Close up of Cinderella's castle in shade
Cinderella Castle

Mickey’s 10 Commandments of Imagineering

When guests walk into a Disney theme park the best way to describe their experience is magical. But it doesn’t just happen that way by luck. A lot of time and effort goes into planning a new park, new land or even a shopping or dining experience. The men and women in charge of the planning and execution of these things are called Imagineers; and they’ve been around since the beginning (Disneyland Park).

Of course they weren’t always perfect at their job but they did have a great mentor and leader, Walt Disney. His imagination and attention to detail paved the way for Disneyland Park and all the rest of the Disney theme parks in creating a magical experience for each of us.

In the early years of WDI a list of commandments known as Mickey’s 10 commandments was put together as a guideline to help future Imagineers as they built, changed, and added onto the theme parks.

  1. Know Your Audience – You should know your main audience before you start designing.
  2. Wear Your Guest’s Shoes – Team members should experience your creation as guests do.
  3. Organize the Flow of People and Ideas – There should be logic and sequence to your story, and in the way guests experience them.
  4. Create a Wienie (Visual Magnet) – Create targets that help lead guests through your idea clearly and visibly.
  5. Communicate with Visual Literacy – Make good use of all the non-verbal forms of communication – color, shape, form, texture.
  6. Avoid Overload and Create Turn Ons – Resist the temptation to overload your audience with too much information and too many objects.
  7. Tell One Story at a Time – Stick to the story line, good stories are clear, logical and consistent.
  8. Avoid Contradictions and Maintain Identity – Details in design or content that contradict one another confuse as audience about your story or the time period it takes place in.
  9. For Every Ounce of Treatment, Provide a Ton of Treat – In our business, Walt Disney said, “You can educate people – but don’t tell them you’re doing it! Make it fun!”
  10. Keep it Up! – In a Disney park or resort, everything must work! Poor maintenance is poor show!

As Imagineers design they keep all these in mind to help give us that magic! Next time you’re walking around a Disney theme park think about some of these and see if you can see how it was applied to where you’re at. Mostly though have fun!