Walt Disney Imagineering President Barbara Bouza Set to Focus on Technology and History As She Takes Division Into the Future

Walt Disney Imagineering President Barbara Bouza is ready to bring the department into the future with more emphasis on technology, wellbeing design, immersion, and even the history of the department, as she told InPark Magazine recently.

Walt Disney Imagineering

Walt Disney Imagineering

What’s Happening:

  • Late last year, a shift in the leadership of Walt Disney Imagineering saw Barbara Bouza take the reins of Walt Disney Imagineering as their President, with Bob Weis stepping into the role once held by Disney Legend Marty Sklar, Global Imagineering Ambassador.
  • In a recent interview with InPark Magazine, Barbara shared her vision for the future of this division of the company, focusing on new ways of storytelling, yet still incorporating the history of Walt Disney Imagineering.
  • Bouza said that she will be working alongside Weis, who will be working intensely with the Archives, adding “I like this concept of marrying what we do with really understanding the rich legacy of Imagineering. I think Bob and I are going to be able to complement each other. I’m very focused on how we’re starting to look at the future, but also, how do we leverage our history?”
  • In the article, she also comments on the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, hinting that the level of immersion seen in this new experience is only the beginning of ways stories will be told at Disney Destinations in the future. The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, a simulated cruise to a galaxy far, far away is the anticipated resort experience immersing guests into a Star Wars story, with Bouza saying, “You can be like me – I may just want to sit and relax – or you could be like my kids, completely immersed…And how we interact with a young child may be different than with an adult. I think you’re going to see many more projects based on how we create these stories that are uniquely Disney, where the guest is drawn to be part of that full experience – everything down to the food, the rooms, the entertainment and the relationship with the characters and with the stories. That’s something that’s getting us all very, very excited.”

Walt Disney Imagineering

Walt Disney Imagineering

  • Another interesting note in the interview is the brief mention of what happened at the Disneyland Resort while the park was shut down amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, Imagineers reportedly performed high fidelity scans of the parks, turning the park essentially into a digital file that can be used in design phases. According to Bouza, these digital files allow the Imagineers to model potential changes and digitally design with precision, as well as test ways to improve the flow of guests through the park. With the scans in hand, this work can be continued without having to shut down attractions for physical analysis or interrupting the guest experience. This tech can also reportedly be used to conceive and create new ways for guests to experience the parks and their features more accurately in different places, suggesting that it could even possibly be from their own homes.
  • This effort could also come in handy in upcoming changes to Disneyland Park, where Bouza’s background in wellbeing designs are encouraging Imagineers to explore ways to allow guests to decompress or experience a less stimulating environment, while maintaining Disney quality and storytelling in the space. Or even in other ways, with what Bouza calls the “connected experience,” adding that “We believe in this idea, where we’re taking the shared experience where you’re physically together, but it’s powered from a digital standpoint. I don’t want to give away too many of the goodies on the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, but one of the things that appealed to me about joining Imagineering was this idea about technology, around the idea of looking at characters in innovative ways, through robotics and other layers. These are layers where we can engage with a guest in new ways. It’s a very smart approach, but also very different than what we’ve done before.”
  • When Bouza joined Imagineering in 2019, she met with then-President Bob Weis who showcased all the projects in development at Walt Disney Imagineering, and emphasized within her the importance of Imagineering embracing a different future, with solutions coming from a diverse range of perspectives, telling her “We need to understand what’s going on outside of our castle walls.”
  • Bouza is currently the president of Walt Disney Imagineering and leading the division as it moves from Glendale, California to Lake Nona, FL, just on the edge of Orlando. Bouza said of the upcoming move, “While relocating a large creative, highly specialized organization like Imagineering to Lake Nona is a challenge. it is an unprecedented opportunity that will open new doors and create a global platform. We are focusing on innovation through collaboration.

Laughing Place recommends MouseFanTravel.com for all your Disney travel planning