During the Christmas and New Year break, the St. Patrick Catholic High School Robotics Team Tempest attended a personalized workshop at Disney as part of the Youth Education Series. In this workshop, the team was divided into groups, and each student was introduced to ways that Disney Imagineers provide optical and mechanical illusions with their light and animatronics. The students were excited to be able to walk below the floor of the Haunted Mansion and look up into the realm of illusion created by the Imagineers, now understanding the methods behind the magic.
“The most interesting part of the Disney Youth Program was being taken underneath the Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom to see how the ghost animatronics work. We were also introduced to a material called scrim that is used throughout the Haunted Mansion and other attractions in Walt Disney World to help the magic come alive. I walked away with many new perspectives from the Disney Youth Program. The program will definitely help our teamwork skills in the future at competitions. It also allowed us to see what Disney Imagineer daily life is like, which is the ultimate dream job of an engineer. I have never thought about all the work that goes behind the scenes to make Walt Disney World the most magical place on earth! It was eye opening to realize how many people and how much work it takes to make it so magical.” – SPCHS Class of 2019 Member and Robotics Club President Mary Catherine Kalil
“From Disney’s Y.E.S. program, I was able to walk away knowing that even in the most magical place on earth, math and science are important disciplines which are essential in creating the best guest experience. It was interesting to see how Disney Imagineers create the famous attractions we all know and love today by implementing mathematics and scientific principles. The program inspired me and other members of our team to look for more examples of engineering in Disney World. The most interesting part of Disney Youth Education Program, in my opinion, was the way in which a translucent material called “scrim” is used to project the reflective images of ghostly figurines onto the ballroom floor of the Haunted Mansion. I enjoyed this particular part of the program because it taught the team how a simple idea such as reflection can be used to create the cool effect of “see-through” ghosts.” – SPCHS Class of 2020 Member and Robotics Team Member Todd Fayard
The vision of the Youth Education Series is to inspire students to become creating and imaginative in their own interests and reach goals of their own. The hope of this series to provide a fun experience while it is also a learning experience of the many ways that Disney Imagineers (and Engineers) can provide magical experiences. The future of Disney depends on those who are inspired to find their own path, which might even lead them into Disney.
Team Tempest Sponsor Mrs. Debbie Worrel said, “Disney is an ultimate goal of many young engineers to be the ‘magical’ job of their future. This program provides an opportunity for students to see the ‘behind the scenes’ methods of making a fun, educational and magical environment for visitors to Disney World. Each attraction requires innovative ideas to keep things new and interesting, yet safe for visitors to the park. Imagineers have these concepts in mind when a theme is created. Each attraction takes years to design and create so that new technology and safety techniques can be implemented. The students see these up-to-date and cutting edge ideas and are involved in all of the new concepts in place to create the attractions. Our members who have any thoughts of becoming an engineer, or a STEM participant in their future, will see this role as a Disney Imagineer as a role model. It is my hope that they will see that a start in robotics and working hard to achieve their goals will one day give them a chance to reach this level of engineering.”