Imagineering at Tiffins
I dined at Tiffins restaurant with my daughter and a school friend on our last evening at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Allan, our culinary guide, explained that the food and atmosphere were inspired by the travels of Disney’s imagineers, the group of artists and engineers who design the company’s parks. Walt Disney began the practice, which continues to this day, of sending them on trips around the world in search of ideas and inspiration. The group’s name reflects the blending of imagination and engineering necessary to conceive and build Disney’s countless magical designs.
I became familiar with the imagineers and their practices decades ago. My fascination stemmed in part from my own training in art and engineering, which highlighted the practical, synergistic effects of integrating artistic creativity and the applied sciences. This awareness profoundly informed my work across technical disciplines, from electrical engineering to business strategy. I've found imagineering concepts particularly useful in integrating innovative technologies to create solutions that are much more than the simple sum of their parts. Today it includes bringing together emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and Internet-of-Things designs.
Whatever your profession, if your future travels include Orlando, Florida then I suggest a visit to Tiffin. Now that you know of the imagineers’ influence, you’ll be able to imagine the exotic locales behind the restaurant’s interesting menu and atmosphere. Ask your culinary guide about the place's history and Disney’s on-going practice of investing in creative minds. Walt Disney often reminded his crew that “it all began with a mouse.” More than half a century after his passing, the magical world he founded continues to thrive thanks to the artistic imagination and engineering creativity of groups like the imagineers. We are enriched by Mr. Disney's vision and their continuing creations.