Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Walt Disney Imagineering
WED Enterprises (WED), was formed by movie mogul Walt Disney on December 16, 1952 to develop plans for a theme park and to manage Disney's personal assets. It was originally an independent, private company, owned by Walt Disney himself, but on February 3, 1965 was merged into Walt Disney Productions. It is currently known as Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI), Disney Imagineering, or simply Imagineering.
Walt Disney Imagineering is much better known today for designing and building the world-famous Walt Disney Parks and Resorts all over the world;
- Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, USA
- Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA
- Tokyo Disney Resort just outside of Tokyo, Japan
- Disneyland Resort Paris in Marne-la-Vallee, France
- Hong Kong Disneyland Resort in Hong Kong, China
The term "Imagineering" is a portmanteau word that combines "imagination" and "engineering." The term was coined by Richard F. Sailer in an inhouse article written for the National Carbon Company Management Magazine, and reprinted by the Union Carbide Company.
The article "BRAINSTORMING IS IMAGINation enginEERING" was published and copyrighted in 1957, and gravitated to Disney by unknown means. WED Enterprises applied for a trademark for the term in 1967, claiming first use in 1962.
The Old Game
The company was formed separately from Walt Disney's main company to keep the affairs separate. Although when WED was required to design and build sets for Walt Disney's live-action television shows, WED and the Walt Disney Studios got closer together. In 1952 when WED were asked to design and build Disneyland, Walt and his brother Roy O. Disney formed Disneyland, Inc to build, design, and manage Disneyland and produce the Disneyland television show. Disneyland, Inc was absorbed into WED Enteprises and WED Enteprises became a division of Walt Disney Studios - itself a divison of Walt Disney Productions, now named The Walt Disney Company.
The New Game
Walt Disney Imagineering is now the research and development arm of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, no longer a division of the Walt Disney Studios. WDI is not such a prominent part of The Walt Disney Company as it once was but is much better recognised in the R&D and theme park communities. The Walt Disney Imagineering corporate headquarters is located in Glendale, California, the building headquarters are located in the Disneyland Resort down the road in Anaheim, California, the financial headquarters are located at the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, California, and there are WDI field offices in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Tokyo, Japan, Paris, France and Hong Kong, China.
WDI are also playing a major part in this year's Happiest Homecoming on Earth party celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Disneyland - which would not have been built without the Imagineers. The Imagineers have also been hard at work restoring the much neglected Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room and rebuilding Space Mountain for the celebration.
The celebration also involves various resorts trading attractions, and a major party kicking the celebration off. Sleeping Beauty Castle, the symbol of Disneyland, has been decorated by the Imagineers (as has Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom).
In the mid-1990s, major cuts were made in the Imagineers workforce, reducing it by half, from 3000 to about 1500 Imagineers - 75% working in Glendale. In the early 2000s, the R&D group was similarly decimated. Many Imagineers left due to lack of funding, which has slowly been reduced ever since the death of Roy O. Disney in 1971 - the last of the two founders.
A prime example is Tokyo Disneysea in the Tokyo Disney Resort, which is not owned by The Walt Disney Company - although Disney collect profits from licenses, and allocate their Imagineers to build and design Tokyo Disney Resort parks. When Tokyo Disney Resort's owners, The Oriental Land Company, asked Disney to design a new park, Disney told the Imagineers to design whatever they wanted - as Disney were not paying the costs. The final result was a dramatic, stylised, exciting, modern but very Disney theme park which is the third most visited on Earth. At the very centre is the Mount Prometheus volcano, which inside contains a state-of-the-art ride based on Jules Verne's 'Journey to the Center of the Earth' novel.
Then, look at the two latest American parks - both fully owned by Disney. Disney's Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disney's California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort both opened to poor reviews, due to hasty designs from the Imagineers who were working on a very tight budget. To be fair, both the parks have excellent rides which have been added to improve it, but at Gateway Pavilion, the entrance to either Disneyland Park or Disney's California Adventure - constantly a crowd are entering Disneyland while trickles of people go through DCA's gates. For a more detailed argument, see the 'Re-building Tomorrowland' link below.
An Imagineer (officially known as a Walt Disney Imagineer), is an employee of Walt Disney Imagineering. Nearly all Imagineers work at the corporate headquarters in Glendale, California constantly developing ideas and attractions for worldwide Disney parks. Imagineers come in all forms; artists, writers, architects, engineers, model builders, construction managers, technicians, designers and a whole range of others. Past Imagineers include Alan Kay, Bran Ferren , Robert Swirsky , and Danny Hillis, and the current Chief Directing Officer of Walt Disney Imagineering is Marty Sklar.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details