Imagineer Podcast
Splash Mountain (Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland)

Splash Mountain (Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland)

February 20, 2021

Splash Mountain, which first opened at Disneyland Park in 1989, then at Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland in 1992, has been an iconic part of the Magic Kingdom mountain range for decades. Conceived by Disney Legend Tony Baxter, Splash Mountain takes guests into the colorful animated world of Song of the South, featuring characters like Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear, and Brer Fox, and including songs like "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" and "Ev'rybody Has a Laughing Place". With about 10 minutes of ride time and thrilling log flume ride sequences, it's easy to see why Splash Mountain has been a Disney fan favorite for over 30 years.

In today's episode we'll explore the history of Splash Mountain, including Michael Eisner's influence in bringing this project to life. We'll also discuss some of the details of the attraction you might not have known before, and I'll take you with me for a binaural audio ride-through of the attraction (recorded in 2019). We'll also talk about the future of Splash Mountain with Disney's plans to reimagine the attraction into an experience themed around the Disney animated film, The Princess and the Frog, as well as my personal opinions about this change.

Whether you frequent Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, or all of the above, what do you love most about Splash Mountain? Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

Special thanks to our Hero Patreon members!

  • Crystal W
  • Thomas N

Enjoy the show!

Imagineering Pandora – The World of Avatar (Part 2)

Imagineering Pandora – The World of Avatar (Part 2)

February 6, 2021

Pandora – The World of Avatar raised the bar for immersive themed lands when it opened at Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World in 2017. Between Avatar Flight of Passage, Na'vi River Journey, Satu'li Canteen, Pongu Pongu, and of course the land itself, travelers visiting the Valley of Mo'ara (courtesy of Alpha Centauri Expeditions, per the story) are transported to an alien world that feels all too real. That's thanks to the countless Imagineers who put years of work into creating the land's attractions. While many think of Imagineer Joe Rohde or even Director James Cameron while exploring the land (virtually or in person), there are countless others who contributed to the land's design, including my two special guests on today's episode: Adam and Rebecca.

Adam, a former Set Decorator for Walt Disney Imagineering, and Rebecca, a former Scenic Artist working for a contractor, helped to literally set the stage for Pandora – The World of Avatar. From hand-weaving artwork at Satu'li Canteen to setting in place the tiniest details in the Flight of Passage queue, Adam and Rebecca helped bring the story of Pandora into the real world. In this two-part episode, we'll discuss how to land a job at Walt Disney Imagineering, reveal what the day-to-day is like for most Imagineers and contractors working on a project, and of course share the stories that contributed to the many details around the land itself. I'd like to extend a huge thank you to both Adam and Rebecca for lending their time and stories to this two-part episode!

For part 2, I'd love to know which detail you found most interesting or inspiring from our discussion. Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

Special thanks to our Hero Patreon members!

  • Crystal W
  • Thomas N

Enjoy the show!

Imagineering Pandora – The World of Avatar (Part 1)

Imagineering Pandora – The World of Avatar (Part 1)

January 30, 2021

Pandora – The World of Avatar raised the bar for immersive themed lands when it opened at Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World in 2017. Between Avatar Flight of Passage, Na'vi River Journey, Satu'li Canteen, Pongu Pongu, and of course the land itself, travelers visiting the Valley of Mo'ara (courtesy of Alpha Centauri Expeditions, per the story) are transported to an alien world that feels all too real. That's thanks to the countless Imagineers who put years of work into creating the land's attractions. While many think of Imagineer Joe Rohde or even Director James Cameron while exploring the land (virtually or in person), there are countless others who contributed to the land's design, including my two special guests on today's episode: Adam and Rebecca.

Adam, a former Set Decorator for Walt Disney Imagineering, and Rebecca, a former Scenic Artist working for a contractor, helped to literally set the stage for Pandora – The World of Avatar. From hand-weaving artwork at Satu'li Canteen to setting in place the tiniest details in the Flight of Passage queue, Adam and Rebecca helped bring the story of Pandora into the real world. In this two-part episode, we'll discuss how to land a job at Walt Disney Imagineering, reveal what the day-to-day is like for most Imagineers and contractors working on a project, and of course share the stories that contributed to the many details around the land itself. I'd like to extend a huge thank you to both Adam and Rebecca for lending their time and stories to this two-part episode!

For part 1, I'd love to know what you enjoyed most from this conversation. Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

Enjoy the show!

Mary Blair (Interview with Niece, Maggie Richardson)

Mary Blair (Interview with Niece, Maggie Richardson)

January 16, 2021

Mary Blair is an iconic Walt Disney Imagineer and Disney Animator, a prolific artist, and a celebrated fashionista. Starting at Disney in 1940, Mary worked on iconic films like Cinderella, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland. She also created the unique look of "it's a small world" for the 1964 World's Fair in New York (later moved to Disneyland) and designed the Grand Canyon Concourse mural at Disney's Contemporary Resort among many other pieces of fine art. Famous for her blending of unique color combinations, Mary's modern style redefined Disney's artistic approach, influenced fashion, and impacted pop culture. A force to be reckoned with, Mary is certainly a legend in the world of Disney.

Since Mary has unfortunately passed, in this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with Mary's niece, Maggie, about her aunt's life and career. Be sure to check out Maggie's website dedicated to Mary Blair's life, https://magicofmaryblair.com.

Which of Mary's many pieces is your favorite? Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

Enjoy the show!

Best Meals at Walt Disney World with Lou Mongello

Best Meals at Walt Disney World with Lou Mongello

January 2, 2021

Lou Mongello has set the gold standard for Disney podcasts. He is not only a podcast host but also an author, entrepreneur, speaker, and lifelong Disney fan. His wildly popular show, WDW Radio, is not only well-known in the Disney community but has also been named the Best Travel Podcast for 9 consecutive years. Lou’s audio tours, Walt Disney World Trivia Book, 102 Ways to Save Money for and at Walt Disney World Book, and his newest book, “The Disney Interviews Volume 1”, will delight and educate any Disney fan, whether you’re new to the Disney community or a lifelong fanatic. His mentorship and consulting opportunities through LouMongello.com, including his Momentum Weekend Workshop and Retreat in Walt Disney World, will help anybody turn what you love into what you do. Perhaps most moving of all, Lou’s Dream Team Project, has helped to raise more than $350,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America. Lou’s mantra to “Choose the Good” is one that he seems to exemplify through his own work.

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with Lou about his podcast and his new book. We then spend most of the episode talking about something we both love: food at Walt Disney World. In particular, we count down our top 10 favorite meals at Walt Disney World, including options you can find at Disney Springs, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and a few Walt Disney World Resort hotels.

Be sure to follow Lou on Social Media, download his podcast, and check out his new book:

What's your favorite meal at Walt Disney World? Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

Enjoy the show!

Brian Collins (Walt Disney Imagineer, Show Writer)

Brian Collins (Walt Disney Imagineer, Show Writer)

December 26, 2020

"As a former Walt Disney Imagineer, Brian helped create the magic for some of the world’s most beloved  attractions. At other times in his career, he has produced work for a who’s-who list of corporations, as well as small entrepreneurial ventures. A passionate educator, Brian has served on the faculty of several schools. His deep understanding of new and emerging technologies and, most importantly, how they apply to business, has  helped fuel his unique career. Given that, a “normal” day for Brian might include exploring augmented reality,  synthetic environments, blockchain, or some other exotic “sci-fi” tech that’s out there…or on the way.  

Now, as a sought-after Innovation Consultant through his practice known as The Brainstorm Institute, he  combines his design-thinking skills with a strategic business acumen. In addition, Brian formed  WDWithMe.com to further leverage his background as a Disney Imagineer and writes a monthly column for  WDW Magazine. An accomplished speaker, Brian is often interviewed on podcasts and asked to deliver  keynote addresses, lectures and workshops or other corporate presentations.  

Brian earned his Master’s degree in Marketing from Webster University where he was a Distinguished  Graduate. His Bachelor’s degree was awarded by Texas Tech University. He is also an officer in the United States Air Force Auxiliary (Civil Air Patrol), active in his synagogue, and has served on the Boards of Directors for the Central Florida STEM Education Council, Forward Thinking Initiatives and the Central Florida Children’s Safety Village."

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with Brian about his career at Walt Disney Imagineering and asking him questions from Imagineer Podcast listeners.

Be sure to connect with Brian online:

What other questions would you like to ask a Disney Imagineer? Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

 

Enjoy the show!

Never Been Answered Questions (Volume 1): Star Wars and Marvel

Never Been Answered Questions (Volume 1): Star Wars and Marvel

December 12, 2020

In this round table episode, we'll answer some clever and challenging questions that merge the Star Wars and Marvel universes. For example, we'll kick things off by asking if a lightsaber could cut through Captain America's shield. With about a dozen questions to answer, we'll put our Star Wars and Marvel knowledge to the test, and I have the perfect group of friends to help me answer them all.

How would you answer the questions we presented in this episode? What other challenging questions would you add to this list? Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

Enjoy the show!

Disney Family Memories: Stories from the 1964 World’s Fair, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland

Disney Family Memories: Stories from the 1964 World’s Fair, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland

November 28, 2020

Disney vacations in my family are a tradition, a legacy that began long before I was born. Since the time my parents were young children, they have been visiting Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and even the 1964 World's Fair. After I was born, my family continued the tradition of visiting the Disney Parks and Resorts, which inevitably led to my love for all things Disney, my decision to become a Disney Cast Member, and my efforts to start Imagineer Podcast in my post-Cast Member days.

In this episode, I gather around the [virtual] table with my Mom and Uncles to hear the Disney stories from their childhood and reminisce about our Disney adventures in modern times. My hope is you'll find these stories to be heartwarming and reflective of your own family traditions, whether those traditions involve Disney or not.

What are your Disney family traditions? Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

 

Enjoy the show!

A Tribute to Disney Cast Members

A Tribute to Disney Cast Members

November 26, 2020

If you've been to any Disney Park or Resort, you know that Disney Cast Members are the ones who truly make the magic. From designing and building the places we know and love to operating and maintaining those Disney places on a daily basis, both on stage interacting with Guests and behind the scenes, Cast Members are the fuel that keeps the Disney magic alive. This year more than ever, I felt that the Disney Cast Members needed reminding of how much we love and cherish what they do for us every day. As a former Cast Member, my heart breaks for those who are no longer making magic and am hopeful that they will be able to return in 2021.

In this bonus episode, we honor Disney Cast Members through heartwarming stories submitted by listeners like you. We'll go through about a dozen of these stories as a way of thanking the wonderful Disney Cast.

What is your favorite Disney Cast Member memory (as a Cast Member or as a Guest)? Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

 Enjoy the show!
Rolly Crump (Disney Legend, Imagineer, Animator)

Rolly Crump (Disney Legend, Imagineer, Animator)

November 14, 2020

Rolly Crump is a retired Walt Disney Imagineer, Disney Animator, and Disney Legend who began at The Walt Disney Studios in 1952. After working on classic films like Peter Pan, 101 Dalmatians, and Sleeping Beauty, Rolly was recruited by Walt Disney to join WED Enterprises (now called Walt Disney Imagineering). From 1959 until the early 1970's, Rolly worked on projects for the 1964 World's Fair (most notably "it's a small world" with Mary Blair), Disneyland, and the Magic Kingdom. Rolly left the company to work on some non-Disney projects and then returned to help support the development of Epcot. Rolly also has his own autobiography called "It's Kind of a Cute Story" and has recently been featured in The Imagineering Story on Disney+.

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with Rolly about his life, career, and legacy.

Which of Rolly's many contributions to Disney do you admire the most? Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

Special thanks to our Imagineer Society "Hero" Members:
  • Jesse Park
  • Jessica Brand

Enjoy the show!

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