Storyboarding, 3D models, matrix management, computer imagery, virtual-reality headsets, and a Blue Sky Studio.
Each of those plays a role in developing new rides and new features for Disneyland and other Disney theme parks, according to two executives in the Walt Disney Co.
's 1,000-employee Imagineering division, which creates attractions for all the Disney parks.
At Imagineering's base in Glendale, whether the process begins with a spark of inspiration from an individual or with a corporate decision, it soon goes to what Imagineering calls a "storyboarding" session – a type of brainstorming session that originated with movie-makers' technique of planning scenes by making a series of sketches.
After the storyboarding meeting, people who are most interested in the project tend to join the project team. That's possible because the Imagineering division has a "matrix management" organizational structure, says Bruce Vaughn, vice president for research and development.
Employees work for a department, such as R&D, Creative Development or Show/Ride Engineering, but often are assigned to a multi-disciplinary project team and spend most of their time there.
When Imagineers aren't on a current project, they will often work at the Blue Sky Studio. It's an open area, decorated with models of past projects, that's designed for dreaming up possibilities for future work. At any one time, about 50 people are involved in blue-sky projects.