Former Imagineer Speaks Out Against Disney Park Design

EPCOT's Spaceship Earth with maze and confused person
Credit: Canva / Disney Dining

For a century now, The Walt Disney Company has built a revered reputation across theme parks, animation, music, and guest experiences. Much of this reputation is attributed to Disney’s leading edge in new technology and developments in art and animation.

spaceship earth

Credit: Walt Disney World

Related: First Imagineer in Disney’s History to Receive Honor Only Received By Walt Disney So Far

As Disney wraps up its 100th anniversary, The Walt Disney Company continues to expand and improve its products and experiences. Recent feature films like Wish (2023), Elemental (2023), The Little Mermaid (2023), and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023) have hit theaters this past year and become quick fan favorites.

In addition to animation, Disney Parks across the globe have experienced big changes this year. The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort in Hong Kong, China, recently welcomed the opening of World of Frozen. Additionally, significant changes have come to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

We Owe It All to Walt Disney Imagineers

Walt Disney Imagineers

Credit: Disney Dining

Related: Former Disney Imagineer Warns of Potential Danger Surrounding Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

We can’t talk about the changes and updates of the Disney Parks without talking about the Disney Imagineers.

Disney Imagineers are the creative minds responsible for planning and building the Disney Parks, from entrances to attractions. The Disney Imagineers date back to before Walt Disney Imagineering even existed. The first Disney Imagineers worked for WED Enterprises (WED standing for Walter Elias Disney).

Over the years, Disney Imagineers like Joe Rohde, Mary Blair, Tony Baxter, and Alice Davis have been behind the creative highlights of 100 years of Disney history.

One former Imagineer, Jim Shull, spoke out about the new updates at EPCOT. Jim Shull worked with Walt Disney Imagineering for over 30 years, leading projects in four Disney Parks.

Recent Disney Park Updates

splash mountain

Credit: Disney Parks

At Walt Disney World, guests said goodbye to Splash Mountain last year as the attraction is transformed into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. But, some of the most anticipated changes are taking place at EPCOT.

EPCOT Transformation

The remodel of EPCOT was first announced in 2019, and construction still continues today. In recent updates, we’ve seen the openings of Creations Shop, Connections Eatery, Connections Cafe, and now the park’s newest attraction: Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana.

Much of EPCOT’s redesign has yet to be unveiled and continues to be hidden behind temporary walls. However, as the project inches closer to completion, aerial photos have surfaced, showing the park’s newest layout developments. The reactions to these updates, however, have been mixed.

epcot monorail

Credit: Brian McGowan on Unsplash

Related: Just Days After Its Unveiling, EPCOT’s New Walt Disney Statue Breaks

Jill Shull Weighs In

Former Imagineer Jim Shull gave his opinions about the recent updates at EPCOT on his personal social media page.

Shull said the function of the updated park layout “works better as a maze than it does as a circulation corridor.” He further went on to comment from his years of experience, “Effective guest walkways have clear views with barriers and this plan has neither. Great place to get lost.”

Now the walls have come down at EPCOT’s newest addition, guests have been welcomed into the park’s new area. But time will tell how the designs work.

It will be interesting to see how EPCOT’s new layout plays into crowd control as guests pass through to visit popular attractions. Either way, we are ready for the walls to come down so we no longer have to circumnavigate the park.

What do you think of EPCOT’s newest updates? Let us know in the comments below!

About Megan Losey

As a Disney foodie, I love writing about Disney food and snacks. Some of my favorites are the Carrot Cake Cookie from Trolley Car Cafe, the Mickey Beignets from Port Orleans French Quarter, and the Apple Blossom from Port Orleans Riverside. When I'm visiting the parks, you can find me on Main Street taking in the good vibe of Magic Kingdom or relaxing with a drink at the Polynesian watching the fireworks from the beach. As a previous Cast Member, I will always have a special place in my heart for the Magic Kingdom, especially Main Street U.S.A.

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