Students Take Honors in Disney's ImagiNations Competition

June 11, 2009

Glendale, CA - From among the three university student finalist teams, the winners of the annual Walt Disney Imagineering ImagiNations Design Competition were announced on Thursday, June 11 at Imagineering headquarters in Glendale California. The ImagiNations Design Competition is a program designed and sponsored by Walt Disney Imagineering to encourage university students to consider careers in creative and technical fields including digital arts, engineering, and architecture.

Walt Disney Imagineering 
Walt Disney Imagineering

Eleven college students from three universities were finalists in Walt Disney Imagineering's 18th ImagiNations Design Competition. ImagiNations is a program designed and sponsored by Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative arm of all Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide, to encourage students and professionals from a diverse array of backgrounds and skills to consider careers in creative and technical fields including digital arts, engineering, and next-generation interactivity. Teams demonstrate their creative, technical, artistic, and business skills by designing a ride, attraction, hotel, or a land within an existing Disney theme park or resort. Participants work for several months on their concepts and presentations, which are evaluated by a team of Imagineers in California. This year more than 130 teams from around the world submitted entries for competition.

First Place and "Best in Show" was awarded to students Raymond Scanlon, Vincent J. Logozio, Elissa Hogan and David Lester.  While sponsored by Rowan University, team participants came together from Rowan University, Rutgers University and The College of New Jersey.  Their project, "Disney's Spaceport," is a complete and highly interactive theme park set in the mid 28th century, with an entirely original storyline and characters. Vincent J. Logozio was also awarded the Marty Sklar Award, for overall outstanding achievement in creativity, innovation, and leadership. In addition, all four of the students have been offered internships.

Second Place was awarded to North Carolina State University's "Mickey's Quest To Magma Mountain," a motion simulator thrill ride that features a circular seating arrangement for an immersive 360-degree, 3D experience. The four members of the North Carolina State University team are Steven Varela, Corban Prim, Ashley Wagner and Morgan McCormick.

The North Carolina State University team, one of only three teams of finalists, participates in the 18th Walt Disney Imagineering ImagiNations Design Competition. From left to right, Corban Prim, Morgan McCormick, Ashley Wagner, Steven Varela seated. Photo credit: Gary Krueger. 
The North Carolina State University team, one of only three teams of finalists, participates in the 18th Walt Disney Imagineering ImagiNations Design Competition. From left to right, Corban Prim, Morgan McCormick, Ashley Wagner, Steven Varela seated. Photo credit: Gary Krueger.

California State University at Fullerton garnered Third Place with students Benjamin Matsuya, Calixto Ortiz and Natalie Berger's "Operation SNAP: Destination Dragon." This attraction is an action/adventure ride utilizing mounted cameras that follows the story of an absent-minded professor in search of a legendary Chinese dragon.

The university of each finalist team received a $1000 grant from Walt Disney Imagineering.

"The idea behind ImagiNations is to identify and bring in a new and diverse talent base to Walt Disney Imagineering," said Marty Sklar, Executive Vice President, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts and Imagineering Ambassador, who started the program in 1991. "We're looking for people from universities and professional organizations with different backgrounds and cultures to better understand and reflect the diverse array of Guests we entertain in our Disney Parks."

The three teams of finalists visited Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale from June 2 to 11 to complete their projects, make professional presentations to the judging panel, interview for internships and participate in the awards ceremony.

The competition also provides participants a showcase for their talents, while gaining practical knowledge in design.  There is also an opportunity to earn internships.  While a position at Walt Disney Imagineering is often found on surveys of "dream jobs," the company uses ImagiNations as a way to reach out to the widest possible talent pool for its future staff. All qualified applicants are considered for internships, and several finalists and a few non-finalists have been offered summer internships.

While the projects and concepts presented are not intended to be built by Disney, they are a way for the entrants to demonstrate their skill and creative abilities.  In consideration for the opportunities provided by Imagineering, submissions become the sole property of Walt Disney Imagineering and Imagineering retains all rights to use and/or display the submissions and the materials contained in them.

The North Carolina State University team, only one of three teams of finalists, participates in the 18th Walt Disney Imagineering ImagiNations Design Competition. From left to right, Corban Prim, Morgan McCormick, Imagineer and mentor Manuel Arredondo, Ashley Wagner, Steven Varela seated. Photo credit: Gary Krueger. 
The North Carolina State University team, only one of three teams of finalists, participates in the 18th Walt Disney Imagineering ImagiNations Design Competition. From left to right, Corban Prim, Morgan McCormick, Imagineer and mentor Manuel Arredondo, Ashley Wagner, Steven Varela seated. Photo credit: Gary Krueger.

During their two weeks at Imagineering, the students meet and network with the technical and creative Imagineers responsible for Disney's global theme parks and attractions located in California, Florida, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Disney Imagineers are famous for telling stories through fully dimensional and immersive attractions and experiences.  The judges are looking in particular for the ability of technology, architecture, costumes, transportation, and attractions to support the story - and participants are advised to "begin with a great story before developing anything else."

The judges apply the same criteria to the entries that they would to their own work - reviewing whether the concept is appealing, exciting, relevant and well researched; whether it provides an engaging guest experience; the technical and creative innovation; the quality of the presentation; and the ability of the attraction to demonstrate respect and inclusion for the diverse array of families who visit Walt Disney Parks & Resorts all over the world.

Walt Disney Imagineering

Walt Disney Imagineering is the unique innovative organization that creates - from concept through construction - all Disney theme parks, resorts, attractions, cruise ships, real estate devel­opments, and regional entertainment venues worldwide. The name Imagineering combines imagination with engineering.

Imagineering's unique strength comes from the teamwork and syntheses of creative and technical professionals representing more than 140 diverse disciplines including artists, architects, engineers, writers, machinists, landscape designers, model makers, sound technicians, carpenters, producers, accountants, filmmakers, schedulers, estimators and more.

More Information about the ImagiNations competition can be found at http://disney.go.com/disneycareers/imaginations/.

Mickey's Quest To Magma Mountain - North Carolina State University

Mickey's Quest To Magma Mountain is a motion simulator thrill ride that features a circular seating arrangement for an immersive 360-degree, 3D experience. Each time guests ride, they will get a new view of the action and hear unique dialogue; but no matter what, each guest will always experience the full story. Mickey's Quest to Magma Mountain targets guests of all ages, is wheelchair accessible, and has been designed to be compatible with Disney's "FastPass" system.

Corban Prim, Ashley Wagner, Steven Varela, and Morgan McCormick. Photo credit: Angela Brockelsby. 
Corban Prim, Ashley Wagner, Steven Varela, and Morgan McCormick. Photo credit: Angela Brockelsby.

Steven Varela
is a graduating senior at North Carolina State University with a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Steven is graduating Cum Laude, and won First Place in the Golden Soldering Iron Competition, a sophomore level design competition with his homemade magnetic coil launcher. He was also the head of a small virtual company in Second Life, which he used to pay for his college textbooks. Steven's hobbies and interests include scuba diving, guitar, spray painting, racquetball, video games, pottery, drawing digital art, freshwater fish keeping, and anime.

Corban Prim is a junior majoring in Art and Design at North Carolina State University. Corban has served as Actor/Cameraman/Editor for "TVOneLife," (a TV show in Raleigh), as a photographer and videographer for Moore County Central Office (Moore County Schools) and as an animator for New Bern Craven Arts Council, a fifteen-person, multidisciplinary team that was commissioned to create tourism animations in 2008.   Hobbies and interests include movies, making videos/animations/FX, video games, and basketball.  Corban is also president of "Charisma Campus Ministry."

Ashley Wagner is a junior majoring in Art and Design at North Carolina State University with a passion for drawing figures and facial expressions with a story in mind. She works with mixed media (both hand-drawn and digital.) Ashley is a College of Design (NCSU) Student Ambassador and an animator for New Bern Craven Arts Council. Hobbies and interests include biking, movies, dancing, traveling to new places, and voice impersonations.

Morgan McCormick is a 2009 graduate from North Carolina State University with a B.A. in English, a concentration in Creative Writing and a minor in Japanese.  During his tenure at State he was a Senior Staff Writer for the university newspaper The Technician in their Arts & Entertainment section for three years. He has been involved with various organizations on campus ranging from Arts NC State to the GLBT center to Presbyterian Campus Ministry to the Society for Collegiate Journalists, as well as being a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honors society. He is currently a co-Host on the iTunes entertainment podcast MovieChatter and its mother show, RandomChatter, as well as House Manager of NC State's arts theatre, Stewart Theatre. Morgan's hobbies and interests include acting in short films, postmodernist literature (specifically Cormac McCarthy), practicing guitar, studying Japanese, making mixed CDs, reviewing films, and watching anime and cancelled TV shows.


For more information, please contact: 
Frank Reifsnyder - Walt Disney Imagineering, (818) 544-2142
Tim Choy, Peter Goldman, Davidson & Choy Publicity (323) 954-7510 954-7510