More than 8,000 of the world’s most creative and innovative young minds recently took to Knoxville, Tennessee, for Destination Imagination (DI) Global Finals. The four-day event, presented by Disney, invited 17,000 students and volunteers from 48 U.S. states and 17 countries—China, Turkey and Mexico, to name just a few—to participate in one of six different academic challenges that gave participants an opportunity to showcase their skills in creativity and innovation.
To add some magic to the festivities, Disney hosted more than 700 students in 11 skills-based workshops that were led by its very own cast members and employees.
Walt Disney Animation Studios veteran animator Mark Henn—who has lent his talent to many Disney classic films, including The Lion King, Aladdin, Frozen and Big Hero 6—was on hand to guide participants through several key principles of animation that bring Disney characters to life. He also took students through a hands-on drawing workshop, where they learned basic drawing techniques that Disney animators use to create beloved characters. Each session closed with an interactive Q&A, where Mark spoke about his life, art and career at Walt Disney Animation Studios.
Imagineer MK Haley hosted workshops that brought participants together to solve a design and construction challenge. Students gained insights into the importance of collaboration in creative teams and heard examples of how Disney Imagineers use this thought process to develop the world-class attractions and experiences at Disney parks and resorts around the world.
Disney Theatrical educators Lauren Chapman and Matt Zambarano took students on a journey in their sessions where they explored how atmosphere is created on stage. Participants experimented with using sound, lighting and movement to create atmosphere and mood for moments from The Lion King Experience. In another workshop, they guided students through the process of how a director’s vision is brought to life on stage. Participants then got hands-on experience by developing their own directorial vision for a scene, which included designing an original mask that illustrated the relationship between a director and designer.
As an added treat, DI guests got to view Disney’s latest animation hit Big Hero 6 on the big screen with their fellow participants.
“Disney’s vision to inspire imagination and creativity in children aligns perfectly with our mission at Destination Imagination,” Destination Imagination CEO Dr. Chuck Cadle recently said. “Together we are committed to the offering 21st century learning programs that foster future inventors, while supporting and inspiring young people worldwide.”
Through supporting events like DI Global Finals, Disney can continue nurturing creative thinking skills to inspire young and bright minds to create the future they imagine.