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im•ag•i•'neer•ing (im-ag-e-'nir-ing) n. 1. a. blend of creative imagination and technical know-how. b. such combination utilized in creation of Disney theme parks and attractions. Syn. see DISNEYLAND Park (CA), WALT DISNEY WORLD Resort (FL), TOKYO DISNEYLAND Park (Japan), or EURO DISNEYLAND Resort (France). {ME imaginer -OFr Imagineor -Lat. Imaginariator, Imagenium,, design skill}

- WDI Recruitment Brochure

Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) is the research and development department of the Walt Disney Company, and is staffed by "Imagineers." Originally called WED Enterprises, for "Walter Elias Disney," WDI was formed in the 1950s for the purpose of creating the orignal Disneyland park in Anaheim, California. On any given project in the various parks, the Imagineers were responsible for every phase of development, from conception, to design, to actual construction. Perhaps because of this, they are also responsible for over 100 patents in such fields as robotics, fiber optics and special effects.

Of late, however, WDI has not been the power it once was. In 1992, Euro Disneyland was unveiled and proved to be a financial disaster. Despite poor corporate decision-making on the part of CEO Michael Eisner, most of the blame was put on WDI. In an effort to "rein in" WDI, Eisner fused WDI with the Disney Development Company (DDC). At the time, the DDC was primarily responsible for the more conventional manifestations of the Disney empire, planning and constructing such things as hotels and golf courses. The creative folks of WDI were placed under the land developers of DDC.

WDI's relationship with the parks also changed during this time. Instead of them being the top decision makers, they became the equivalent of outside contractors. The managers of the parks would effectively "hire" WDI for design and upkeep of attractions. Final decisions began to be made based on the new (for WDI) criterion of short-term financial gain. The end result was such projects as Disney's California Adventure, a mishmash of generic carnival rides and movie tie-ins. A far cry from Epcot and the Magic Kingdom.

All this, among other things, has created a blacklash from diehard Disney fans, who now have a rather large and angry presence on the web.

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