New Items in My Imagineering Library

I recently added a couple of new items to My Imagineering Library.

The first is The Hidden Mickeys of Walt Disney World by Kevin and Susan Neary. As the title suggests, this book is a guide to Hidden Mickeys at the theme parks, resorts, and other areas of Walt Disney World. I picked this up during our recent trip to Walt Disney World.


I haven’t had a chance to compare this side-by-side with the original Hidden Mickey book by Steven Barrett (which I referenced when writing The Imagineering Pyramid and is a must have for those interested in Hidden Mickeys), but I expect that together they form are a pretty exhaustive look at Hidden Mickeys at Walt Disney World (as least as of when the books were printed).

Another new addition to my Imagineering Library is The Magic Kingdom Storybook, written and illustrated by Imagineer Jason Grandt. I’ve been wanting to pick this up for a while, and planned to buy it at Walt Disney World during our recent visit. Unfortunately, I was not able to find it while there (I wasn’t able to check every shop, but couldn’t find it at either The Emporium on Main Street, U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom, or at the World Of Disney story at Disney Springs). I ended up buying this through the Shop Disney Parks smart phone app.


I’ve only had a chance to flip through this so far, but this book features lots of gorgeous artwork with hidden surprises (or Five-Legged Goats) for fans of the Disney parks.

Take care!

Heading Off to Disney World!

You may recall me posting about the “Help Us Bring Our Music to the Mouse” fundraising campaign for an upcoming trip to Walt Disney World (see this post).

Well, that trip is no longer upcoming – it’s happening today! This week I’ll traveling to Walt Disney World to chaperone a trip with our local high school music department.

Music to the Mouse

The high school marching band will be marching in Magic Kingdom on Friday, and our A Cappella groups will be singing at Disney Springs on Sunday.

Music and Disney Magic – A Perfect Combination!

I may post the occasional picture or short post while I’m there, particularly if I can get good pictures of some the Imagineering Pyramid principles in practice.

Imagineering Process Sneak Peek – An Overview of the Process

This post provides a sneak peek of The Imagineering Process: Using the Disney Theme Park Design Process to Bring Your Creative Ideas to Live.

The “Imagineering Process” is a simplified version of the process Walt Disney Imagineering uses when it designs and builds theme park attractions, resorts, and other venues.

There are seven pieces or stages in the process. Five stages form the core of the process, while the other two serve as Prologue and Epilogue for the process.


The following diagram provides a visual representation of the Imagineering Process. As you can see, the Prologue (Needs, Requirements, and Constraints) leads to the five core stages of the process:

  • Blue Sky
  • Concept Development
  • Design
  • Construction
  • Models

These stages in turn lead to the Epilogue (Openings, Evaluations, and Show Quality Standards).

The book will explore each of these stages in more detail, including how each is practiced by Walt Disney Imagineering as well as how each can applied to your own creative ideas and projects.



Tell me what you think in the comments!

Imagineering Process Preview: The Paradox of Ideas

This post is an excerpt/preview from the Introduction of my next book, The Imagineering Process: Using the Disney Theme Park Design Process to Bring Your Creative Ideas to Life (which I’m currently writing).

I believe ideas hold a unique place in regards to creativity.

Ideas are at the same time the most important and the least important part of any creative project.

I know, that seems like a paradox, but bear with me.

Ideas are the most important part because every creative and innovative project starts with an idea. Good ideas are the basis for all successful creative projects. Consider the following:

  • Without the idea to create “a place where adults and children can have fun together”, there would be no Disneyland (or other Disney parks for that matter)
  • Without the idea to develop a technology to allow the creation of human-like robots in theme park attractions (Audio-Animatronics), we wouldn’t have attractions such as Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, The Carousel of Progress, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, or countless others

And of course, good creative ideas aren’t limited to those related to Disney parks. Some other examples include:

  • Without the idea to design and build a separate ship specifically for the Moon landing, the Apollo program might not ever have succeeded in landing man on the Moon
  • Without the idea to develop a musical adaptation of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, there would be no Wicked (the musical)
  • Without the idea to use hip-hop to tell the story of Alexander Hamilton, there would be no Hamilton: An American Musical.
  • Without the idea to create a Star Wars-based game for my son’s birthday party, my wife and I would have had to entertain 10 young boys all on our own.

Lots of people (myself included) believe in the importance of ideas, and there is no end to the number of books, blogs, and websites that offer tips and techniques to help us “be more creative” or “generate new ideas.” But generating ideas – sometimes also known as either brainstorming or ideation – is not all there is to creativity. It’s important to be sure, but it’s only a part of the challenge of employing our creativity. What’s equally (or perhaps more) important is how we follow through and develop and/or implement our creative ideas.

Put another way, ideas are only a part of being creative, and in some ways (here comes the paradox) they are the least important part. How can that be? The answer is perhaps best expressed by Guy Kawasaki in his November 4, 2004 Forbes article when he writes “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard”

If you talk to people in traditionally “creative” fields (writers, artists, designers, etc.), ideas are never an issue for them. Most have more ideas than they could possibly follow through on in their lifetimes. Generating ideas is the easy part; it’s the execution of those ideas that’s difficult. The real work is in taking ideas and bringing them to life. Even the best ideas in the world can’t execute themselves, and without someone to execute them, even the best ideas in the world have little chance of becoming a reality.

I believe the challenge for many of us lies in finding the right model of how creativity and the creative process works so we can apply it in our own fields. I think there is an assumption that people can apply their own expertise or technical know-how to take their ideas to the next step. And while there may be some truth to that, examples and models of taking an idea and shepherding it through the process of turning that idea into a reality seem to be few and far between.


So where can look for a model or example of the creative process? I think one of the best places to look is Disneyland and other Disney theme parks. More specifically, I believe one of the best models for creativity is found in the design and development of Disney theme parks, a practice better known as Imagineering.

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

New Items in My Imagineering Library

I recently added a couple of new items to My Imagineering Library that I’m pretty excited about.

The first is a copy of Design: Just for Fun by former Imagineer Bob Gurr.


This book was originally published in 2012 in a limited edition (only 2,000 copies of the book were printed). I should have bought a copy then, but held off, thinking it wouldn’t sell out that fast. Wrong! In a very short time the publisher sold out and the only available copies were more than 3x the cover price (it was originally $60, but I couldn’t find a copy for less than $200). Over the years I’d look for copies on Amazon or eBay, but the price from third-party sellers on Amazon kept getting higher and higher (as I write this, prices range from a low $900 to a high of $4,500) and I could never find a copy on eBay.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to check eBay again, and found a signed copy for sale. It wasn’t exactly cheap, but given the third-party prices on Amazon, I realized I might not ever find another copy at a “reasonable” price again and so decided to grab it. This book had been on my wish list for years (literally), and is one of only a handful of books about Imagineering written by former Imagineers that I didn’t have in my library.

The book arrived sealed in plastic and with a certificate of authenticity regarding Bob Gurr’s signature. I haven’t had the time to open it and read it, but I hope to get to it soon.

The second new addition to my Imagineering Library is the Summer 2013 issue of Disney twenty-three magazine, featuring a tribute to Walt Disney Imagineering in commemoration of WDI’s 60th anniversary.


I had been buying the magazine at Barnes & Noble but when I went to the store to find this issue, it wasn’t there. It turned out that this was the first issue released after D23 (The Official Disney Fan Club) stopped making the magazine available in stores and made it exclusive to D23 Gold Members. Prior to this time D23 sold back issues, so I tried that route, only to discover that they stopped that as well.

I’ve been searching for a copy of this issue since then, checking eBay every few months to see if anyone was selling.I got lucky a couple of weeks ago, when I happened to look for it again on eBay (the same day I found the copy of Design: Just For Fun) and found a copy for sale. A few clicks later and it was on its way! Only a few more issues and I’ll have a complete collection!


Podcast Interviews, Part 3

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently did a few podcast interviews about The Imagineering Pyramid.The last of these went live today.


My interview with Howie DiBlasi and Ryan Boeckman on the My Disney Class podcast is available here (it’s also available on iTunes and Stitcher). I think the interview went pretty well.

I hope you check it out. If you do, please let me know what you think.