Today I cracked the cover on a book I have been waiting to read for a long time.


Disney’s Imagineering – A behind the Dreams Look at Making More Real Magic

I was immediately drawn to a key figure, Marty Skylar, legend who retired after 54 years at Disney as creative lead of Walt Disney Imagineering.

Marty distilled much of what he learned about building great amusement park rides into Mickey’s Ten Commandments.

Mickey’s Ten Commandments

1. Know your audience.

Identify the prime audience for your attraction or show before you begin.

2. Wear your Guest’s shoes.

Insist that your team members experience your creation just the way Guests do it.

3. Organize the flow of people and ideas.

Make sure there is a logic and sequence in your stories, and in the way Guests experience them.

4. Create a wienie (visual magnet).

Create visual targets that lead visitors clearly and logically through your facility. The story here is that as a kid, whenever Walt went to an amusement park, the first thing he saw was the wiener cart. And he was drawn to it because he wanted a hot dog. The wienie for Disney parks is the castle. People are just drawn to it.

5. Communicate with visual literacy.

Make good use of all the non-verbal ways of communication – color, shape, form, texture.

6. Avoid overload – create turn ons

Resist the temptation to overload your audience with too much information and too many objects.

7. Tell one story at a time.

Stick to the story line; good stories are clear, logical, and consistent.

8. Avoid contradictions – maintain identity.

Details in design and content that contradict one another confuse an audience about your story or the time period it takes place in.

9. For every ounce of treatment, provide a ton of treat.

In our business, Walt Disney said, you can educate people – but don’t tell them you’re doing it! Make it fun!

10. Keep it up! (maintain it).

In a Disney park or resort, everything must work! Poor maintenance is poor show.

Something else Walt also insisted on was that his Imagineering attend park rides and stand in queues every two weeks so they never lose site of feel of what the guest sees.

I am really looking forward to this book. Here’s a joke to set the tone:

Q: How many Imagineers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Does it have to be a lightbulb?