Iconic Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde Will Retire in January

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Disney Legend and Imagineering icon Joe Rohde has announced he will be retiring. He will be ending his 40-year career on January 4th, 2021.

The Walt Disney Imagineering Instagram posted this statement this morning.

After an illustrious 40-year Imagineering career, Joe Rohde just shared his plan to retire on Jan. 4, 2021. We can’t thank Joe enough for his infectious passion, being an incredible teacher and mentor, and for inspiring generations of Disney Imagineers and guests from around the world. Wishing @JoeRohde all the best in his next journey and on the many, many more adventures yet to come.

Rohde started his career working for Imagineering as a model designer for EPCOT and built up quite a resume of amazing attractions and entire theme parks. Here are some of his most popular contributions.

Expedition Everest – Opened on April 7th 2006

Disney’s Aulani Resort – Opened on August 29th 2011

Pandora – World of Avatar – Opened on May 27th 2017

Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Opened on April 22nd 1998

Guardians Of The Galaxy Mission Breakout – Opened May 27th 2017

Here is the statement from Joe Rhode’s personal Instagram account just a few minutes ago:


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. Every day of my life since then has been a learning experience. I’m very glad to have had that opportunity, and proud of the work that has been done, not just by me, but by all my fellow Imagineers, and especially those who worked by my side over the decades. But 40 years is a long time, and this strange quiet time seems like a great opportunity to slip away without too much disruption. 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. We encourage a culture of storytellers, not just amongst ourselves but among our guests and our fans, and because of this, there is a strong temptation to take this moment and turn it into a story. But what story? I think it’s a coming of age story. I started at Disney as a child, and I learned almost all my life lessons there, developed my confidence, recognized my skills and weaknesses, and went on to work with both… and do what could be done. I could stay forever, but that is like remaining in another kind of womb. I want to see what a grown man might be able to do on his own. This site here is not really for Disney. It’s for us. I imagine that there are many of you who I will be sad that I will no longer be a daily part of the Disney company, and there will be some of you who will drift away and no longer follow my ruminations because they feel they aren’t relevant. But I will still be here. And I will still be thinking about things, and doing things, and talking about things… Because that’s kind of what I do. I mentioned in my departure note and I will mention here again the tremendous debt that I owe to our guests and our fans who have been so generous. Working as an Imagineer has made me a good designer, but it is all of you who have made me a better person.

Joe Rohde has definitely left his lasting impression on the Walt Disney Company. He is right up there with the greats such as Bob Gurr, Tony Baxter, and Marc Davis. From all of us here at the Disinsider we wish you a very happy retirement Mr. Rohde. And thank you for sharing your mind with all of us.

Stick with us here at TheDisinsider.com for all your parks news.

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