Who, in front of the impressive attractions of any Disneyland park (whether it has been visited in person, or perhaps having only seen it in photos or videos) has never wondered how they were conceived and realized? The Imagineering Story, the docuseries we previewed for Disney + and directed by Leslie Iwers and narrated by Angela Bassett, answers our questions, retracing in six episodes the story behind the birth of the most famous theme parks in the world.
Nothing comes from nothing
The documentary begins immediately by concentrating on creation and evolution of the first Disneyland and its attractions, explaining in detail how they were first conceived, then designed and finally built. The protagonist is not only Walt Disney, the one who started all this, but also and above all the talented team of engineers, animators, singers, designers, mechanics and designers thanks to which he was able to make his brilliant ideas come true. Through interviews, original drawings, sketches and vintage videos we are accompanied by the hand in this wonderful world, observing how many brilliant minds have managed to find solutions that may seem obvious to us, children of the technological age, but which were simply unthinkable by then, if not by someone deeply visionary.
If you can dream it you can do it
On the other hand, The Imagineering Story is not just the story of the creation of some "simple" amusement park, but much more. In fact we cannot talk about Disneyland (and more generally about Disneyworld) without talking about the man who first he invested a whole life in his dream. To anyone, he used to repeat the motto “if you can dream it you can do it”, and this docuserie is the full demonstration of it. In fact, we are shown how initially Walt Disney had nothing in hand except a handful of ideas, in which he believed blindly. He believed in it so much that he mortgaged his house and his insurance in order to create what would become one of the largest and most profitable empires in the world. His enthusiasm and confidence were simply overwhelming, so as to involve anyone who listened to him in his projects, then thought to be crazy.
From the words of all those who knew him and worked with him, not only a profound one emerges respect, but also the gratitude to have had someone who believed in them, probably more than they believed themselves, spurring them to give more every day by exceeding their limits.
A name, a guarantee
As already said, to direct this splendid journey into ideas is Leslie Iwerks, a name that perhaps will not say anything to most, but which instead will thrill fans of comics and animation. In fact, Leslie is the granddaughter of Ub Iwerks, Mickey Mouse's first designer and Walt Disney's oldest friend. Uub's son, Leslie's father, Don Iwerks entered the Studios in 1950 and was one of the most important Imagineering, collaborating not only in the creation of the first Disneyland but also in EPCOT the city of the future that Disney could not see completed and which today is part of DisneyWorld in Florida in Orlando.
Good old Walt would have liked this documentary a lot: an interesting timely, precise and never banal journey behind the scenes of the realization of his dreams, dreams that he would never have been able to make reality without the help of his "Imagineering", brilliant individuals, eccentric engineers with futuristic ideas, dreams that after all have become milestones in the imagination of millions of young and old all over the world, and will continue to make us "happily ever after".