Daily report: Visiting Disney Imagineering

After Casper's BBQ yesterday and yet another night out in Hollywood for some, today - The Last Day - started off pretty early. While having breakfast at around 7:30, we were getting ready to go to our next company visit. Our last company visit. We hopped on an arranged bus that seemed to take us to a business area somewhere between Glendale and Burbank, just north of Los Angeles. As the bus entered the area and eventually came to a stop, we were starting to wonder if this was the right place to get out.

Surrounded by discrete buildings and moderate architecture, it was here that we were expecting to meet the folks of Disney Imagineering. Though as opposed to most of the previous visits, the company name, or even any hint of the Walt Disney Company was nowhere to be found. That is, until we saw the obvious Mickey Mouse antenna toppers on passing cars and little signs that mentioned a Mickey Mouse shuttle service. After a little wait outside we entered the Disney Imagineering building, and despite it's discrete look on the outside, inside it became immediately clear that this was the right place after all.

We were guided to the demonstration room where we were given a short introduction on Disney Imagineering, notably their purpose and their way of working within the boundaries of the Walt Disney Company. Indeed, these are the people behind the great Disney theme parks all over the world in every way possible. The introduction was followed by a brief demonstration of their latest Pirates of the Caribbean multiplayer kids game with most of us playing against (or with) each other.

To our surprise, we were introduced to Lucky, a proud piece of Disney Imagineering's animatronics in the shape of a dinosaur which was cleverly hidden behind a curtain. Lucky could do impressively natural movements and was previously used in some of the Disney theme parks. Of course, we all got a chance to pet and take a picture. After this, we got a short tour through the Imagineering workshop where people were working on new areas of existing theme parks, followed by a demonstration of the software that was used to simulate new rides, and another demonstration of a couple of games that were projected on a floor. Our visit was concluded by an interesting Q&A with the Imagineering team, as well as one of the Disney game teams.

After the visit, we approached noon as what became the inevitable last "official" moment of our study trip. In theory, everyone was free to go. Though in practice, a secret rooftop pool party (dubbed "Project X") had been arranged for all participants and was announced on our way back. Plenty of downtown L.A. view, and virtually unlimited champagne, as heard - were it not that the writer accidentally double-planned this day and had to pick up his Ford Mustang rental instead :) After the rooftop party, it was time for a fancy dinner in downtown LA. As the dinner ended, everyone was now on his own..


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