Disney’s theme parks may be closed worldwide, but the company is giving its fans an online treat instead, welcoming remote visitors for virtual tours of the rarely seen Imagineering HQ. 

MAQUETTE SCULPTING BY WALT DISNEY IMAGINEERS FOR JESSIE’S CRITTER CAROUSEL – Walt Disney Imagineers sculpt maquettes for Jessie’s Critter Carousel, a new attraction coming to Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure park. Inspired by Jessie’s wilderness friends featured in Woody’s Roundup television show from “Toy Story 2,” Jessie’’s Critter Carousel is a classic boardwalk carousel play set with a whimsical spin from those colorful Pixar characters
Walt Disney Imagineering's virtual tours offer a behind-the-scenes look at the company's creative headquarters. Here, Imagineers sculpt maquettes for Jessie’s Critter Carousel, an attraction that opened last year at Disney California Adventure park © Aaron Poole/Disneyland Resort

The series is designed to show off “some of the unique spaces where innovation and storytelling combine to bring Disney stories, characters and worlds to life,” the Disney Parks Blog reports. While the release schedule isn’t publicly available yet, at this point it looks like the series will comprise just a handful of videos. The first debuted on March 31 and introduced the general public to Walt Disney Imagineering – “the only think tank created by Walt Disney himself,” according to the blog post. 

The second episode premiered this week, with host Jonathan Friday giving a quick peek inside the Sculpture Studio, a space once overseen by Blaine Gibson, the legendary sculptor and animator responsible for some of the studio’s most iconic pieces, from the Haunted Mansion’s ghosts to the statue of Walt and Mickey Mouse that greets guests at some of the parks. It’s where Gibson’s pieces are stored to this day, as well as more recent work from the Imagineers.

No word yet on what subjects the rest of the series will cover, but for those in search of a more hands-on experience, there’s also a free online course called Imagineering in a Box, an interactive deep-dive into design and engineering that teaches participants to create their own theme park experience. The comprehensive program features 32 videos to show them the ropes, and it’s suitable for all ages. 

“When I was growing up, I would visit the Disney Parks with my family and ask, ‘how did they do that!?’” creative development exec Josh Gorin wrote in mid-March. “I watched Disney’s behind-the-scenes TV specials and realized that Imagineering was an actual ‘job’ — it inspired what I studied in school and ultimately led to my current role… We are so excited to share with learners of all ages the unique ways that science, technology, engineering, and math can be combined with creativity and design to create larger-than-life entertainment for millions all around the world.”

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