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April 23, 2013
Disney Springs Imagineer Shares His Disney Journey
By Christi Erwin Donnan, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
No two career paths are alike, but at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, they all share the same magic. From time to time, we’ll be posing insightful questions to our Cast, Crew and Imagineers to learn more about their roles.
With our recent Disney Springs announcement, we thought it would be fun to start with Theron Skees, creative director, Walt Disney Imagineering. Theron is the Disney Springs project leader and has lots to share about his Disney career.
When did you first join Walt Disney Imagineering?
I first joined Imagineering in 1991 as a consultant during the construction of Disneyland Paris. I was a field art director for all rockwork inside Pirates of the Caribbean and the exterior queue. I officially joined the company as an Imagineer in 1997 working on the Walt Disney World Resort portfolio.
What are some of the favorite projects you’ve worked on?
It’s difficult to pick just one! A very special project took place while I was the art director at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World: re-profiling Tower of Terror with special audio technology, new projections, scents, and random drop profiles to make it the most advanced multi-sensory attraction anywhere in the world. This led to my role in the expansion of the Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris. I’ll never forget my experience as it was the first time my family and I lived in another country. Moving to Hong Kong Disneyland for four years was also life changing. There are so many things to learn from living in a new culture that fundamentally change the way you see the world. It has affected the way I approach projects to this day. Finally, I really love the new project I’m working on, Disney Springs. It’s truly a combination of everything I’ve learned over my 15-year career at Imagineering. Disney Springs is urban design at its best – it will double the number of shops, restaurants and other venues for guests to explore, and we are very excited about it.
Where do you find inspiration?
I’m a real movie buff, so I draw a lot of inspiration from stories told on the big screen. I also try to read as much as I can – books, magazines, online industry literature, etc. Traveling has also been a huge source of inspiration. I love immersing myself in new cultures all over the world.
What advice would you give to an aspiring Imagineer?
I encourage young people to never stop pursuing their dreams! It takes talent, passion and a desire to be part of a very dynamic, ever-changing environment. With over 140 different job disciplines, Imagineers come from many different backgrounds. When I see all of the work that’s being developed around the world in our resorts, I get really excited about the diversity of experiences we’ll be creating in the future. The constant challenge to create newer and more technologically advanced experiences means there will always be a need to recruit new talent, which is truly exciting!
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