Updated: Apr 22, 2020
Learn to dream, design and create like an Imagineer in this interactive and highly entertaining course from Disney and Khan Academy.
If you have ever visited a Disney theme park, you have experienced a special place. What makes it particularly special is dependent upon individual points-of-view. To some, it's special because of the memories that were made there. To others, it's special because of the family-friendly atmosphere. Still others may say that it's special because of the "above and beyond" level of customer service provided by cast members. Yet the greatest thing that makes it special may be something no one ever thinks about. Disney parks are special in that everything that everyone experiences, every sight, every sound, every smell, and every taste, has been specifically designed to tell a story in such a way that it elicits an emotional response. These emotional response, in turn, create those special touch-points for each person who visits. In short, what ultimately makes Disney theme parks so special is that they are specially designed. And that work, from the very beginnings of Disneyland, has been carried out by the legendary dreamers, designers, and builders known as the Imagineers.
Now, thanks to Disney and Khan Academy, you can go behind-the-scenes with the Imagineers themselves to learn how teams of artists, designers, and engineers collaborate to create the incredibly immersive experiences for which Disney theme parks are famous as you work through the highly interactive and immensely entertaining online course, Imagineering in a Box. While this course is made available to anyone, the lessons themselves would be appropriate for middle and high school age students and could be easily integrated into classes that teach art, design, humanities, math, science and/or the engineering design process.
Imagineering in a Box is divided into three main lessons: Creating Worlds, Designing Attractions, and Bringing Characters to Life. Each module contains a series of videos and exercises that combine to create a long form project, which is the creation of a theme park attraction. The videos for each lesson are approximately a combined hour in length and are the primary mode of delivering content related to each concept that is being taught.
Exercises are provided after each video to reinforce the content and include a series of questions as well as hands-on activities. For instance, in the "Creating Worlds" lesson, there are nine exercises that include ideas related to storytelling, theming, building design, layout, landscaping, use of materials, graphics, tastes and smells, and establishing mood. Activities include drawing a map of your world, collecting photographs or images that represent the buildings found within it, creating color palletes, selecting music and sounds that would be heard there, and more. The beauty of these lessons is that there are no right or wrong answers and you're only limited by how creative and imaginative you are willing to be.
While middle and high school students could be assigned this course to complete on their own, it would fun to work through the lessons together as a family, regardless of the ages involved. Currently, Disney has asked those who take part in the activities to showcase their creations on social media using the hashtag, #ImagineeringInABox. We would encourage you to participate in this challenge as well, either as individuals or as a family. What better way to learn the value of collaboration among people with different strengths, interests, and abilities than to practice this process at home with a family-friendly project that everyone can enjoy.
So check out Imagineering in a Box and let us know what you think. And if you complete any of the challenges, we'd love for you to share them with us on our Imagineering Education Facebook page or tag us on Twitter at #ImagineeringEd. Have fun and here's to making some Disney magic of your own at home!