8 Principles of Imagineering

Walt Disney defined imagineering as the blending of creative imagination with technical know-how. In my previous article, Keep Moving Forward, I discussed why we at Spring see ourselves as imagineers. In this article, I want to briefly list the eight principles of imagineering as outlined by Alex Wright in The Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland:

1. Area Development: The interstitial spaces between the attractions, restaurants, and shops. This includes landscaping, architecture, propping, show elements, and special enhancements intended to expand the experience.

2. Blue Sky: The early stages in the idea-generation process when anything is possible. There are not yet any considerations taken into account that might rein in the creative process. At this point, the sky’s the limit!

3. Brainstorm: A gathering for the purpose of generating as many ideas as possible in the shortest time possible. We hold many brainstorming sessions at WDI [Walt Disney Imagineering], always looking for the best ideas. The rules include remembering that there is no such thing as a bad idea and that nothing should stifle the flow of ideas.

4. Dark Ride: A term often used to describe the charming Fantasyland attractions, among others, housed more or less completely inside a show building, which allows for greater isolation of show elements and light control, as needed.

5. Elevation: A drawing of a true frontal view of an object—usually a building—often drawn from multiple sides, eliminating the perspective that you would see in the real world, for clarity in the design and to lead construction activities.

6. Kinetics: Movement and motion in a scene that give it life and energy. This can come from moving vehicles, active signage, changes in lighting, special effects, or even hanging banners or flags that move as the wind blows.

7. Plussing: A word derived from Walt’s penchant for always trying to make an idea better. Imagineers are continually trying to plus work, even after it’s ‘finished’.

8. Show: Everything we put ‘onstage’ in a Disney park. Walt believed that everything we put out for the Guests in our parks was part of a big show, so much of our terminology originated in the show business world. With that in mind, ‘show’ becomes for us a very broad term that includes just about anything our Guests see, hear, smell, or come in contact with during their visit to any of our parks or resorts.

As you can see, these principles of imagineering clearly apply to a Disney theme park, but how do they apply to the world of business? How do Spring imagineers incorporate these techniques and what are their benefits? In my next article, I will begin discussing Spring’s application of Disney Imagineering principles and the advantage we feel they bring to our business.

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