How to Become a Disney Imagineer: Your Top Questions Answered

How to Become a Disney Imagineer: Your Top Questions Answered

Becoming a Disney Imagineer might seem like a dream come true if you’re a long-time Disney fan. Thankfully, this career isn’t limited to just architecture or engineering—the Imagineering team employs all sorts of creative professionals, from artists to writers to IT experts and construction managers. The road to an Imagineering career definitely isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible, either! Check out some of the answers to some frequently asked questions, and see if this job is the career for you.

Question 1 of 8:
What is a Disney Imagineer?

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Disney Imagineers are the creative experts behind the Walt Disney franchise. Officially, they work for Walt Disney Imagineering Research Development, Inc. This is a really wide umbrella, including the Disney theme parks, cruises, merchandise, publications, games, and more. Disney Imagineers are the creative professionals who help bring the Disney brand to life. If you’ve seen something really cool at Disney World or had a really fun time on a Disney cruise, it was probably thanks to a team of Imagineers! [1] X Research source
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Question 2 of 8:
What do Disney Imagineers do?

Image titled Become a Disney Imagineer Step 2
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Disney Imagineers help bring the Disney magic to life. There are over 140 job titles within the Imagineering department, ranging anywhere from landscapers and special effects experts to archivists and costume designers. All of these jobs help translate Disney’s creative ideas to the big stage for tourists far and wide to enjoy. [2] X Research source For instance, Imagineers are behind the design and construction for Star Wars Land, along with Toy Story Land. Disney Imagineers come from a variety of fields, like architecture, construction, IT, design, project management, production, illustration, engineering, model making, writing, and more.[3] X Research source If you’d love to work with your favorite franchises, then Imagineering might be the future job for you!
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Question 3 of 8:
How much does a Disney Imagineer make?

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On average, Imagineers make $90,000 each year. A software engineer might make anywhere from $62,000 to $138,000, while a technical director can earn between $48,000 and $163,000. A principal architect makes somewhere between $88,000 and $176,000, and a concept artist can make anywhere between $35,000 and $79,000. Overall, it really depends on your experience, and what Imagineering field you’re hoping to enter. [4] X Research source
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Question 4 of 8:
Is it hard to become a Disney Imagineer?

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The competition is stiff and it takes a lot of hard work. You need to have a professional background, like a college degree, along with lots of work experience. Disney receives hundreds of Imagineering applications each year, so you’ll definitely need to go the extra mile to stand out. [5] X Research source For instance, you might get an entry-level job as an illustrator if you’d like to work as a concept artist for the Imagineering team. You might sign up for an engineering internship if you’d like to get your foot in the door.
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Question 5 of 8:
What kind of education do you need to be an Imagineer?

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You need a Bachelor's and possibly a Master’s degree. Disney Imagineering involves a lot of skill-based careers, ranging from architecture and concept art to engineering and IT work. Look at the specific job posting to see what kind of experiences the Imagineering team is looking for—it might depend on the job. [6] X Research source You can find open positions here: https://jobs.disneycareers.com. For instance, a project design manager would need a Bachelor of Architecture as well as a Master’s.
2
Choose a degree that caters to a specific Imagineering field. If you’re applying for college or still undecided in your major, look for a program that will help you get the skill set you need to be an Imagineer. Pick a degree program that really appeals to your personal interests and talents—this way, you’ll have a solid educational foundation for the future. [7] X Research source For instance, if you love architecture, you might look for colleges with a good architecture program. If you’re a fan of making costumes, you might go to a specialty school for design.
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Question 6 of 8:
What type of work experience do you need?

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You’ll need more experience for higher-level jobs. For all Imagineering jobs, you'll need background experience in your respective field, whether it’s graphic design, engineering, IT, writing, or something else. The amount of background experience will depend on how advanced the job is—a manager position will need a lot more work experience than an entry-level job, for instance. [8] X Research source Try to include relevant job experience on your resume. Disney Imagineering likes to see people who have tackled the same types of projects in the past. Double-check the job listing to see what kinds of experience the Imagineering team is looking for. Look for jobs and internships in the theme park industry. These can be a little hard to find, but can really set you apart as a possible candidate.[9] X Research source
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Question 7 of 8:
Do you need anything else to land a job?

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You’ll need to make a portfolio. The Disney Imagineering team wants to get a taste of your talents and accomplishments. Collect some samples of your recent work and organize them on a website or digital file, which you can attach when you apply for the job. These don’t need to be Disney-related projects—focus on past projects or works that really showcase what you’re capable of. [10] X Research source Portfolios aren’t exclusive to art-related careers. Include photos and documents of anything you’ve worked on in the past. For instance, if you’re an engineer, you might include a picture of a public fountain that you built.
2
Develop a variety of talents. It’s definitely important to have a firm background in a specific field. However, Disney Imagineering is all about thinking outside the box, and the recruiters love finding people who can throw their hat into a lot of different rings. If you’re skilled in multiple areas, show that off in your resume or in a future interview! [11] X Research source For instance, you might have a degree in engineering but be talented at professional writing as well. You might have a background in architecture but also love to draw.
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Question 8 of 8:
How can I set myself apart as a candidate?

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1
Apply for an internship. Disney offers a lot of different internships for up-and-coming professionals. These don’t guarantee you a spot on the Imagineering team, but they do help you learn the basics of being a Disney employee, and how to handle a bunch of different projects at once. [12] X Research source As an intern, you’ll be working with Imagineers, so you can get a sense of what their job is like.
2
Enter the official Imaginations competition. “Imaginations” is a Disney Imagineering-sponsored contest for up-and-coming professionals. [13] X Research source Put together a creative presentation that you think could really take Disney Imagineering to the next level—if the Imagineering team likes your idea, you might get invited to a special conference with them in California. [14] X Research source This contest is limited to college students and recent graduates. You can find more info about the contest here: https://disneyimaginations.com/enter-the-competition/project-submission.
3
Take an Imagineering prep class. Search online for digital classes offered by reputable learning sites. Occasionally, Disney partners up with special groups like Khan Academy and Pixar and releases special classes specifically about Imagineering. Keep your eyes peeled on the web for any new classes in the works—these are a great way to learn the ropes. [15] X Research source
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Question 1 of 8:
What is a Disney Imagineer?

Image titled Become a Disney Imagineer Step 1
1
Disney Imagineers are the creative experts behind the Walt Disney franchise. Officially, they work for Walt Disney Imagineering Research Development, Inc. This is a really wide umbrella, including the Disney theme parks, cruises, merchandise, publications, games, and more. Disney Imagineers are the creative professionals who help bring the Disney brand to life. If you’ve seen something really cool at Disney World or had a really fun time on a Disney cruise, it was probably thanks to a team of Imagineers! [1] X Research source
Advertisement

Question 2 of 8:
What do Disney Imagineers do?

Image titled Become a Disney Imagineer Step 2
1
Disney Imagineers help bring the Disney magic to life. There are over 140 job titles within the Imagineering department, ranging anywhere from landscapers and special effects experts to archivists and costume designers. All of these jobs help translate Disney’s creative ideas to the big stage for tourists far and wide to enjoy. [2] X Research source For instance, Imagineers are behind the design and construction for Star Wars Land, along with Toy Story Land. Disney Imagineers come from a variety of fields, like architecture, construction, IT, design, project management, production, illustration, engineering, model making, writing, and more.[3] X Research source If you’d love to work with your favorite franchises, then Imagineering might be the future job for you!
Advertisement

Question 3 of 8:
How much does a Disney Imagineer make?

Image titled Become a Disney Imagineer Step 3
1
On average, Imagineers make $90,000 each year. A software engineer might make anywhere from $62,000 to $138,000, while a technical director can earn between $48,000 and $163,000. A principal architect makes somewhere between $88,000 and $176,000, and a concept artist can make anywhere between $35,000 and $79,000. Overall, it really depends on your experience, and what Imagineering field you’re hoping to enter. [4] X Research source
Advertisement

Question 4 of 8:
Is it hard to become a Disney Imagineer?

Image titled Become a Disney Imagineer Step 4
1
The competition is stiff and it takes a lot of hard work. You need to have a professional background, like a college degree, along with lots of work experience. Disney receives hundreds of Imagineering applications each year, so you’ll definitely need to go the extra mile to stand out. [5] X Research source For instance, you might get an entry-level job as an illustrator if you’d like to work as a concept artist for the Imagineering team. You might sign up for an engineering internship if you’d like to get your foot in the door.
Advertisement

Question 5 of 8:
What kind of education do you need to be an Imagineer?

Image titled Become a Disney Imagineer Step 5
1
You need a Bachelor's and possibly a Master’s degree. Disney Imagineering involves a lot of skill-based careers, ranging from architecture and concept art to engineering and IT work. Look at the specific job posting to see what kind of experiences the Imagineering team is looking for—it might depend on the job. [6] X Research source You can find open positions here: https://jobs.disneycareers.com. For instance, a project design manager would need a Bachelor of Architecture as well as a Master’s.
2
Choose a degree that caters to a specific Imagineering field. If you’re applying for college or still undecided in your major, look for a program that will help you get the skill set you need to be an Imagineer. Pick a degree program that really appeals to your personal interests and talents—this way, you’ll have a solid educational foundation for the future. [7] X Research source For instance, if you love architecture, you might look for colleges with a good architecture program. If you’re a fan of making costumes, you might go to a specialty school for design.
Advertisement

Question 6 of 8:
What type of work experience do you need?

Image titled Become a Disney Imagineer Step 7
1
You’ll need more experience for higher-level jobs. For all Imagineering jobs, you'll need background experience in your respective field, whether it’s graphic design, engineering, IT, writing, or something else. The amount of background experience will depend on how advanced the job is—a manager position will need a lot more work experience than an entry-level job, for instance. [8] X Research source Try to include relevant job experience on your resume. Disney Imagineering likes to see people who have tackled the same types of projects in the past. Double-check the job listing to see what kinds of experience the Imagineering team is looking for. Look for jobs and internships in the theme park industry. These can be a little hard to find, but can really set you apart as a possible candidate.[9] X Research source
Advertisement

Question 7 of 8:
Do you need anything else to land a job?

Image titled Become a Disney Imagineer Step 8
1
You’ll need to make a portfolio. The Disney Imagineering team wants to get a taste of your talents and accomplishments. Collect some samples of your recent work and organize them on a website or digital file, which you can attach when you apply for the job. These don’t need to be Disney-related projects—focus on past projects or works that really showcase what you’re capable of. [10] X Research source Portfolios aren’t exclusive to art-related careers. Include photos and documents of anything you’ve worked on in the past. For instance, if you’re an engineer, you might include a picture of a public fountain that you built.
2
Develop a variety of talents. It’s definitely important to have a firm background in a specific field. However, Disney Imagineering is all about thinking outside the box, and the recruiters love finding people who can throw their hat into a lot of different rings. If you’re skilled in multiple areas, show that off in your resume or in a future interview! [11] X Research source For instance, you might have a degree in engineering but be talented at professional writing as well. You might have a background in architecture but also love to draw.
Advertisement

Question 8 of 8:
How can I set myself apart as a candidate?

Image titled Become a Disney Imagineer Step 10
1
Apply for an internship. Disney offers a lot of different internships for up-and-coming professionals. These don’t guarantee you a spot on the Imagineering team, but they do help you learn the basics of being a Disney employee, and how to handle a bunch of different projects at once. [12] X Research source As an intern, you’ll be working with Imagineers, so you can get a sense of what their job is like.
2
Enter the official Imaginations competition. “Imaginations” is a Disney Imagineering-sponsored contest for up-and-coming professionals. [13] X Research source Put together a creative presentation that you think could really take Disney Imagineering to the next level—if the Imagineering team likes your idea, you might get invited to a special conference with them in California. [14] X Research source This contest is limited to college students and recent graduates. You can find more info about the contest here: https://disneyimaginations.com/enter-the-competition/project-submission.
3
Take an Imagineering prep class. Search online for digital classes offered by reputable learning sites. Occasionally, Disney partners up with special groups like Khan Academy and Pixar and releases special classes specifically about Imagineering. Keep your eyes peeled on the web for any new classes in the works—these are a great way to learn the ropes. [15] X Research source
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