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CalArts competes in Disney contest

Local team takes second in Imagineering design competition

Posted: February 1, 2014 10:31 p.m.
Updated: February 1, 2014 10:31 p.m.

A team made up of students from Valencia’s California Institute of the Arts took home second-place honors in the “Imaginations” competition put on by Walt Disney Imagineering, an arm of the Walt Disney Company responsible for developing the company’s parks, resorts and attractions.

This year’s competition, held in Glendale, required teams to select large and densely populated area and create an attraction or experience that “temporarily or permanently transforms the city for the enjoyment of its citizens and visitors” and uses existing infrastructure.

The team from CalArts created an entry called “Time Embassy,” where guests could experience what it would be like to travel back to ancient Rome via luxury, “time-traveling” taxi.

The CalArts team finished second out of the six finalist teams that participated in the competition last week. First place went to a team from Carnegie Mellon University.

Criteria used to judge entries is much the same as the criteria assigned to those that work in Imagineering, including a team’s ability to tell an engaging or compelling story, collaborate across different backgrounds or disciplines and have a good understanding of the market the team proposes building an attraction in.

Members of the finalist teams visited Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale last week to make professional presentations to the judging panel. During the week, they also had the opportunity to interview for paid internships and take a behind-the-scenes tour of Disneyland, where they examined the park from the viewpoint of those who work in Imagineering.

Imagineering, a portmanteau of “imagination” and “engineering,” is the organization that creates Disney theme parks, resorts, cruise ships and attractions.

The purpose of the competition, according to officials, is to promote diversity and enable those that participate to gain practical knowledge in the design realm.

At the same time, it allows participants to showcase their talent for creative and innovative thinking for potential recruitment.


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