The first is a presentation entitled “Disneyland Then, Now, and Forever: What Disney Parks Can Teach Us About Technical Communication” which provides an overview of some of the practices, principles, and processes used by Walt Disney Imagineering in the design and construction of Disney parks and attractions, and how those practices, principles, and processes can be applied to technical communication and information development to help us create effective and engaging experiences for our audiences.
I enjoyed the conference, met a lot of new folks, and reconnected with some people I hadn’t seen in quite a while.
Both of my sessions went really well (though I ended up running over time on both). The feedback I received was great overall, and I may have arranged for opportunities to present at future conferences and events.
You can find PDF versions of these presentations using the links below:
Imagineering and Technical Communication: A Match Made in Disneyland
Session 1: Imagineering and Technical Communication: A Match Made in Disneyland
Walt Disney Imagineering is the division of The Walt Disney Company responsible for designing and building Disney theme parks—engineering the magic that millions of experience each year at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and other Disney parks around the world. This presentation explores an “Imagineering Pyramid” of 15 theme park design principles, and how those principles can be applied to technical communication and information development to help us create effective and engaging experiences for our audiences.
Session 2: Designing Your Experience the Walt Disney World Way
From the moment you enter a Disney park—whether it’s at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or other Disney resorts around the world—you are immersed in an experience specifically designed to transport you to another world. In the words of Walt Disney, “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.” But how does Disney create such incredible experiences? Through a process called Imagineering—”the blending of creative imagination and technical know-how.”
This presentation explores the process Disney’s Imagineers use to design and build Disney parks and attractions, and how technical communicators can apply that same process when designing engaging and effective user experiences for our audiences. This session will also include an interactive workshop where we apply the Imagineering Process to an example experience offered by one of the attendees, so come prepared to participate and share your ideas.
I’m looking forward to these sessions as they provide an opportunity to talk about how to apply the ideas in the Imagineering Toolbox to a new field.
My final draft of The Imagineering Processcontained more than 180 endnotes. During the editing process, my publisher felt, and I agreed, that extensive endnotes weren’t ideal for the audience we were aiming for, and so we cut the endnotes from the final published version of the book. However, I thought there might be some readers who might be interested to see the endnotes, and so I’m making them available here.
As I explain in The Imagineering Pyramid, the interesting thing about Hidden Mickeys to me is that once you find one, you never see it the same way again. They are a fun and captivating way in which the Imagineers engage their audience.
During our recent trip to Walt Disney World, we found a handful of Hidden Mickeys, some of which we’d seen before, some of which were new to us. We don’t go out of our way to look for them, but if / when any of us spot one we make sure to share what we found.
So, which Hidden Mickeys did we see?
At Magic Kingdom we caught the plates on the banquet table in the ballroom scene in the Haunted Mansion.
At Animal Kingdom, I didn’t get a chance to see my all-time favorite Hidden Mickey in the Expedition Everest standby queue (we used a Fast Pass and single rider), but we found this one in the Kali River Rapids queue:
At Epcot, we saw Hidden Mickeys on a handful of of attractions, including:
In the Theming chapter of The Imagineering Pyramid, I wrote about the use of theming at the resorts at Walt Disney World, specifically the use of a filmstrip motif at Disney’s All Star Movies Resort.
I think the use of this filmstrip motif is a great example of theming at work outside of the theme parks. When the book was published I wasn’t able to include pictures of the ways in which the filmstrip motif is used at the resort. Fortunately, my family and I stayed at this resort during our recent trip to Walt Disney World, and I was able to get a couple of pictures to show how the Imagineers used this motif in the design of the resort. Let’s take a look.
First, the filmstrip can be seen on the backs of the chairs in the food court:
The filmstrip motif is also used on the hand railings on the upper floors of the resort buildings. These are further themed with items appropriate to the specific buildings (Fantasia, Toy Story, Herbie the Love Bug, etc. We were staying on one of the Love Bug buildings.).
One other use of this motif is in the design of tiles in the bathroom showers. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a good picture of those during our visit.