Back in November, we learned that Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde plans to retire in January. With his retirement just around the corner, Rohde reflected on his time creating Disney magic with the Orange County Register.

  • Rohde will retire from Walt Disney Imagineering on Monday, January 4.
  • He became a Walt Disney Imagineer at the age of 25 and spent 40 years with the company.
  • Rohde reflected on his time a Disney and spoke a bit about how we wants to be remembered:
    • “If you want to do this work — if you want somebody to hand you truckloads of money and power — you need to be that person who is capable of being entrusted with that. I don’t mean that in a greedy way. I mean with dignity, integrity, self respect and reliability. And still be creative. I’d rather be remembered for those lessons than as a tiger in a boardroom. That was a bit foolhardy.”
  • To read Rohde’s full interview, check out the Orange County Register.

About Joe Rohde:

  • Rohde began his career at Walt Disney Imagineering in 1980, working on EPCOT’s World Showcase pavilions, specifically Mexico and later Norway. He also worked on Captain EO, the 1983 New Fantasyland project at Disneyland, and the Adventurer’s Club at Walt Disney World’s Pleasure Island.
  • Pitching the idea in a board room full of executives just by bringing in a live tiger to showcase the thrill of wild animals, It was his turn as Lead Designer for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park that garnered much acclaim. His designs added so much detail, history, and culture into a brand new project that pushed the bar of immersive storytelling at the fourth Walt Disney World theme park.
  • This level of design and detail continued with new projects at the park, like Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain and even Pandora: The World of Avatar, which he admittedly was skeptical to take on until he realized the themes of the film were complementary to the conversation and preservation messages of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
  • Rohde also tackled projects outside of the “new species of theme park,” and was heavily involved with the development of Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa in Hawaii. He was also on the Lighthouse Point project, a new port of call that is currently in development for the Disney Cruise Line.
  • Rohde also was the face of Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout at Disney California Adventure and was involved early on in the Marvel expansion that became Avengers Campus, which is opening soon at Disney California Adventure.