Imagineer Podcast
Theron Skees Bonus Q&A (Walt Disney Imagineer: Disney Springs, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Parks)

Theron Skees Bonus Q&A (Walt Disney Imagineer: Disney Springs, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Parks)

June 5, 2021

Theron Skees spent 23 years at Walt Disney Imagineering as an Art Director and Creative Portfolio Executive. His work includes projects at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland. Theron also led the redesign of Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World to Disney Springs, and he led the Imagineering team at Disney Cruise Line. Theron’s portfolio in themed entertainment is one that serves as an inspiration for aspiring designers, Imagineers, and anyone looking to turn a dream into a reality. 

You can follow Theron and learn more about his work at the links below:

In this bonus episode, Theron and I answer questions on Instagram Live about his career at Walt Disney Imagineering. This episode includes a lot of stories and advice not heard on our previous episode, including how to become an Imagineer, how to overcome constructive criticism, what to do if your leaders change their mind about a project, and an idea Theron had with his friend Jason Surrell to bring the world of gaming to theme parks.

What other questions would you like to ask Theron? 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:

Be sure to check out our sponsor WDW Magazine, the premier magazine focused on Walt Disney World, available in print or digital.

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!

  • Thomas N
  • Devan L
  • Katelyn F

Enjoy the show!

Theron Skees (Walt Disney Imagineer: Disney Springs, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Parks)

Theron Skees (Walt Disney Imagineer: Disney Springs, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Parks)

May 29, 2021

Theron Skees spent 23 years at Walt Disney Imagineering as an Art Director and Creative Portfolio Executive. His work includes projects at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland. Theron also led the redesign of Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World to Disney Springs, and he led the Imagineering team at Disney Cruise Line. Theron’s portfolio in themed entertainment is one that serves as an inspiration for aspiring designers, Imagineers, and anyone looking to turn a dream into a reality.

You can follow Theron and learn more about his work at the links below:

In this episode, Theron and I chat about his career at Walt Disney Imagineering. A couple of my favorite stories include an in-depth discussion about Disney Springs (the conversation will give you a greater appreciation for this part of Walt Disney World) and Theron's major contributions to the retooling of Tower of Terror.

Which of Theron's many contributions to Disney 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:

Be sure to check out our sponsor WDW Magazine, the premier magazine focused on Walt Disney World, available in print or digital.

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!

  • Thomas N
  • Devan L
  • Katelyn F

Enjoy the show!

Disney Listener Questions (Walt Disney World’s 50th, Disney Snacks, Live Action Remakes, and More)

Disney Listener Questions (Walt Disney World’s 50th, Disney Snacks, Live Action Remakes, and More)

May 15, 2021

Imagineer Podcast listeners like you will often send me questions about Disney's past, present, and future. Whether it's a question about Walt Disney World, Disneyland, the international Disney Parks, or even upcoming films for Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, or Pixar, I try to answer as many as I can. Once in a while, that means opening up my Instagram Live to answer questions in an open forum. In late February 2021, I opened up my Instagram Live for a Disney Q&A and recorded the discussion to be posted here.

In this listener Q&A, we'll discuss my favorite Disneyland ride, Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary, upcoming changes to Epcot, Disney snacks, relaxing spots at Disney, my thoughts about Disney's live action remakes, and much more.

What other questions would you like me to answer? 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:

Be sure to check out our sponsor WDW Magazine, the premier magazine focused on Walt Disney World, available in print or digital.

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!

  • Thomas N
  • Devan L

Enjoy the show!

Scott Wolf - Part 2 (Harriet Burns, Golden Horseshoe, Disney History)

Scott Wolf - Part 2 (Harriet Burns, Golden Horseshoe, Disney History)

May 1, 2021

Scott Wolf’s official Disney work includes everything from the production team of Disney' original “DuckTales” and “TaleSpin” animated TV series to writing 700+ online articles about Disney history for the Disney Archives’ D23 website. His Disney photography has appeared in numerous books, newspapers and other publications, including two of his own Disney-authorized photo books, featuring his favorite subject, the small details of the Disney parks. He has been hired by various departments within The Walt Disney Company for his knowledge of Disney history, much of which stems from interviews he’s personally recorded with those who have been an important part of Disney history.

Scott is also the historian behind Mouse Clubhouse and the amazing YouTube video series Keeping the Magic Alive (I adore this content and have learned so much from Scott's videos).

In this episode, Scott and I finish our story about Walt Disney in Paris, talk about Imagineer Harriet Burns, discuss the history of the Golden Horseshoe at Disneyland, and talk broadly about Disney history.

What did you enjoy most from part two of 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:

Be sure to check out our sponsor WDW Magazine, the premier magazine focused on Walt Disney World, available in print or digital.

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!

  • Thomas N
  • Devan L

Enjoy the show!

Scott Wolf - Part 1 (Duck Tales, Disneyland Ambassadors, Robert Sherman, Walt Disney)

Scott Wolf - Part 1 (Duck Tales, Disneyland Ambassadors, Robert Sherman, Walt Disney)

April 24, 2021

Scott Wolf’s official Disney work includes everything from the production team of Disney' original “DuckTales” and “TaleSpin” animated TV series to writing 700+ online articles about Disney history for the Disney Archives’ D23 website. His Disney photography has appeared in numerous books, newspapers and other publications, including two of his own Disney-authorized photo books, featuring his favorite subject, the small details of the Disney parks. He has been hired by various departments within The Walt Disney Company for his knowledge of Disney history, much of which stems from interviews he’s personally recorded with those who have been an important part of Disney history.

Scott is also the historian behind Mouse Clubhouse and the amazing YouTube video series Keeping the Magic Alive (I adore this content and have learned so much from Scott's videos).

In this episode, Scott and I have a blast talking about his work at Disney (from TV production to photography and working with the Disney Archives and D23). We also chat about the Disneyland Ambassador program, some stories about Walt, and how Scott became friends with Robert Sherman. We also begin a discussion about Imagineer Harriet Burns.

What did you enjoy most from part one of 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:

Be sure to check out our sponsor WDW Magazine, the premier magazine focused on Walt Disney World, available in print or digital.

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!

  • Thomas N
  • Devan L

Enjoy the show!

Kevin Rafferty: Walt Disney Imagineer from Epcot to Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Kevin Rafferty: Walt Disney Imagineer from Epcot to Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

April 10, 2021

Kevin Rafferty just retired from Walt Disney Imagineering on April 1 after more than 40 years at Disney. Kevin's work includes some of your favorite attractions: Cars Land, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Tower of Terror, Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Test Track, Mickey's Philharmagic, Toy Story Mania, and Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway (which was Kevin's final project at Disney). After 42 years at Imagineering, Kevin has a lot to be proud of, and his legacy will certainly be remembered and enjoyed for generations.

Kevin is also the author of his autobiography, "Magic Journey: My Fantastical Walt Disney Imagineering Career", which you can purchase online or at your local bookstore. It's one of those books that should be on every Disney fan's shelf and one that contains so many incredible stories behind your favorite Disney attractions.

In this episode, I have the honor of chatting with Kevin about his favorite project at Imagineering, where he would take Walt if Walt were still alive today, what he's loved most about working at Imagineering, and how he plans to spend his retirement.

Which of Kevin's many projects 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:

Be sure to check out our sponsor WDW Magazine, the premier magazine focused on Walt Disney World, available in print or digital.

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!

  • Thomas N

Enjoy the show!

Tom K. Morris: 35 Years at Walt Disney Imagineering

Tom K. Morris: 35 Years at Walt Disney Imagineering

April 3, 2021

Tom K. Morris, former Creative Development Executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, led an impressive 35-year career with WED. Working at Walt Disney Imagineering from 1980 until 2016, Tom helped to develop attractions like Journey Into Imagination, Star Tours, Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Paris, and Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park. Tom also served as an executive producer for Hong Kong Disneyland, and he helped develop concepts for attractions like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster: Starring Aerosmith and DisneyQuest. Beyond his role in Imagineering, Tom is also a lifelong Disney fan and a fellow Disney historian.

In this episode, I have the honor of chatting with Tom about his early days at Disneyland, his transition to Walt Disney Imagineering (still known as WED at the time), some of the classic attractions he helped to develop, and his new books, which are currently in development.

Be sure to follow Tom on Social Media.

Which of Tom's many projects 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

Be sure to check out our sponsor WDW Magazine, the premier magazine focused on Walt Disney World, available in print or digital.

Special thanks to our Hero Patreon members!

  • Thomas N

Enjoy the show!

Kilimanjaro Safaris (Walt’s Dream at Disney’s Animal Kingdom)

Kilimanjaro Safaris (Walt’s Dream at Disney’s Animal Kingdom)

March 20, 2021

Kilimanjaro Safaris opened at Walt Disney World on Earth Day 1998 (after a soft opening that spring). As the signature attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Kilimanjaro Safaris is Walt Disney's dream come to life. As a lover of animals and nature, Walt originally intended for Disneyland's Jungle Cruise to feature live animals, but it just wasn't possible at the time. Kilimanjaro Safaris might have been Walt's favorite attraction. With about three dozen unique species of African animals who are free to roam within a handful of ecosystems, authentic safari trucks that have been converted into eco-friendly vehicles, a rich storyline that continues into Harambe Village, live Cast Member narratives, conservation messages, cultural motifs, and a land size greater than Magic Kingdom Park, Kilimanjaro Safaris might just be the most impressive attraction at any Disney Park.

As a former Cast Member on this attraction, I know Kilimanjaro Safaris better than any other and am incredibly excited to share this knowledge with you. In today's episode, we'll explore the history of this attraction, including its rich backstory (along with Harambe Village's backstory), history, detail, safety considerations, and fun facts. We'll also discuss its ties to Walt Disney, and I'll take you with me for a binaural audio ride-through of the attraction (recorded in 2019).

What do you love most about Kilimanjaro Safaris? 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:

Be sure to check out our sponsor WDW Magazine, the premier magazine focused on Walt Disney World, available in print or digital.

Thanks to Share a Dream Come True YouTube channel for letting us borrow the audio from their Kilimanjaro Safaris video (be sure to watch the full video to see the original storyline).

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!

Best Disney Scents (Smells at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line)

Best Disney Scents (Smells at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line)

March 6, 2021

The smells at the Disney Parks and Resorts make for some of the most emotional memories on a Disney Vacation. Whether we're visiting Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, or any other Disney destination, what we smell is not only memorable but also completely intentional. Whether it's the savory smell of popcorn walking down Main Street USA, the soothing smell of lavender in a Disney Resort lobby, the musty smell of dust at the Haunted Mansion, or the sweet smell of pie at Mickey's Philharmagic, Disney knows that our olfactory senses are our strongest. The scents at Disney are meant to immerse us into a new world and evoke specific emotions, which is why Disney spends a great deal of time matching the right scent to each part of an attraction, store, restaurant, hotel, or land. It's also why most Disney fans recall these smells so fondly, even those that are sometimes unintentional.

In today's episode we'll explore our favorite smells at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line. We'll also discuss the reasons we picked each smell and why we feel that the power of scent makes for some of our most emotional Disney memories.

Joining me on today's podcast are Philander (you can follow him on Instagram @philanderc85) and a new guest, Lisa DiNoto-Glassner. Lisa is not only the mastermind behind The Castle Run (follow her on Instagram @thecastlerunner) but also the genius who brought us Core Memory Candles. Friends, if you're missing the smells at Disney, please be sure to give Core Memory Candles a try. As a lifelong Disney fan, I have never been this impressed with Disney-inspired candles (yes, that includes those big name companies you're thinking of right now). I light a Core Memory Candle just about every single day and will continue to endorse Lisa's candles at no cost to her. I am a huge fan! You can see how much I love these candles in one of my YouTube videos. The Grand, Ocean Flight, Fall of Rome, Castillo Del Morro and Riviera are just a few of my favorites. Try and I promise you won't be disappointed!

To turn the conversation over to you, which smells at Disney do you love 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:

Be sure to check out our sponsor WDW Magazine, the premier magazine focused on Walt Disney World, available in print or digital.

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!

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:

Be sure to check out our sponsor WDW Magazine, the premier magazine focused on Walt Disney World, available in print or digital.

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!

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