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  1. #1

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    What happened to WDI?

    To all those looking for a Career for WDI for the Disneyland Parks, I might have some grim news for you. My dream in life waws to eventually work for WDI, so when I discussed about working there with someone, now Im unsure about what I really want to do in the future.

    In one of my classes, my professor had worked for WDI during the Indiana Jones project and earlier projects. So I asked him how and what steps I would have to take to get involved with WDI in the future.

    These were his exact words. "You do NOT want to work for WDI. First they work you to death, around 80 hours a week on a 40 hour Salary. Then they work you so hard that when you quit, its no problem becuase a line of 3000 engineers waiting behind you just get picked up next." Then he begins to say something about how the company had done something so that 10 years ago when the entertainment/theme park industry was booming, there were up to 3000 people in WDI, now there are around 100. "There is so much outsourcing and lay-offs, that its just not worth it."

    On a brighter note, he did say that Sustained-engineering jobs at DL itself might be a tad better to work at.

    The one group of people that Disney fails to finance and support sufficiently is the most important. It provides the quality of Disney parks that make it so popular. Without it, what do we really have to look forward to? I really hope they can change this. I really wanted to work at WDI, but not in these conditions... Any thoughts/light on this topic?


    "Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary... Impossible is nothing."
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    Quote Originally Posted by KISSman View Post
    In the grand scope of life, there's nothing actually cool about being knowledgeable about an amusement park.

  2. #2

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    Re: What happened to WDI?

    I don't know...read the below (copied from another forum, in response to "Chris," an individual who did not get the job he was looking for at Disney). It's written by an Imagineer, and does give some ideas on how to get to WDI. And by gosh, he even enjoys his job!

    Hey Chris,

    Sorry the company killed your dream... it can be rough - I know.

    At your age I walked up to an Imagineer with the swagger only an 18 year old can have, and told him I wanted a job... I can still hear his laugh to this day.

    But you know what - I didn't gripe and moan about how WDI was unfair. I didn't layout my 7 year plan of going to Universal Creative, or working for BRC or Thinkwell Creative or Paramount Parks Design group... no, I sucked it up, decided WDI is where I wanted to be and then got back to it - I listened to those that offered advice (no matter where it came from - first person, in print, or even, heaven forbid, off of a discussion board) and I kept at it... and yeah, I spent several years at Universal Creative and BRC and Thinkwell Creative and Paramount Parks Design and other jobs while I got the experience I needed to have the swagger to walk in to WDI and ask for a job.

    And you know what - a decade later, I'm there... and I love it... and (as hard is this is for you to understand at 18 - and I know how hard it is, seems like I was just there myself!)... I now know there was NO way I was ready to be at WDI at 18. I can recognize now that everything I had to do while I waited for my chance... those are the skills and the knowledge and the experience that got me to WDI in the first place.

  3. #3

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    Re: What happened to WDI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Y more J View Post
    The one group of people that Disney fails to finance and support sufficiently is the most important. It provides the quality of Disney parks that make it so popular. Without it, what do we really have to look forward to? I really hope they can change this. I really wanted to work at WDI, but not in these conditions... Any thoughts/light on this topic?
    I really think the Eisner years haven't been kind to WDI... It seems the unit has become reactionary to the whims of Jay "More Pirates and Jungle Gyms" Rasselo.

    On top of this you have Tony Baxter, who I believe gave up believing. Wants to turn DCA into a strip mall. I think because he doesn't have any ideas he thinks he can get approved. They stopped believing in themselves...

    You want to know where the magic is right now? Creative Entertainment. It operates like software, creating something new that they can change every 18 months. They hold on to buildings in order so that WDI can't touch them...
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    Re: What happened to WDI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Y more J View Post

    These were his exact words. "You do NOT want to work for WDI. First they work you to death, around 80 hours a week on a 40 hour Salary. Then they work you so hard that when you quit, its no problem becuase a line of 3000 engineers waiting behind you just get picked up next."
    First issue that stands out to me is.. that quoted Imagineer saw working at WDI as "work". It would seem to me that the only reason to stay at any job more than your paid hours is because you really love what you're doing and you could not stand leaving a job half done. At Disney you work for Disney, not money.

    Second, I'd revise the number of engineers to 2750.
    "As usual he's taken over the coolest spot in the house"- Father re: Orville 1963

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    Re: What happened to WDI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Orville View Post
    First issue that stands out to me is.. that quoted Imagineer saw working at WDI as "work". It would seem to me that the only reason to stay at any job more than your paid hours is because you really love what you're doing and you could not stand leaving a job half done. At Disney you work for Disney, not money.

    Second, I'd revise the number of engineers to 2750.
    Interesting. Thats where I saw myself different then his situation. I WANT to work at Disney becuase I was always in fascination with the way they built and ran the attractions. I too want to find a job that i want to enjoy doing and I really love Disneyland parks. However, the 80 hours a week on a 40 hour a week sounds accurate, and thats just too many hours for no matter what you do... I really hope he was slightly exaggerating, but seeing how Disney is run by, I wouldnt be surprised if he was 100% right about the work hours. Imagine... thats about 16 hours of work in a day, 5 times a week. Theres no life in that.

    Glad to hear that theres around 2750.


    "Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary... Impossible is nothing."
    -Adidas
    Quote Originally Posted by KISSman View Post
    In the grand scope of life, there's nothing actually cool about being knowledgeable about an amusement park.

  6. #6

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    Re: What happened to WDI?

    He also kept mentioning that the last "real" project was Indy. I'm not sure what he meant but can he possibly mean that the Imagineers arent being involved in projects as much as we like to see? Maybe there aren't going to be many more quality attractions after that?

    See cus i was confused since the subs and midway are coming out, maybe Disney is using some other company to make their rides...


    "Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary... Impossible is nothing."
    -Adidas
    Quote Originally Posted by KISSman View Post
    In the grand scope of life, there's nothing actually cool about being knowledgeable about an amusement park.

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    Re: What happened to WDI?

    It's funny that you bring this up. I'm 10 years older than you and hearing things just like that are what have held me back from pursuing anything close to that field. Not to mention the fact that I didn't take classes to help me.....my fault on that one.
    But, I haven't given up. It is my dream and I will keep trying to make it happen. I truly believe my creativy and ideas are too good to be missed and one day I hope to be able to present those to Disney. I won't give up and it's something I REALLY want so I'm not giving up. I hope you don't either. Like you said, it's where we "want" to work.

  8. #8

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    Re: What happened to WDI?

    Well it helps now that Lassetter is back. All the attention to detail and the little things true fans get will be back also.
    I'm not sure if it will ever be like it used to be as far as WDI though.

  9. #9

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    Re: What happened to WDI?

    I'm optimistic about WDI's future right now. Iger wants to overhaul a lot of the company, and Lassiter wants Disney on the top of the creative heap. Right now, the focus is on animation because it's virtually non-existent as of now, whereas the parks are in relatively better shape. I think after animation is in a stable position, the focus will be shifted to WDI and the parks in general.

  10. #10

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    Re: What happened to WDI?

    Quote Originally Posted by AEGuy42 View Post
    I'm optimistic about WDI's future right now. Iger wants to overhaul a lot of the company, and Lassiter wants Disney on the top of the creative heap. Right now, the focus is on animation because it's virtually non-existent as of now, whereas the parks are in relatively better shape. I think after animation is in a stable position, the focus will be shifted to WDI and the parks in general.
    Thats good to hear. Hopefulyl within 5 years, they'll go back to doing things the good ol' traditional ways.


    "Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary... Impossible is nothing."
    -Adidas
    Quote Originally Posted by KISSman View Post
    In the grand scope of life, there's nothing actually cool about being knowledgeable about an amusement park.

  11. #11

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    Re: What happened to WDI?

    What I'm curious about right now is the process. From the last few updates/changes to Disneyland, it seems like it's been an idea from TDA and not from WDI, trying to invent new things on their own...it sounds like that TDA person who has no background in Imagineering randomly decides to change or update something and THEN sets WDI to work...and even if WDI does get together to come up with things, they're not heard. Am I understanding this right? Does anyone know?

  12. #12

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    Re: What happened to WDI?

    Quote Originally Posted by pineapplewhipaddict View Post
    What I'm curious about right now is the process. From the last few updates/changes to Disneyland, it seems like it's been an idea from TDA and not from WDI, trying to invent new things on their own...it sounds like that TDA person who has no background in Imagineering randomly decides to change or update something and THEN sets WDI to work...and even if WDI does get together to come up with things, they're not heard. Am I understanding this right? Does anyone know?
    My understanding it's Rasselo and his team at Disney Parks and Resourts... They can't seem to wipe theirn noses without aproval from his "streemlined" aproval process... TDA is left out of the picture. Thus Ouimet left.
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    Re: What happened to WDI?

    It must be hard to have ideas and want to make things better or new and always be turned down. I don't blame WDI or Oumiet for being discouraged or leaving.

  14. #14

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    Re: What happened to WDI?

    To say the least WDI is definitely not what it used to be. The days of Walt are gone folks....an unfortunate reality that we have to face. As for saying that you get worked 80 hours a day with a 40 hour paycheck I say this: Everyone who works at WDI today WANTS to be there. It is their dream just like some of us have. I certaintly do not think they look at what they design as work, but just having a great time doing what they love.

    I also think that Universal Creative grabbed a bunch of departing imagineer's at one point (which explains why Islands of Adventure is a well-themed park). So maybe WDI isn't exactly the place to be anymore. There are plenty of other talented people working out in the theme park biz, its just Disney and their imagineers are the most well known.

    As for wanting to work there, I would say never give up on your dreams. But in today's extremely competitive themed amusement industry I would say maybe Disney isn't the end all be all these days.

    Also I believe Disney has been outsourcing many things for the theme parks for a very long time.
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  15. #15

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    Re: What happened to WDI?

    To be fair, WDI is (was?) a fairly large organization. Everyone from the person taking calls to the guy painting the model is an "Imagineer."

    While there's a few members who have profiles that stand out like rock stars compared to the rest, your average worker there doesn't get the perks and luxuries the big shots do. And since cuts have reduced the number of average workers, the ones remaining are being tasked with doing more and more.

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