First of all, how does the designing process start? Who originally comes up with the concept or idea behind a ride? Is it a writer? Engineer? Group decision?
What’s next from there? Does a story writer script it, then pass it on to a engineer to see how viable the project is? Or is a ride conceptualized, then handed over to a writer to script just the dialogue?
At WDI, there was no one way an idea came about. Sometimes they were a quantified business request from the operator (E-ticket $70m budget, 2000THRC, opens EPCOT 2001, 18-24 age target, thrill ride.) Or an inspiration from a creative executive or Imagineer. Usually, budget is assigned to a need as in above and a group is formed to address it. When a hot solution is arrived at, it is pitched to creative management and if it is embraced, it is fleshed out in a variety of ways. Sketches, models, written treatments are all done to determine the feasibility of the idea. The engineers, estimators, marketers, operators, all look at this blue sky idea and come away with projections of attendance, budget projections of cost, operational feasibility and even technical risk assessment. A business plan determines all of these factors together as a feasibility stage.
All going well, the job gets further defined as it is potentially viable and becomes more designed and technically investigated. Estimates become tighter and the script gets more real as well. Design development lays the groundwork for the final funding of the job to go into production. It goes to corporate for approval and the big check to actually build with a firm deadline, opening, technical risk factor, etc…
Next is the actual production and implementation of the show. the script is now finalized, even listing in a descriptive form outlining the elements and creative action of every set piece is locked down in a scope document.
Nomenclature and graphics are also written into separate deliverables in the show. Graphic labels on bottles on a shelf, to big marquees and window signs are written by the show writer to be cleared by legal and incorporated into design packages.
– Eddie Sotto
CEO Sotto Inc.
Former Senior Vice President
Walt Disney Imagineering