As SWSC readers already know, I grew up under the spell of Walt Disney Imagineering from about age 5 when I first visited Disneyland in the summer of 1968. I was thoroughly enchanted by the tropical thunderstorm outside the Tiki Room, bound for adventure on the Jungle Cruise and searching for treasure with the scurvy Pirates of the Caribbean. Not long after, another visit let me materialize in the spooky realm of the Haunted Mansion and I was hooked from then on.
In 2012, I got to help create my own imaginative bookend chapter on this journey as show writer and contributing concept designer for Eli Roth’s Goretorium, an upscale year-round haunt attraction which opened this past Halloween season on the Las Vegas Strip. This $10 Million attraction allowed me to extend my love for themed entertainment, first spawned by pirate adventures and grim grinning ghosts, into creating a cutting-edge tour through a terrifying (if fictional) Las Vegas hotel’s bloody ruins. The Goretorium currently scares up Christmas-themed frights in this season’s design overlay, ready to continue shocking guests throughout the New Year.
I add my thanks to all the Imagineers past and present, including my personal show writing hero X Atencio whom I first met over a decade ago, for their collective success in elevating theme park attractions and entertainment to an art form, and for their inspiration that has inspired me to create attractions and shows that aspire to their level of excellence. Happy 60th Anniversary to everyone at Walt Disney Imagineering, and here’s to 60 more years of themed dreams we can only begin to imagine for the future!