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Here are some insights, stories, tips and other bits and pieces from a former Disney Imagineer.  I hope you enjoy the reading!

Insights, Thoughts and Ramblings From a Former Imagineer...

*Your comments are welcome!

Everything that's old is new again

By Brian~WDWithMe, Aug 5 2017 09:54PM

There are a special group of Imagineers who are incredible artists in their own right and specialize in aging and texturing things. These are the craftspeople who specialize in aging environments. Walk through any Disney theme park or resort and you can see the results of their work-most times, so convincing, you don't even realize it. Need a Haunted Mansion to look like it's over a hundred years old with dust and cobwebs? Done. How about an old Italian market with aged posters and faded paint on the sides of some building? Or even better-age old wooden poles to tie some gondolas up to? Nessun problema. And if you need a centuries-old intergalactic outpost that shows the wear and tear of many Stormtroopers, WDI knows how to create that too.


Some of the best aging can be found at Disney's Animal Kingdom--especially in Pandora. Step into this environment and all around you find rusty doors, chipped concrete, water-stained wood, exposed wires and rebar. No--the legendary Disney custodial crews haven't gone AWOL--it's meant to look like that. Most times, it's so convincing, and blends in with the "story" of Pandora, that your brain doesn't even register it as a fake environment--it looks perfectly normal and you accept it. But think about it. Pandora opened in 2017. As of this posting, it's less than a year old. Would there really be the rusty doors, chipped concrete, water-stained wood, exposed wires and rebar in such a new part of the park? Of course not. Or maybe you justify it by thinking it was already there and the Imagineers just worked around the decay and rust to incorporate it into the themeing? Wrong! It's all the intentional work of some highly skilled and talented artisans. What makes it even more realistic is the attention to detail--rusty water stains underneath drainage pipes. Discoloration on the ground where some sort of barrel or machinery once stood. Overgrown "moss" that blends in with the surrounding plants, and visible internal rebar where chunks of concrete have fallen away from a wall. Amazing stuff.


So--next time you're in the parks or even at a resort and you find yourself surrounded by an age-old environment, stop for a moment and think--is this real and natural...or are the Imagineers pulling one over on me? If it's the latter, appreciate how realistic it looks...then get your head back into the story where it's supposed to be!


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