Ever wondered how the Disney parks around the world got this cool and creative but also technically challenging rides up there? It is fascinating to see the stories told by Disney, to which we all have grown up hearing, being turned into thrilling rides.  

Disney + Hotstar’s docuseries named ‘The Imagineering Story’ delves into the enthralling mind place filled with creativity and skills of artists and designers who engineers the Disney theme parks. 

This sentimental six–episode docuseries unveils the curtain showcasing the brainwork and creative minds behind the theme parks and the rides. The Imagineering story showcases Leslie Iwerks, who is not only an Oscar-nominated documentarian but the third generation “Disney brat” as they call her (granddaughter of Ub Iwerks, co-creator of Mickey Mouse), takes us into an interesting and engaging journey which is indeed a treat offered to the Disney fandom. 

We all know that the Walt Disney company wants nothing more than to mythologize itself. The company needs to preserve its legacy by making new movies, theme parks, etc. to maintain its financial status. Hence, it’s not surprising that the brand-new series aired on November 12th, 2019 with Disney + Hotstar service to focus on that legacy. I am sure that the series will be more educational if you know less about Disney.

The Imagineering Story_themeparksandentertainment.com2019

Throughout the series, it showcases the 60 years old history of Walt Disney’s journey and its present state and also provides a glimpse of the future to the viewers. An elegant rhapsody of Disney themes parks’ history which made me watch more of the episodes of the season. The initial episodes look at how Walt Disney’s dream came true. A dream which turned a swampland of Florida into a wonderland for both kids and adults to experience the magic called Disney! 

Walt Disney World, Florida, USA_cntraveler.comstory

The title of the series, The Imagineering Story, refers to the Imagineers, “a merry band of misfit” as said by the narrator Angela Bassett. The documentary consists of various interviews of former and present Imagineers, footage of Walt Disney, and others never seen before Disney footage from the archive. 

Walt Disney called them ‘Imagineers’, a name he felt appropriately captures the employer’s imagination and engineering. Walt Disney challenged them to push their creative boundaries – to aim out of the box. They took that abstract notion and turned it into reality even after the death of Walt Disney.

The Imagineers often consist of designers, engineers, architects, art directors, programmers, etc., a group who made Walt Disney’s true vision of building a world-class theme park into a reality. Further, in the narration, it is understood that the Imagineers turned their working environment into “an art studio, design centre, think tank and innovation lab.” 

“Everything the imagineers have to say still sheds light on what kind of man Disney was – even if it is through rose-tinted glasses – as well sharing fascinating insights into the rides we’ve probably never spent too much time thinking about beyond the thrills they provide.” – Radio Times.

Rather than the standard talking head format, Iwerks takes us along with her through the backstage of the theme park where the real magic happens. Interviewing amidst the hustle and bustle and sometimes even on the rides, she tries to give us a glimpse of the illusion happening behind. 

Viewers get time to educate themselves about the most famous rides like the Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, It’s a Small World Afterall, The Matador, and the Haunted Mansion.

Old footage of Walt Disney himself explaining the technical creative aspects used in theme parks_hollywoodreporter.comreviewThe first episode, “The Happiest Place on Earth” focuses on the birth of Disneyland, which started in 1955. Further, in the next episodes, it shows the unstable rise of Walt Disney World, Walt Disney’s death in 1966, etc., it was believed that the technology used by Imagineering was more sophisticated than NASA then.

The series’ access to the archival footage, the authenticity of its storytelling and revealing the secrets behind the veil give the viewer more fact-cravings of Walt Disney and Disney company documentaries. Watching the episodes, I found myself wanting to watch more – no denying- to see more facts about the parks and the operations of certain rides. 

Poster of The Imagineering Story_imdb.comtitle

Even though The Imagineering Story is a little diluted, one can’t help but feel enthused by this innovative, smart, and creative bunch of people. They deserve huge respect for the work they did – especially when at times they have to work in a certain area without expertise. The viewer learns about the extensive and peculiar minds behind designing the parks.

Overall, The Imagineering Story is a well-made docuseries. If you aren’t a Disney fan, then this might be the ‘gateway drug’ to turn you into one.

Ann Rajesh
Author

A recent architecture graduate and an unfeigned admirer of Antoni Gaudi and Dan Brown, Ann firmly believes that architecture can be perceived well through the art of writing. Apart from being with her pup, for this bibliophile, travelling is bliss! Especially to historical places which extend countless stories (and food!)

Write A Comment