Did you know Walt Disney had a company dedicated to innovation and new technology?

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It is no secret that Glenn is a huge fan of Walt Disney. Glenn purchased Walt Disney’s 1953 Disneyland Prospectus last summer, and he has told his staff the document will serve as a guide to his plans in 2013 and beyond. From his remarkable creativity to his forward-thinking vision, Glenn admires and respects Walt’s ability to craft the ubiquitous and virtually all-encompassing Disney entertainment empire we enjoy today.

The Walt Disney Company is perhaps best known for its theme parks, movies, and animation, but there is a more niche component of Walt’s business that Glenn has taken a special interest in – the design and development arm known as Walt Disney Imagineering.

Disney once said that “Disneyland would never be completed as long as there’s imagination left in the world,” and he created Walt Disney Imagineering (formally known as WED Enterprises) in order to hold true to that principle. Founded in 1952 to oversee the creation and construction of Disneyland Park, the Imagineering team is now responsible for designing and building all Disney theme parks, resorts, cruise ships, and other entertainment ventures.

Ever wonder how the audio-animatronic robotics that allow objects to come to life in three dimensions in attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion came to be? How about the user-friendly FastPass queuing system that lets visitors bypass long lines? Or what about the massive re-design of Walt Disney World’s Fantasyland, which utilizes basic technologies like perspective manipulation to make structures appear larger than they really are and the more complex patent-pending swinging seat technology that will be incorporated into a roller coaster? Well, Imagineering is responsible for all that and a whole lot more. In fact, over the years, their talent has even been tapped for projects like the 1960 Winter Olympics and the design of stores like Children’s Place.

While the accomplishments of Walt Disney Imagineering have proven to be revolutionary, its founding actually served as a turning point for the Disney brand. Roy O. Disney, Walt’s brother and business partner, did not support the opening of a theme park, which left Walt to finance the project on his own. He decided to create a company, independent of the one he shared with Roy, which came to be known as WED Enterprises (the initials of Walt’s name – Walter Elias Disney).

According to biographer Bob Thomas, author of Building a Company: Roy O. Disney and the Creation of an Entertainment Empire, Walt thought of WED as his “backyard laboratory,” a “workshop away from work.” He knew the preliminary idea of Disneyland would be far too abstract for investors to understand, and WED Enterprises allowed him to develop his ideas to a point where people would begin to recognize the potential.

Though WED provided a solution to a short-term problem (the funding of Disneyland), Walt had long-term plans for the endeavor. What came to be regarded as a money pit and experimental playground, ultimately created technologies that continue to drive profits for Disney properties to this day.

When Walt died in 1966, WED was acquired by Walt Disney Productions (now The Walt Disney Company), and Roy finally realized the breadth of his brother’s vision. When Walt Disney Productions was rebranded into The Walt Disney Company in 1987, WED Enterprises became Walt Disney Imagineering.

Today, the Imagineering studios are based in Glendale, California, but there are satellite offices in Disney parks around the world. Imagineers include illustrators, architects, lighting designers, writers, and graphic designers to name a few, and they are governed by the principle now known as “blue sky speculation.” This standard ensures that when it comes to the design process, there are no limitations.

It is this attitude that has allowed Walt Disney Imagineering to secure over 115 patents, all aimed at developing new models and improving old tricks. What separates Imagineering from the greater Walt Disney Company is its focus on innovation, void of the normal constraints of business that tend to stifle creativity. Walt believed that if you could dream it, you could build it, and Walt Disney Imagineering allowed him to ensure the imagination would never cease.

Glenn has made no secret that he has big… make that huge… plans for the future, and if his fascination with Walt and his Imagineering team is any indication, the sky is the limit.







  • http://www.artinphoenix.com/gallery/grimm snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    Amazing, I had heard bits and pieces of this history of Disney before, but not made the connections for the depth and breadth of their achievements.

  • Anonymous

    Wait! I wouldn’t argue about Disney’s, impact on cinema and animation.  There is no arguing their impressive and culture importance to American.   However Walt Disney wasn’t a saint.  He dined with Mussolini, and attended Pro fascist events in the US, he was also an anti- semite.

    • Anonymous

      I am shocked Glenn Beck would associate with anything Disney has done. He was a 33rd freemason and had ties to the Illuminati. He also believed in the New World Order. I am shocked beyond belief. Glenn of all people should know the history of this man. If you watch some of the movies, there are glimpses of phallic symbols. Very disturbing to hear this news.

      • Jerry Sutton

         Disney was a Jew you knuckleheads

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.reesor James Reesor

    Was it “coincidence” or “imitation” ringing our bells when comparing the work of James Reesor and Glenn Beck?

  • MaryA

    Y’all need to also investigate MAPO, the pre-curser to the WED Imagineers. They used the proceeds from Mary Poppins to finance it.

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  • Draxx

    Walt Disney and Jerry Lewis were both Downplayed on how much they influenced their industries with Innovations/Inventions.  Todays entertainment would not be the same if it were not for either of them…

    Like my quote from Albert Einstein says, “Dreams only come true if you get out of bed!”, but in order for dreams to come true, People Have to Dream in the first place…

    Governments Run the World, But Tinkerers, Inventors, and Innovators Change The World!

  • Daniel Thomas Stack

    I once sent a letter to LeVar Burton  with a trident in it made of a Paperclip. It was a model of a Trident that he once said in a Reading Rainbow episode could never exist in real life. Along with it I wrote “If it can be dreamed, it can be done.” I think I was about 19 or 20 at the time. Don’t even know if he ever got it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charles-Chapman/1189989157 Charles Chapman

    I can’t wait to see what Glenn has in mind.  Woooooohooooooo!  So to speak.

  • Daniel Thomas Stack

     Thinking a bit more on your American Dream Labs I really hope your NewZealand branch is in contact with Weta. The people working there with Peter Jackson have the kind of talents and drive you are looking for in spades.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/zerses Zerses

    Yes I knew. 

    I knew he had a separate organization and they would have been a huge organization by now but our past leaders stopped anyone who had such grandiose ideas that would make all Americans not only equal but would teach us all just how connected we really are as well as employing most of us.  What short-sightedness we’ve had over the years…

    I wonder how many others truly knew that Disney was twarted in trying to make America a greater place to live and work.

    I knew.  I am glad more will now know.

    Disney had the dream to build Epcot – Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow – and the state of Florida would not allow him to incorporate the city.

    So much more could have been done with a REAL Epcot and copying the best ideas from the best people and designs in the world.

    As it is, we now have second best and worse for the rest of our lives because of liars in our own governments – city, state, and federal.

    • Anonymous

      Sorry Zerses but your info is slightly incorrect. The
      state of Florida did give Walt Disney anything he wanted; Lake Buena Vista was
      incorporate as a town with sitting representatives in the Florida state legislature.
      They also have their own water management district, “Reedy Creek”, fire
      department. Also at the time in the late 1960’s Disney could have build a Nuclear
      reactor if wanted to. But as for EPCOT, Walt died before the working ideas
      could be done. EPCOT was then turned into the EPCOT Center as it is today, but
      that still did not sit well for some so they created the 2nd city of
      Celebration. Celebration is somewhat more in line with Walt’s original Idea for
      EPCOT. True it is not the same, but even Walt had problems with the original
      concept for EPCOT. One was the question if the city kept innovating things then
      you would have your plumbing stripped out and replaced in your home more often than
      not. That and other possible situations like that worried Walt about his EPCOT
      concept. We will never truly know what would have occurred. So interpretations of
      the concepts where made. The EPCOT concept by Walt was more on the lines of the
      old type “company town”, where the company owned everything and could by its
      own will change anything at any time even in your own home for you did not own
      your home the company did. You just rented from the company. So now we have a compromise
      versions of EPCOT, split as it is EPCOT / Celebration.

      Lake Buena Vista, and
      Celebration do have their own post offices.

  • http://www.facebook.com/yvonne.wescott Yvonne Wescott

    This is an amazing aspect of the company.  My father has been a key player in Imagineering since Epcot was nothing but dirt. In fact, 9 of the 115 patents secured bear his name.  I did give him grief on the biometrics system he developed for them though. :)

    • https://twitter.com/#!/zerses Zerses

      And my father worked for Disney back in the day…

      Small world.

      Too bad Disney didn’t get a chance to do more. 

      Many, like he and Tesla, were not (and are not)  treated well by our nation.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/zerses Zerses

    And if you’re not going to allow us to report spamming, why not delete the posts?

    Who is really monitoring your website? 

     I hate trying to look for good posts between the garbage.

    • slickzip

      Poor  baby    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • Anonymous

    Did you also know that he was accused of antisemitism and racism. Oh the crazy.

    Another way to put it Glenn Beck style:

    Hypocrisy Reigns Supreme as Radio ‘Host’ Ignores Disney’s Antisemitic and Racist Past; Praises Walt’s ‘Innovation and Technology'(?)

    • http://youtu.be/XEjnyMyJYTI Sam Fisher

      Can you prove any of that? 

      • Anonymous

        You’re missing the point of the post. 

        • http://youtu.be/XEjnyMyJYTI Sam Fisher

          You hate Glenn Beck yah I got it. 

          • Anonymous

            I hate hypocrisy. Enjoy Beck.

          • http://youtu.be/XEjnyMyJYTI Sam Fisher

            Then you should hate yourself. Enjoy your own ego.

        • Anonymous

           Liberals hate success -and Glenn Beck – we got it.  JFK raped a young intern, and Martin Luther King cheated on his wife – do we ignore their successes?

    • Anonymous

      I did look into that after an acquaintance told me about a “Family Guy” episode on that very matter.

      There are just as many example countering it, including how a number of Disney’s animators were Jewish and had nothing but good to say about working for Disney.

      I’m inclined to believe this anti-Semite angle is just more liberal distortion.

      • http://youtu.be/XEjnyMyJYTI Sam Fisher

        But he is the real man of genius. More like the real man of stupidity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1017828436 Brian Serafin

    I can’t wait….

  • Anonymous

    Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, he can achieve

  • Anonymous

    Just wondering if he knows that Walt Disney was heavily in to the occult?

  • http://twitter.com/dinocolo Better in America

    Iheard that there is a 15 X15 mile facility being constructed in New Mexico ran by robots and never to occupied by humans. Just to be observed by humas for yers to come It is called “ghost Town” look it up” now math is used and art is used for “The Right Stuff”

  • Anonymous

    I developed the theory of Synergistic Traffic Systems for the internet based on Disney World.
    Disney World’s management and harvesting of traffic for days made Disney World a financial success. Managing the internet sessions with related content/context rich loops makes information networks successful too. Also Re-thinking Search Marketing. I pioneered search-bypass channels for direct content delivery. You need an internet imagineer.

  • Anonymous

    I have some info showing that Disney Studios did not create all their ideas internally.  They stole one from my late aunt.

    • slickzip

      YEA   SURE      loser  ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • http://twitter.com/ITTywysog Tywysog

    Nice Presentation. 

  • slickzip

    I   like  what Walt   did  , I retired  from Walt Disney  World  it  was a  wonderful  place  to work  the  pay  and  benefits   were  great  and  the  retirement  is  top shelf  ,,,,,,,,

  • http://www.facebook.com/steven.hite.50 Steven Hite

    I too worked for Disney back in college.  I wish there were open tryouts for Glenn’s Imagineers or at least open mic night on the internet with ideas to solve problems.  Put my ADOS to good use.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steven.hite.50 Steven Hite

    What I remember most about Disney as a kid vs. working there was the future being presented.  Monsanto showed the future of video phones back in the late 60’s.  Look where we are now.  It used to be companies would invest in their future in the park.  The Wedway people mover all magnetic transportation was fascinating to learn what might be possible for the future while riding it.  You dream about the future as you are riding it.  Using the mind to create the ride.  Disney has become an amusement park instead of a working year round worlds fair of possibilities.  EPCOT is no longer the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, but has digressed to Every Person Comes Out Tired.  We used to leave the park wanting to tell everyone about the fascinating future, now its “yeah, we had a good time”  I mean, come on, Popular Mechanics me, Atlantis me, 

  • Anonymous

    My grandmother told me that Walt Disney was in her school classes in Chicago.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeanette.jones.7505 Jeanette Jones

    Glen,  My late husband who was a systems tech with AT&T had WED Industries as his account.  WED industries was located on Sonora and Lake in the old Grand Central Air Terminal in Glendale, CA. He spent lots of time at WED installing their phone systems. They were working on the future Disney World at that time.  Every night when he came home from work he had great stories to tell about how the Imagineers created and solved problems.  The one I remember most vividly was the fireflies at the entrance to the Pirates of The Carribean at Disneyland.  They tried all kinds of ideas before they came up with a realistic solution.  One day he opened up a door to do some installing and came face to face with Abraham Lincoln.  He said it looked to real that he thought Lincoln would speak to him.  The people were excited about their work.  We, as a family were treated with passes to Disneyland which my now adult children enjoyed greatly.

    Jeanette Jones
    Los Angeles, CA

  • http://twitter.com/JohnBeale2 JBeale

    I know Disney is very much into the gay agenda. That is why I don”t like to support Disney. 

  • Anonymous

    And so the broad Walt Disney accusations continue. It’s unsettling to know that every other member of the general public seems to believe the same ol’ “Walt was (insert bad thing here)” rumors, etc. Check out these recent articles on Cartoon Brew, and expand your horizons:

    Why Kids Today Think Disney was a Jew-Hating, Hitler-Loving Racist

    The Walt Disney Image Problem

  • Anonymous

    waltdisney and his brothers / nephew did a great job. put i don’t support Disney
    because they heavily  support the gay agenda.

  • Wryan Lewis Butler

    surprised you do not mention his original plans for EPCOT.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sam.gennawey Sam Gennawey

    Mr. Beck should check out Walt and the Promise of Progress City, a book that takes a detailed look at Walt’s ambitions for his community of Tomorrow. It looks at the topic through the eyes of an urban planner and is the most detailed look at Walt’s City project, his mountain retreat proposal, and his arts college of the future.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.wasmuth Steve Wasmuth

    I have an official site plan drawing Walt Disney World, showing the layout of the park done in 1977, it’s 30inx36in. I’d like to keep it but ill health is making me sell it, anyone interested?

  • Bob Thomas

    Walt Disney created WED Enterprises to siphon money from the shareholders in Walt Disney Productions to Walt and his family members. It’s well documented here:


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