm not sure what the salaries are like, but I can tell you that they work in a variety of places. Their main "headquarters" is located in Glendale (not Burbank), but there are also smaller offices backstage at Disneyland. Naturally, there are also Imagineers working in Florida, Paris, and so forth, as needed for different projects.

          Unfortunately, there isn't really a major for theme park design or Imagineering, at least not at any of the schools I know about. (If I had the opportunity, I'd take it! ) As far as I can tell, the most surefire route to employment as an Imagineer is to get really, really good at whatever you want to do there (art, architecture, engineering, 3D design, urban planning, modelmaking...whatever you're focused on) and take every opportunity to let Disney know about you - and learn more about them. For instance, WDI puts on a yearly contest for college students called ImagiNations, and people who do well in it are likely to get internships. I also know that UCLA offers an amazing class taught by folks from WDI.

          Basically, there are a LOT of different paths into Imagineering. There's no single process that every current Imagineer had to go through, and it's up to people like you and me to find the path that's gonna get us there!

          EDIT: If I remember correctly, Tony Baxter ended up majoring in fine arts, not theater design, coasterandrew. Could be wrong about that.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Disneys Imagineering Job

            Originally posted by Bob Weaver View Post
            Weren't Tony Baxter's first jobs for Disney selling popcorn at the hub and scooping ice cream? And now the new President of the Disneyland Resort started with Disney 38 years ago as a busboy at the Contemporary Resort.
            Yeah, but when he went to school he studied Theater Design. But they both go to show how loyalty, dedication, and purely working your way up really works. Gives all the young hourly workers hope.

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            • #7
              Re: Disneys Imagineering Job

              Originally posted by Datameister View Post
              Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) designs pretty much everything you see in the parks. I'm not sure what the salaries are like, but I can tell you that they work in a variety of places. Their main "headquarters" is located in Glendale (not Burbank), but there are also smaller offices backstage at Disneyland. Naturally, there are also Imagineers working in Florida, Paris, and so forth, as needed for different projects.

              Unfortunately, there isn't really a major for theme park design or Imagineering, at least not at any of the schools I know about. (If I had the opportunity, I'd take it! ) As far as I can tell, the most surefire route to employment as an Imagineer is to get really, really good at whatever you want to do there (art, architecture, engineering, 3D design, urban planning, modelmaking...whatever you're focused on) and take every opportunity to let Disney know about you - and learn more about them. For instance, WDI puts on a yearly contest for college students called ImagiNations, and people who do well in it are likely to get internships. I also know that UCLA offers an amazing class taught by folks from WDI.

              Basically, there are a LOT of different paths into Imagineering. There's no single process that every current Imagineer had to go through, and it's up to people like you and me to find the path that's gonna get us there!

              EDIT: If I remember correctly, Tony Baxter ended up majoring in fine arts, not theater design, coasterandrew. Could be wrong about that.
              Thank you

              Ok about the different Paths, are you able to name some ( Maybe explain )? or Send me a Pm about them?


              Thank you Solitary!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Disneys Imagineering Job

                I had an interview once at WDI for a job in the "filmed entertainment" dept. Basically any of the movies that are shown in the parks ie Soarin', HISTA etc.

                It seemed really slow and unappealing compared to the job I have now, where we release a couple of movies in theaters every month. Real movies, not in-park movies. It was fun to walk around the place though, even if I didn't get to see much.

                My point is they hire architects, artists, engineers, accountants and all kinds of jobs at WDI. I think people have the idea that everyone who works there does the same thing: Sketches ideas on a napkin over dinner, and turns them into attractions the next day at the office.

                I imagine the most creative jobs only come after many years of experience.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Disneys Imagineering Job

                  Well, I wasn't referring to anything specifically, Babs09. I just meant that different Imagineers come from vastly different backgrounds - every sort of major imaginable. Many or even most worked at other companies first and then joined Disney later. Some of them wanted to be Imagineers all along, while others just kind of stumbled into it after working in their respective fields for a while.

                  EDIT: And in case we've got any Imagineers reading this thread, I apologize if anything I've said is at all "off." After all, I don't actually work in Glendale...yet...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Disneys Imagineering Job

                    Yup, basically what Datameister said. Imagineers have told me that you should focus on one area and get really good at it. They will hire you based your skills, not your ideas. Another option of course is to start in the bottom, like most imagineers have. It shows that you really want to be there and have been part of the family for quite a while. And as far as being a good drawer, it depends on what you want to do. If you want to create concepts, then of course you have to be really good in order to convey your ideas. If you just want to do CAD, technical drawings, that would also require drawing skill of a different nature. It all depends. And trust me, it's easy to be a good drawerer, just draw draw draw and your skill will devolope quickly. Hope that helps!

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                    • #11
                      Re: Disneys Imagineering Job

                      Oh yes I forgot, not every job at WDI is creative or requires you to be a good artist! One of my former imagineer freinds was a schedule planner. She wrote out schedules and deadlines that needed to be met at a specific time in order to continue the next process.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Disneys Imagineering Job

                        Im guessing this would require good art skills? what I was looking at was drawing ride vechiles, the ride building, a little character greet area, etc?

                        ~babs


                        Thank you Solitary!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Disneys Imagineering Job

                          Art skills would be a definite plus in some positions, and absolutely critical in others, I'm sure. You can't hurt your odds by developing a really good understanding of form, composition, light, texture, color theory, perspective, anatomy, architecture, and so forth, and learning how to effectively convey all those in relevant media.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Disneys Imagineering Job

                            Originally posted by Babs09 View Post
                            Im not sure if this is in the right section but I have a question about Disney Imagineering. I have been looking at majors and something I wanted to do was Design Rides/Things on the Lamp Post/ Details around the park/The little greets like Pizie Hollow/ ETC. I was wondering what is needed for this, how much money do they make, and where do they work ( EX: In Disneys Offices? )

                            ~babs
                            Originally posted by Babs09 View Post
                            Thank you so much. I already have 2 drawn papers of a fountain ( just beginning! ) That I had came up with showing different effects of it. Also another thing is, Do I need to be a good drawer? Because I am not so good.

                            Well, I'm an architecture student in college and I'm also chasing the dream, and it sounds like you want something along the lines of art or architecture. Things like Pixie Hollow, lampposts, fountains, and outdoor scenery happen to fall under the trade of landscape architecture, so you should definitely look into that as a career choice (it's a lot more than plants, y'know!).

                            I'm going to be honest, all of these careers will require a reasonable amount of skill in drawing - art the most so, but in architecture (or landscape architecture), you need to at least have a good eye for design, and be able to draw well enough to easily communicate your ideas. If drawing isn't your thing right now, that can change - but sketch, sketch, sketch! Take a notebook with you whereever you go and just draw stuff if you get bored, and you'll get much better with practice. But it will be important down the road.

                            Walt Disney Imagineering is based in Glendale, which is most likely where you would work, unless (I'm assuming) you had an overseas project, like the ongoing renovations of Hong Kong Disneyland. And as for pay, haha, let's just say you should enter the fields of architecture or landscape for love, and not for lots of money. When you get out of college, expect to earn in the neighborhood of $35,000 - $45,000 annually, eventually working your way up to $45,000 - $65,000. I expect WDI would be around the same. Your pay gets higher the longer you work, naturally.

                            Good luck!
                            Last edited by MarkTwain; 10-19-2009, 05:29 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Disneys Imagineering Job

                              At the D23 expo, Marty Sky mentioned that disney also hires writers. Do any of you guys know how disney incorporates writers?
                              ):lol::blush::bow::yea::sleep::thumbup::captain::clap::geek::im theone::meet::ap::squeeze::smart::angel:dMom

                              Oh how I love smiles!

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                              • #16
                                Re: Disneys Imagineering Job

                                Originally posted by caligirl09 View Post
                                At the D23 expo, Marty Sky mentioned that disney also hires writers. Do any of you guys know how disney incorporates writers?
                                They write scripts to attractions and shows. Everything from what a certain character says to what your ride vehicle does. And I think you mean Marty Sklar.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Re: Disneys Imagineering Job

                                  Originally posted by MarkTwain View Post
                                  Well, I'm an architecture student in college and I'm also chasing the dream, and it sounds like you want something along the lines of art or architecture. Things like Pixie Hollow, lampposts, fountains, and outdoor scenery happen to fall under the trade of landscape architecture, so you should definitely look into that as a career choice (it's a lot more than plants, y'know!).

                                  I'm going to be honest, all of these careers will require a reasonable amount of skill in drawing - art the most so, but in architecture (or landscape architecture), you need to at least have a good eye for design, and be able to draw well enough to easily communicate your ideas. If drawing isn't your thing right now, that can change - but sketch, sketch, sketch! Take a notebook with you whereever you go and just draw stuff if you get bored, and you'll get much better with practice. But it will be important down the road.

                                  Walt Disney Imagineering is based in Glendale, which is most likely where you would work, unless (I'm assuming) you had an overseas project, like the ongoing renovations of Hong Kong Disneyland. And as for pay, haha, let's just say you should enter the fields of architecture or landscape for love, and not for lots of money. When you get out of college, expect to earn in the neighborhood of $35,000 - $45,000 annually, eventually working your way up to $45,000 - $65,000. I expect WDI would be around the same. Your pay gets higher the longer you work, naturally.

                                  Good luck!
                                  Thanks alot mark! The landscaping Archietecture really interests me now!

                                  Ok about the drawing part of that... are you saying you dont have to be a really good drawer but able to draw something so others can also see your idea?

                                  ~babs


                                  Thank you Solitary!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Re: Disneys Imagineering Job

                                    To get into WDI you need (off the top of my head)

                                    • To be really good at a field you're interested in. Your skill(s) really need to be top notch or close to it.
                                    • As noted above, being proficient in drawing is a must. John Lasseter says "if you can't draw, you shouldn't be in this building".
                                    • An art background is highly recommended.
                                    • A degree of some sort is highly recommended to show how serious you are in your field
                                    • Be very versatile, you may need to move to different departments at anytime. That can range from sculpting, model making, drafting, illustration, painting, etc.
                                    • Get a ton of experience, not just in theme parks but also in the movie industry for example; something that is related to what you can do.
                                    • Get a kick-••• portfolio done; a couple of ideas and drawings aren't going to cut it. A large range of stuff of different media, original preferred, would be ideal.
                                    • Get well known by people who work(ed) there who know of your work and what you can do; if I'm not mistaken you HAVE to be referred by a current or former Imagineer in order to work there.

                                    I've got all of the above except for the degree, so I'm pretty much set.
                                    Last edited by Nautilus; 10-19-2009, 06:48 PM.

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