As he concludes an illustrious career at Walt Disney Imagineering after 40 years, Joe Rohde has taken to his social media with a farewell message.

What’s Happening:

  • Last year, famed Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde announced his retirement that would take place in January of 2021.
  • His retirement took effect today, January 4th, 2021, and Rohde took to his Instagram account to bid a fond farewell.
  • Captioning a family photo, Rohde wrote: “Well. This is it. I will be just Joe Rohde, creative guy, after today. I still plan to work some, but in new areas and new mediums, and I’d also like to just paint. I heard that the postponed Explorers Club expedition to Nunavut, way up north, is back on, so I can prepare for next August when that will happen. Since November when I announced my retirement from Imagineering, I’ve received lots of very nice congratulations and testimonials from people for whom my work has made a difference. That is gratifying and I’m very thankful to all. People have also warned me about feeling bored by retirement… but I truly have so many deferred projects that I know I cannot complete them all in any rational amount of time I may have. Books. Paintings. Sculptures. Plays. Chores. Expeditions, and time to spend with my wife Melody, whom I met when we were still in school and who has been with me through all of this huge adventure…and with my boys, now grown young men starting their own careers. As much as I have enjoyed my work, and the joy it has brought to so many…my family has always been my first and greatest love. Last night we all got together (only one lives off the Rohde campus right now) we raised our glasses and toasted. .. “Here’s to forty years.”

  • Joe Rohde started working at Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) when he was 25, and has contributed to many different projects around the world, including but not limited to Pleasure Island, Captain EO, EPCOT’s World Showcase, and most notably was the creative head of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, spearheading the entire park’s design.
  • Just a few days ago, Rohde spoke to the OC Register about his time at WDI, saying “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.”

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