A new free online educational resource from Disney and Khan Academy will teach you how to become an Imagineer. The lecture series will teach how Disney’s theme park designers bring their creations to life from characters to ride development with the goal of helping you design a theme park of your very own. It’s Imagineering in a Box.
The course features lectures from Walt Disney Imagineering is designed in three large sections: Creating Worlds, Designing attractions, and Bringing Characters to Life. There are 33 videos in all. If you’re an educator, you’ll also find a guide to assist you in administering this course.
Attraction Design – Lesson 2.1 – Story
Lesson 1: Build your own world
This lesson addresses the question: where do you want to go? It introduces the idea of experiential storytelling and the difference between an amusement park and a theme park. We’ll explore how storytelling and theme impact every decision made in the design of a land and how they engage all senses.
Students walk out of this lesson with a theme and high concept for a land of their own design along with a mood board and map that conveys the land.
Lesson 2: Build your own attractions
This lesson addresses the question: what do you want to do in your themed land? It introduces students to the range of possible attractions within a themed land with a focus on dark rides. It exposes the importance of theme and storytelling in attractions in general. Following the creative development process at Walt Disney Imagineering, students envision and design their own dark ride. This includes both the artistic (beat sheets, models) and engineering (throughput, footprint) aspects of ride design.
Students walk out of this lesson with a beat sheet (bullet point summary), a digital layout and a physical model of their attraction.
Lesson 3: Build your own character
This lesson addresses the question: who do you want to meet in your land or attraction? (Who lives there?) The lesson introduces a variety of ways that Walt Disney Imagineering brings characters to life and explores the process of character development through character sheets, performance, costume design, armatures, actuation and control (with a focus on animatronics).
Students walk out of this lesson with a character sheet, a costume, a simple physical armature design and a digital actuated armature.
There are more opportunities than ever to use this skill set in the world. From performance art installations to retail mall design, from airport guest flow to the layout of your local farmers market, even to pitching that next sales deck to a client. Or you could try to acquire the skill set required to become an Imagineer yourself and apply. Disney is usually hiring.
I would have been all over this as a kid. As an adult it makes me wish I had made different career choices for sure. Who are you going to share this great resource with?