Walt Disney Imagineering Writer | January 13, 2017
Finalists for the 2017 Walt Disney Imagineering Imaginations Design Competition were given an exciting and unique challenge: to apply the same design principles used in creating Disney’s famous theme parks, resorts and immersive experience to develop new outdoor spaces within their own college or university that could address the diverse needs of students, faculty and visitors while also providing a respite from the stresses of everyday life.
Of the many across the country who rose to the challenge, six college teams were named finalists for this year’s competition, and have created concepts as varied as they are creative: a nature-inspired California retreat featuring aquariums and a private beach, tree slides and zip lines; a tribute to the culture of Washington, DC, offering guests the ability to become graffiti artists without permanent paint ; a multi-layered park environment paying tribute to local Native American culture; a man-made island with a waterfall and a cave that doubles as an ice skating rink in winter; an urban forest featuring five open air tree houses; and a giant hourglass in which guests can pause, relax, and feel as if they are actually stopping time.
These literal out of the park concepts are the results of months of collaboration and hard work from the top six teams representing 21 students from seven universities including the University of California, San Diego; Howard University; Carnegie Mellon University; Miami University; University of Notre Dame; Savannah College of Art and Design; and Iowa State University. The finalist teams were selected by experienced Imagineers working at the design and development arm of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
Imaginations is a design competition created and sponsored by Walt Disney Imagineering with the purpose of seeking out and nurturing the next generation of skilled and incredibly talented Imagineers. Started in 1991 by Disney Legend and Imagineering executive Marty Sklar, the program showcases the innovation, creativity and collaboration for which Disney is well-known. It has also grown to include a separate version taking place at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.