Creating Worlds of Adventure: Theme Park Design in Orlando

Creating Worlds of Adventure: Theme Park Design in Orlando

Orlando is one of the world's premier travel destinations. More than 50-million people visit every year, enjoying the multitude of attractions, shows, and rides produced by theme park designers.

By blending creativity and innovative technological advancements, the creations of theme park designers have enabled us to experience the thrills of an African river excursion, race down a Himalayan mountain, encounter swashbuckling pirates, and enjoy a spooky tour of an ominous haunted house, all without ever leaving the safety confines of a themed environment.

Legendary amongst theme park designers are Disney's Imagineers. Walt Disney Imagineering (also known as WDI or simply Imagineering) is the master planning, creative development, engineering, production, and research and development arm of The Walt Disney Company.

Walt Disney Imagineering boasts an extensive resume - since its inception in 1952, the company has created eleven theme parks, a town, two cruise ships, dozens of resort hotels, water parks, shopping centers, sports complexes, and various other entertainment venues .

"It was all started by a mouse", Walt Disney once famously said. Thankfully, there appears to be plenty of imagination to go around among today's theme park designers.


Theme park designers and master planners are unique in that they design to entertain, amaze and transform their audience through the right balance between immersive environments, high-tech thrills, and high-impact emotional content.

Theme Park designers employ a variety of techniques including experiential, environmental, and breakthrough theatrical and film techniques; their aim being to create a theme park or attraction that visitors will want to revisit again and again.

Theme Park designers possess a broad range of skills and talents, and thus over 150 different job titles fall under the banner of theme park design. So to be involved in this industry, you simply need to find a specialty career that you like, and go out and pursue it. For a breakdown of theme park design careers visit

According to industry veterans, the average theme park job lasts 18 months and can be located anywhere in the world. The majority of work is done on a project basis, so it is important for successful designers to network heavily so they can move around from job-to-job without much difficulty. The majority of theme park design firms are located in Los Angeles and Orlando, FL so location can be everything.

Here are some of the areas of theme park design, followed by average (median) annual earnings figures.

Education & Outlook

"Disneyland will never be long as there is imagination left in the world," Walt Disney once said.

For those who are looking to conjure up some theme park magic, there are currently many theme park projects planned in Dubai, China, South Korea, and Australia.

There are no college degree programs specifically in theme park design, so how can aspiring designers get the info and experience they need to jump-start a career? The answer to that question is both simple and complex. There are many hundreds of career fields involved in theme park design because it takes many disciplines in order to produce one. The real key is finding an area that you would love to work in and then becoming skilled in that area(s).

Currently, one of the most exciting projects in the theme park industry is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter located at the Universal Studios Orlando Resort. Attractions include the Wizarding World's signature ride, "The Forbidden Journey" and a life-size recreation of the village of Hogsmeade. The breakthrough attraction, a fusion of robotic technology and filmed scenes that has never been achieved until now, takes guests through scenes and rooms from the blockbuster movies inside a richly detailed remake of Hogwarts Castle. "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" was recently named best new attraction by Theme Park Insider.

"We have created an entirely new way to place our guests into the heart of one of the most compelling stories of our time," said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative."What we have done will forever change the theme park attraction experience"

Design Programs & Career Schools in Orlando

The following schools of higher education are recommended for careers in theme park design:

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