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Ask The Disney Experts Discuss What does it take to become an imagineer? in the Ask The Experts forums; I know, I know..."Go to the imagineering forum!" But no one is ever on there!! It's a shame! Imagineering fasinates me! So if you don't mind answering, or just having ...
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    alalune042's Avatar
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    Question What does it take to become an imagineer?

    I know, I know..."Go to the imagineering forum!" But no one is ever on there!!
    It's a shame! Imagineering fasinates me! So if you don't mind answering, or just having a general discussion about some imagineering it would make my day! Here's my story...

    I obviously love Disney, and like MANY other people I would LOVE to work for disney. Basically I want to be a structural engineer to design rides (especially roller coasters )
    I'm a highschool senior, i'm 17 and im going to enroll in Florida International University (here im miami ) in about 2 months. This sounds geeky, but I'm already looking up job openings on the disney site and they never seem to ask for structural engineers . Will my dream ever come true? I just want to design Disney rides!!! Do I have to get into the Disney college? I dont want to move! I'm confused! I'd like to know as much info as possible so when I graduate I know what to do and I have an idea of how to do it!! Plz help!

    sigh, sorry if this is inconvinient for anyone .
    NADIA

    a dream is a wish your heart makes


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    Well... You first have to start out as a flunkie aka person who does what their told by everyone.

    Then the big boss man can/might give you a promotion to a person in a winnie the pooh costume.

    Then you get promoted to a chashier

    Then the person who checks the tickets at the front desk

    Then a person who works at the rides

    Then you might! become an imagonier if you work hard for years!

    Then you have to work your way up in the ranks

    After about 20 long hard years you MIGHT become one.
    Major WDW fan/KH fan!

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    Sooo if I have a phD in engineering with years of experience/internships etc etc and it's my first time speaking to Disney, they will put me in a winnie the pooh costume, in front of a cashier, working in rides and checking tickets at the front desk (not in that general order).... *scratches head*
    I'll go build a bridge.
    NADIA

    a dream is a wish your heart makes


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    It's tough. There are many people who want to be Imagineers. There are fewer and fewer positions at Imagineering each year. And people who go there don't leave all too quickly on their own.

    It takes luck, persistence, and luck, I'd gather.

    If you're serious about it - Go for the engineering degree. Study hard. Get excellent grades. While doing that, get involved with some sort of entertainment thing (theater, or something).

    Consider something like the ETC at CMU.

    Visit WDW. Visit DL. Buy the Imagineering books that are out there. Send your resume in. Later on, look for an internship here.

    Be ready to do something else while you continue to work towards working for WDI. Don't be too upset if it takes time. Consider another business in the industry (there's plenty of other companies building themed entertainment that use engineers. Disney outsources a lot of their work. Go work for one of those companies).

    Don't lose sight of your dream. One day it might come true. And have fun while working to make it come true.

    This is all just some advice I have, based on my own story. There's nothing I'd like more than to work for WDI. One day I just may. I don't know. But I know I've found a somewhat related career right now. It's satisfying, and lots of fun. I'm still working my way towards WDI. But if I don't make it there anytime soon, I'd be perfectly fine with that.

    Try and get yourself in that position. Not *everyone* who works at WDI started in custodial. (But I don't think it hurts). I'd say it's probably somewhat valuable to get some front-line experience in the parks as a CM. Maybe the College Program early in your academic career.

    I hope this helps!

    -Sam

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    Alalune042-

    Why don't you schedule an appointment with Walt Disney Imagineering and just flat out ask what you need to do to become an Imagineer. You are still early enough in your education that things can be arranged through school and possibly through WDI to get you a base position right out of college.
    As for books there are many written by Imagineering. Two books I would suggest is the "Imagineering Handbook" and "Imagineering Workbook". These are two extraordinary books by Imagineering that will help you get in to a Disney way of thinking (persay, they really are books to add creativity to your everyday!!) and that is key.
    Something the Imagineers preach is that in the beginning of each attraction there was a SPARK (or JOLT) of inspiration and ANYTHING (they really mean anything, too) goes. Then you have to have a story.
    Sorry, I am going off on a tangent.
    Anyway, Creativity and Imagination are the keys. Visit the parks, visit them often. Don't go as a guest - go and "act" like you are an Imagineer and take a look at Disney like you are looking for the next best attraction. Ride the rides, but don't ride them for the fun (well always ride them for the fun - that's what you do as an Imagineer), but ride them for the science and the show. Look backwards on an attraction, look upsidedown at the parades and shows. If it is a slow guest day, lay down and look up (and I literally mean right in the middle of Main Street, USA - you may get looks but it is all for research). Do everything humanly possible to "get into character".
    As for me, I just wanted to work for Disney, and I acted like I did before I was hired. Guest would come to me for assistance, before I was hired. I "got into the Disney thought process and the "make the magic""process and now I work for the greatest company in the world. Now, my goal is to become an Ambassador for the company and now I live my life like I am THE Ambassador. I represent the Walt Disney Company when I travel, when I'm out to eat, when I buy groceries, when I get gas. People will see me with my i.d. and stop and ask me a question or two and I am more than happy to answer them. I live, sleep, eat , dream, talk Disney and that is how to truly succeed in the Company. If you want this bad enough, there is no mountain to big (unless it's Expedition: Everest) that you can't climb.
    I wish you the very best in school, and all of your future endeavors with Walt Disney Imagineering and the Walt Disney Company.

    Magically Yours,
    Paul
    Walt Disney World
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    Celebrating 35 Years
    Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

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    Question

    Thank you eveyone for your wonderful responses!
    But I have another question
    To design rides...for example
    designing the structure of a roller coaster...or
    the tower of terror ....or
    even the cinderella castle!
    Structural Engineering...or architecture?
    What's it take?
    NADIA

    a dream is a wish your heart makes


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    Sam I Am's Avatar
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    Both? It takes a LOT of disciplines. My opinon: find what you like to do, and do it.
    If you're interested in HOW to do it, the loads, the necessary supports, you want engineering. If you want to design the way the thing looks, you're looking more at architecture.

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    Summer Sun's Avatar
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    Yeah, go with your heart. Try to do a little of both. Sam has the right ideas. Good posts Sam.
    Walt Disney World
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    Unhappy

    that is so hard becuase I love math... but I love designing things. Soo confusing! How would I go about doing both? Major and minor? That'll be really hard becuase it takes a lot of classes for both
    I'll just see when I actually get there
    NADIA

    a dream is a wish your heart makes


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    Summer Sun's Avatar
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    Try to do both (Major/Minor or Major/Major) or if one is just not the studying one, do it as a hobby. I would probably say do the math in class and the design at home. If you talk to Imagineering, get their two cents. There are so many different parts to Imagineering and everybody on the team could have a say in each attraction. If you graduate in math you will probably be able to also have your say in the design and vice-versa. See if you can talk to Imagineering.
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    Thank you for all of your help. I just need to see how I can contact imagineering. I just want to have fun at my job, whether it be designing something or doing calculus all day!
    NADIA

    a dream is a wish your heart makes


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    Summer Sun's Avatar
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    If you go to this website it has a LOT of information about WDI's imagi-nations which is a global competition that they put on. There is an address and has information an what you should do.

    Here is the website:
    http://disney.go.com/disneycareers/imaginations/
    Walt Disney World
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    ...
    Last edited by esigsby; 02-14-2007 at 05:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Summer Sun
    If you go to this website it has a LOT of information about WDI's imagi-nations which is a global competition that they put on. There is an address and has information an what you should do.

    Here is the website:
    http://disney.go.com/disneycareers/imaginations/
    Thank you for this. I'm sure it will be extremely useful to me in the future.
    NADIA

    a dream is a wish your heart makes


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    Sam I Am's Avatar
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    And keep a portfolio of things you do - for fun, on your own, whatever. It can only come in useful later on.

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