Most of the Disney dreams come to life at Glendale in California, before enchanting guests the world over, whether in Paris, Hong-Kong or Tokyo. The discreet workshops at 1401 Flower Street, the headquarters of Walt Disney Imagineering, where most of the 1500 employees with 140 different specialisations evolve, are jealously guarded. A journey to the world of magicians unlike any others.
A historical expertise
They are engineers, designers, architects, writers, directors or analysts. But all the Imagineers work with one some objective: to imagine, design and build the parks, hotels, ships and all other entertainment entities for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. Walt Disney Imagineering was founded in December 1952 to create the first theme park, Disneyland®. It is a universe in which imagination and creativity combine with the most state-of-the-art technologies to deliver unforgettable experiences. This subtle combination of art and science was conceived by Walt Disney himself, who encouraged his employees to constantly push back the limits of entertainment and the way of telling stories. The adventure goes on today, as we see in the case at Disneyland® Paris with Ratatouille: l’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy!
Innovation, an unremitting ambition
Walt Disney Imagineering is also the Development and Creation branch of The Walt Disney Company. It has applied for more than 100 patents in the fields of mechanical and audio-video systems, of special effects, interactive technologies and of optic fibres. This has placed them on the front line as innovators in the entertainment world, in particular with the famous Audio-Animatronics (which we can see at Pirates of the Caribbean or Phantom Manor) or the first system of trackless guided vehicles which inspired Ratatouille: l’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy. Beyond the numerous rewards WDI has received over the years, including more than 40 from the prestigious Themed Entertainment Association, the success of this trail-blazing entity rests on its dynamism and the links of a global and international team, dispatched to the four corners of the world to every Disney destination. During an ‘open-doors’ event for a happy few we were able to approach the Imagineers in Glendale, where the first sketches and the steering of the Ratatouille project came to life!