In a time where there seems to be change every day, it appears that there will be more change in the ranks of Imagineering at The Walt Disney Company. Long-time Imagineer Kevin Rafferty has announced that he will retire on April 1st of this year bringing an end to his 42-year career with the company.
Kevin grew up less than 10 miles from Disneyland in Orange County California. As a matter of fact, that’s where he started his career with Disney. He started as a dishwasher at The Plaza Inn at Disneyland. One day while he was picking up his uniform he saw a sign saying “Mickey Wants You” on the bulletin board. WED Enterprises was looking for people to help in the development of something called EPCOT and he was very intrigued. And that is how he got his start in Imagineering with the Walt Disney Company.
After both the publication of his book, Magic Journey: My Fantastical Walt Disney Imagineering Career, and the opening of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, the first-ever ride-through attraction to feature Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse—at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Rafferty says his nearly 43-year journey with Disney has reached its peak. “I wanted to go out at the top of my game if you will,” he explains. “It just felt right.”
“When I started, there were only two Disney parks in the world. It’s really been my honor, my pleasure, and my joy to be around and watch the expansion of the magic that Walt Disney Imagineering has made,” he says. “I’ve been there for all that. It’s been an amazing ride.”
Rafferty has had an amazing impact on the Disney parks over his career. He was influenced by some of the best Imagineers to ever be part of the WED team such as Claude Coats, Herb Ryman, and X Atencio. Here are some of the many projects that Kevin Rafferty had his hand in.
Tower of Terror
Rock n Rollercoaster starring Aerosmith
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
From all of us here at the Disinsider we want to take a second to Happy Retirement Mr. Rafferty and thank you for all of your amazing contributions you have made to The Walt Disney Company.