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Joe Rohde announces retirement from Walt Disney Imagineering

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joe rohde walt disney imagineering

Joe Rohde, a veteran of Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI), has announced his retirement after 40 years with the company in a post on Instagram.

Rohde confirmed the news on Monday (November 23). He wrote: “I’m sure by now many of you have come across the news that I am retiring from Walt Disney Imagineering.

“It has been 40 years since I stepped foot in the door at age 25, not knowing anything about theme parks, Disney, or what it meant to work for a big company,” he added.

Rohde served as a creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering. He began his career in 1980 as a model designer on EPCOT, and continued with projects at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland Paris.

Joe Rohde led the team behind Animal Kingdom

 

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A post shared by Joe Rohde (@joerohde)

He led the team that conceptualised, designed and constructed Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida. He also oversaw the Villages Nature Eco-Resort adjacent to Disneyland Paris.

In addition, he led the team behind Pandora: The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom and Guardians of the Galaxy, Mission: Escape at Disney California Adventure.

Rohde said his time at Walt Disney Imagineering “has been a learning experience”, adding that he’s “very glad to have had that opportunity”.

“But 40 years is a long time, and this strange quiet time seems like a great opportunity to slip away without too much disruption,” said Rohde.

WDI president Bob Weis honours Joe Rohde

 

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A post shared by Bob Weis (@bobweis)

“If I wait, I will once again be in the middle of another huge project and by the time that is done, I would be truly old. I’m not that old yet and there are things I want to do that cannot be done here.”

Walt Disney Imagineering president Bob Weis also honoured Joe on Instagram, writing: “Joe has committed forty years to bringing dynamic, inventive, and diverse projects to Disney parks.”

“Today, Joe announced his plans to retire from the company, and while I respect and accept his decision, I know he will remain part of our Imagineering family, a mentor to our current and future generation, and certainly the best example to our worldwide audience of what it is to be an Imagineer.”

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Bea Mitchell

A journalist specialising in entertainment and attractions, Bea loves theme parks (mainly Disney) and is particularly interested in things of a gothic, horror or fantasy nature.

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