- "Many of the things that seem impossible now will become realities tomorrow."
- ―Walt Disney
Walt Disney Imagineering (also known as WDI or simply Imagineering) is the design and development arm of the Walt Disney Company, responsible for the creation and construction of Disney theme parks worldwide. Founded by Walt Disney in 1952 to oversee the production of Disneyland Park, it was originally known as WED Enterprises, from the initials Walter Elias Disney.
An Imagineer (officially known as a Walt Disney Imagineer), is an employee of Walt Disney Imagineering, or any other employee of The Walt Disney Company given that title. Nearly all Imagineers work at the corporate headquarters in Glendale, California developing ideas and attractions for Disney Parks. During the construction of a major project, Imagineers sometimes are deployed to work on-site for six months to a year. Imagineers come in all forms; artists, writers, architects, landscape architects, engineers, model builders, construction managers, technicians, designers and a whole range of others.
Imagineering is perhaps best known for its development of Audio-Animatronics, a form of robotics created for use in shows and attractions in the theme parks that allowed Disney to animate things in three dimensions instead of just two. The idea sprang from Disney's fascination with a mechanical bird he purchased in New Orleans, which eventually led to the development of the attraction The Enchanted Tiki Room. The Tiki Room, which featured singing Audio Animatronic birds, was the first to use such technology. Audio Animatronics are featured prominently in many popular Disney attractions, including Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion.
Walt Disney Imagineering Management
The following is a list of Imagineers who either took part of creating the original Pirates of the Caribbean, or had interviews with concerning the Disneyland ride in Dead Men Tell No Tales features: History of the Attraction and Re-Imagineering the Attraction. Imagineers also took part in making The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow.
Walt Disney Imagineering
- Tony Baxter - Senior Vice President, Creative Development
- Eric Jacobson - Senior Vice President, Creative Development
- Tom Fitzgerald - Executive Vice President, Senior Creative Executive
- Marty Sklar - Former Vice Chairman, Principal Creative Executive, and President
- Jason Roberts - Project Manager and Show Designer
- Charita Carter - Project Manager and Show Producer. Worked on The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow.
- Laura Mitchell - Associate Project Manager. Worked on The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow.
- Kathy Rogers - Senior Show Producer/Director
- John Gritz - Senior Concept Designer
- Michael Sprout - Senior Concept Writer, Creative Development
- Jason Surrell - Show Writer, Producer
- Michael Traxler - Principal Plastics Technician
- Heather Greene - Principal Show Artist
Notable Disney Imagineers
- Alice Estes Davis - Designed Costumes for Audio-Animatronics in many rides including It's a Small World, Flight to the Moon, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
- Bill Justice - Programmed figures for several Disney attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, and Country Bear Jamboree.
- Bill Martin - Helped Design the Monorail, Fantasyland attractions, Pirates of the Caribbean and Walt Disney World.
- Blaine Gibson - Chief sculptor who created many Audio-Animatronics figures, including most in the Hall of Presidents, as well as the "Partners" statue found in the hubs of Disneyland and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.
- Claude Coats - Designed the sets for Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, Adventure Through Inner Space, If You Had Wings, and many other classic attractions.
- Herb Ryman - Noted for his numerous and distinctive conceptual renderings, many of which served as the principally guiding concepts for Disney attractions and environments.
- John Cutry - Show Animator Principal.
- John Hench - Most famous work is Space Mountain's exterior design; also worked on Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Spaceship Earth, and the overall design of EPCOT Center, in addition to multiple other projects. Worked also on the selection of color palettes for many of the projects during his lifetime.
- Leota Toombs Thomas - Longtime Disney employee, model builder, costumer, and Imagineer. Best known as the disembodied spirit of Madame Leota in The Haunted Mansion, she transferred her talents to some of the most beloved attractions at Disneyland, including Pirates of the Caribbean.
- Marc Davis - Distinguished Imagineer noted for his stylized character design and comedic "sight gags;" designed most of the characters in The Jungle Cruise, The Enchanted Tiki Room, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Carousel of Progress, Country Bear Jamboree, America Sings, and many other classic attractions.
- Scott Goddard - Sculptor
- Tony Baxter - Oversaw the design of some of Disney's most famous modern attractions, such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure, Journey into Imagination, and Disneyland Paris
- Valerie Edwards - WDI's Director of Sculpture. Daughter of Sleeping Beauty animator, George Edwards, she was mentored by Imagineer John Hench for 17 years. Her work included character sculpts for the parks and cruise ships. She also worked on The Hall of Presidents' added Audio-Animatronics figure of President Barack Obama and followeed in the distinguished footsteps of legendary sculptor and Disney Legend Blaine Gibson.
- Xavier "X" Atencio - Most famous works include the songs "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)" for, Pirates of the Caribbean and "Grim Grinning Ghosts" for the Haunted Mansion.
- Yale Gracey - Best known for the invention of special effects and new attraction technologies, most famously for the Haunted Mansion.