The Pyramid in Practice – “Read”-ability and Fundraising

In this post I want to look at an example of using “Read”-ability in a (relatively) small project – specifically a local fundraising effort.

In the Winter of 2017, our local high school music department will be taking a trip to Walt Disney World, during which the marching band will march in a parade in Magic Kingdom, and the school’s a cappella groups will be performing at other venues.

To help support this trip, our local music booster organization plans to run a number of fundraising events. Our goal is to provide as many opportunities as possible for the kids to earn money towards the cost of the trip. As President of the booster organization, I proposed that we wrap all of these events into a larger campaign that we could advertise around town to let folks in town know about the trip and the various fundraiser events we’ll be running. My idea was to create a logo and slogan for the campaign that would help us communicate our goals of bringing our high school music students to Walt Disney World. I wanted something that would “read” quickly and reinforce two specific ideas: Music and Disney.

The slogan I came up with was “Help us Bring Our Music to the Mouse”. I then thought to reinforce the Disney side of it by using a Disney font, and I came up with a few ideas, most of which were similar to this:


Not bad (IMO), but not great either. It was a start, but we clearly needed something better.

Fortunately, one of our music parents is a very talented graphic artist, and took my early initial sketches and ideas and came up with a bunch of ideas that put mine to shame. Following some discussion and suggestions from the fundraising team she iterated her designs (plussing her designs with each iteration), and eventually created the logo we selected for our campaign:

Music to the Mouse Logo
Designed by Tania Helhoski of BirdDesign. Tania also designed the pyramid diagrams in The Imagineering Pyramid.


I think this logo is a great example of “Read”-ability. The musical mouse head quickly conveys both Music and Disney (the two ideas we wanted to communicate), and the text helps to clarify the message. We plan to use this on various items for our campaign, including raffle tickets, posters, flyers, etc.

Thoughts? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Book Talk at the Southborough Library on August 31


I will be giving a talk about The Imagineering Pyramid on August 31 at 7:00 PM at the Southborough Library.

The event is listed on the Southborough Public Library Events page (posted August 2):

Author Lou Prosperi: Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. Author and former Southborough resident Lou Prosperi will discuss his recent book, “The Imagineering Pyramid: Using Disney Theme Park Design Principles to Develop and Promote Your Creative Ideas.” All are welcome to attend.

It’s also in the library’s event page, and you can find a flyer about the even here.

I plan to have a small number of copies of The Imagineering Pyramid available for sale, and will do a book signing as well.

I grew up in Southborough (Algonquin Regional High School, Class of 1982), and I don’t get back there all that often, so I’m looking forward to visiting, and I’m hoping to see some old friends and classmates while I’m there.

Hope to see you there!

Pyramid Pairings – An Introduction

As I said in my first post, one of the things I want to do with this blog is to address topics that I wasn’t able to cover in The Imagineering Pyramid. One specific topic I want to explore is something I mentioned in in my “what to expect” post and in a recent post about Attention to Detail and Plussing in drum corps – something I call “Pyramid Pairings”.


Pyramid Pairings are specific pairs of Imagineering Pyramid principles and how they work together. For instance, how can you use Transitions and Hidden Mickeys together? How about Forced Perspective and The “it’s a small world” Effect?

The Imagineering Pyramid addresses several of these, but I want to look at how each of the principles pairs with the others in a more systematic way. At one point I considered including an appendix in the book about this, but quickly realized that it could almost be a book by itself. By my count, there are just over 100 pairings that we can look at, so there is a lot of ground to cover.

Some of these pairings will be very straight forward and obvious, such as It All Begins with a Story & Creative Intent or Attention to Detail & Theming. Others will be a bit more challenging, such as pairing Forced Perspective & Hidden Mickeys or Long, Medium, and Close Shots & Kinetics. Wish me luck with this!

In addition to looking at the principles of each pairing intersect and how you can use various pairings in your creative projects, I also hope to provide examples from both inside the parks and beyond the berm of various pairings at work, including examples from the three specific fields discussed in The Imagineering Pyramidgame design, instructional design, and leadership & management.

My plan is to start with looking at how It All Begins with a Story pairs up with each of the other principles in the pyramid. This means the first set of pairings will be:

  • It All Begins with a Story / Creative Intent
  • It All Begins with a Story / Attention to Detail
  • It All Begins with a Story / Theming
  • It All Begins with a Story / Long, Medium, and Close Shots
  • It All Begins with a Story / Wienies
  • It All Begins with a Story / Transitions
  • It All Begins with a Story / Storyboards
  • It All Begins with a Story / Pre-Shows and Post-Shows
  • It All Begins with a Story / Forced Perspective
  • It All Begins with a Story / “Read”-ability
  • It All Begins with a Story / Kinetics
  • It All Begins with a Story / The “it’s a small world” Effect
  • It All Begins with a Story / Hidden Mickeys
  • It All Begins with a Story / Plussing

As I said, I have a lot of ground to cover. Look for the first of these soon!

Thoughts? Tell me what you think in the comments!

My Imagineering Library – Creative Mornings Videos

While most of My Imagineering Library is comprised of books, some of the “items” are in fact online resources, including websites and videos. Two of these are CreativeMornings lectures featuring Imagineers from the Orlando branch of Walt Disney Imagineering.

CreativeMornings is a breakfast lecture series for the creative community. CreativeMornings are organized by talented volunteer hosts and their teams in 152 cities around the world. These talks are also recorded and posted on the CreativeMornings website.

The two Walt Disney Imagineering lectures in my Imagineering Library include:

Walt Disney Imagineering: Jason Surrell, Alex Wright, & Jason Grandt: Jason Surrell, Alex Wright, and Jason Grandt deliver a presentation about Walt Disney Imagineering, including its history, an overview of the Imagineering process, and a question & answer session.(Note: Jason Surrell is no longer with WDI, and now works as a Creative Director for Universal Creative)

Copyright CreativeMornings Orlando

Wyatt Winter: Walt Disney Imagineering: Wyatt Winter explains the creative process during the creation of the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children.

Copyright CreativeMornings Orlando

These are both great resources to help you understand Imagineering and what WDI does. I recommend these videos to anyone interested in learning more about Imagineering.

Thoughts? Tell me what you think in the comments!

My Imagineering Library – Imagineering Field Guide Indices

Most of My Imagineering Library comprises items I’ve either bought or found online, but there are a handful that I actually created myself. I know that may seem odd at first glance, but hear me out.

Some of my favorite Imagineering books are The Imagineering Field Guides by Imagineer Alex Wright. These small pocket guides provide concrete examples of Imagineering principles in practice. Don’t be fooled by their small and simple appearance; they contain a wealth of information about Imagineering, as well as lots of excellent photos and art work. These guides contains many, many references to Imagineering terms and concepts, but finding them can be a challenge, as the books do not include indices. So, as a way to help make these guides even more useful (both to myself and to other Disney researchers),  I decided to create indices for all six of the Imagineering Field Guides.


These indices note every reference to Imagineering terms and concepts, attraction names, Imagineers, and illustrations in each of the guides. After completing six individual indices, I then also combined them into a single master index of all the Imagineering Field Guides. These proved quite helpful when I was looking for examples of specific Imagineering principles while writing The Imagineering Pyramid.

These indices are all available in PDF online:

You also find them on my profile as well as in a public Dropbox folder  (you can also find links to these on the Resources page).

Thoughts? Tell me what you think in the comments!