“The Imagineering Story” on Disney+ Will Blast You Out of your Living Room

TV Review



“The Imagineering Story” is a magical journey that will transport you to you favorite Disney theme parks.

Zion Hendley, Staff Writer

Documentaries in school are typically known to be boring and dreadful, leaving us asleep at our desks, but “The Imagineering Story” on Disney+ kept me reeled in with its details and history behind all of the magic behind one of my favorite places in the world: Disney World, making me reconsider how I feel about the documentary genre in general.

The “Imagineering Story” is a six episode documentary series that takes viewers on the journey of Walt Disney theme parks around the world.  Featuring interviews with former “imagineers,” as they are called, and executives, the series gives us an all-access pass behind the scenes, revealing their experience working on their projects, sometimes even alongside Disney himself.  It locks in on key moments in Disney’s history while also going into the depths of blueprints to reveal what may come in the future. 

I have been to Disney World three times in my life, most recently this past September.  Each time, Disney has been able to amaze me with new attractions and its beautiful sights and sounds.  The insanely specific details in Cinderella’s castle, the joyful parades full of characters throughout the day, then the bright, colorful lights that fill the land as the sun drops and darkness arrives. The parks have a completely different atmosphere than any other amusement or theme park, living up to being their moniker as the“Most Magical Place on Earth.”  

The documentary begins by detailing the history of DisneyLand in California.  From Walt Disney’s first thought of building the park with the inspiration of making a fun place for him to spend time with his daughters to the first layer of cement placed at the site, the first episode documents Disney’s brainstorming, blueprints, and smaller models that were later built into the real thing.

Although he had gone three times over his budget and had to sell his home, Disney never lost faith in his dream and kept going.

Just two months after the grand opening, Disneyland had already reached its one millionth visitor despite all of the bad remarks it was receiving from the press since the park was so rushed and attractions were unfinished.

I was inspired by Disney’s mindset as he strived to make his dream into a reality.  He understood that the road to building his dream would not be easy, but he stayed consistent with his positive attitude.  As the press continued to bash his park he went on to say “Disneyland will never be completed.  It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world. It is something that will never be finished.”  

The imagineers, the heart and soul of Disney parks, are the people that build and “imagine” everything you see at each and every park.  They take simple ideas and enhance them to become attractions that people all over the world come to ride and experience.

The creation of Splash Mountain really epitomizes the creative minds of the imagineers.  The Ride Country Bear Jamboree became old and outdated so they created the Splash Mountain ride with somewhat of the same concept but added a story line and thrill.  The imagineers used the animatronics from the Country Bear ride, updated them, then placed them in the new ride along with adding other animatronics along with it.  

I was most fascinated by the operations of the imagineers, especially watching them create and build some of the rides that I actually got to go on.  

As the years went on, technology advanced which meant that the imagineers had more toys to play with.  More and more projects were completed, but more and more projects kept rolling in.

Imagineers created an advanced audio animatronic Mr. Potato Head that interacted with guests.  It would identify guests as they waited in line to ride Toy Story Mania and tell jokes about them.  The eyes on Mr. Potato Head were screens and every body part could move on him.  My jaw dropped when Mr. Potato head pulled out his ear and put it back into his head like the imagineers programmed him to do.

I am a huge fan of how much Disney valued the thoughts and ideas of others by always keeping an open mind.  Even though he passed away, this tradition remained all throughout all of Disney’s years.  If one person had something to bring to the table, all others listened and tried to find ways to help.  The imagineers remained one big team despite new presidents and owners.  

The idea of giving a behind the scenes look at the Imagineers and what they do brought more value to Disney.  The authenticity and creativity behind every square inch of each park wouldn’t be made possible without them.  Engineering and imagining combined with Walt Disney’s dream made places that will impact generation after generation.  The Imagineering Story showcases the hard work and brains behind all of the magic.