Scott Trowbridge

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Scott Trowbridge
Scott Trowbridge at IAAPA (38390289786) (cropped).jpg
Trowbridge after the "Legends: Adapting IPs for Parks and Attractions. What Works, What Does Not" panel at IAAPA IAE 2017
Born1966 (age 53–54)[1][2]
EducationUSC School of Cinematic Arts, 1988[2]
OccupationTheme park designer
EmployerWalt Disney Imagineering

Scott Trowbridge is an American entertainment creator currently serving as Portfolio Creative Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, the design and production division for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products; a division of the Walt Disney Company.[1][3][4] Before Disney, Trowbridge was active in film and theatre production, and held leadership roles within Universal Creative, the design and development arm of Universal Parks and Resorts.[2][5] In 2007, Trowbridge left Universal to join Walt Disney Imagineering to lead Disney's Research & Development division and Blue Sky Creative Studio.[6] In 2015, he started a new studio at Imagineering dedicated to developing Lucasfilm and Star Wars projects.[7]

Early life[edit]

Trowbridge grew up in St. Louis, Missouri where he attended Lindbergh High School.[8] In 2016, Lindbergh awarded a Distinguished Alumni Award to Trowbridge.[8] After Lindbergh, Trowbridge attended USC's well-regarded School of Cinematic Arts.[2]


Live theatre[edit]

Before developing theme parks and location based entertainment, Trowbridge produced live theatre productions. His first Disney connection may have come while producing "Tiger Lady," a period drama that starred Beauty and the Beast star Paige O'Hara with set designs by Joe Cashman, with whom he would later reunite at Disney's Imagineering.[5][9]

Trowbridge also worked with Los Angeles' famous Groundlings improvisational comedy troupe and school.[2]

Universal Studios[edit]

In the early '90s, Trowbridge joined Universal Creative and has often been associated with technically challenging and innovative projects and new technologies.[1][10][11] When describing The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man to Wired Magazine before it opened in 1999, Trowbridge said about the blend of art and technology, "If it works, it'll be like a good magic trick."[2] Often cited as one of the best theme park rides in the world,[12][13] Trowbridge led the Spider-Man creative team and the attraction has since won many awards including winning Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Award for Best Dark Ride for twelve consecutive years from 1999 to 2010. (In 2011, the top spot went to another Trowbridge project, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.)

Trowbridge continued to lead project teams on new attractions like Universal's Revenge of the Mummy which innovated the combination of traditional dark ride techniques with roller-coaster thrills. At a news conference in New York in February 2004, Trowbridge told the New York Times, "Traditionally, theme park attractions have had to make a choice: roller coaster thrill ride or an immersive dark ride,'' continuing''We have been striving to find a way to put together the best of both worlds in one experience."[14] Trowbridge added, ''That takes advances in technology we've been working on for a long time.''[14]

In May 2007, Universal Studios and Warner Brothers confirmed the rumors Universal was working on a Harry Potter-based theme park project.[15][16] Characterized as "a theme park within a theme park," The Wizarding World of Harry Potter became one of the most anticipated theme park additions ever.[17] Trowbridge made the announcement in a live webcast from Dumbledore's office set at Leavesden Studios alongside Stuart Craig, the Production Designer of the Potter films.[18][19] Trowbridge introduced Craig's involvement in the project and reassured Potter fans that "We're really going to the people who know this world best to ensure that level of authenticity."[20] The The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and its ground-breaking attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, opened at Universal Orlando Resort on June 18, 2010;[21] at Universal Studios Japan on July 15, 2014;[22] and at Universal Studios Hollywood on April 7, 2016.[23]

Walt Disney Imagineering[edit]

In October 2007, the Orlando Sentinel newspaper reported that Trowbridge was leaving Universal to join Disney. Industry experts speculated that with the Wizarding World creative planning already complete, Disney might be able to offer more challenging projects as the vice president for creative research and development.[6] Trowbridge is not known to have commented on the reasons behind the change.

Trowbridge joined Walt Disney Imagineering overseeing its technology R&D division, and, its Blue Sky Creative Studio.[4] Trowbridge has often advocated for new forms of immersive experience combining artificial characters, more personal experiences and more interactive experiences.[10][24][25] In 2015, Trowbridge told The Verge about Disney's elaborate ARG (Alternate Reality Game) that pulled participants into the backstory of the film Tomorrowland.[26] Trowbridge told The Verge, "What we’re spending a lot of time making sure we get awesome at are deeply immersive, participatory experiences," and, "More and more, technology is allowing us to do this. I think culture is kind of inviting us to do this, and frankly, I kind of believe there’s a changing form of narrative."[27] Trowbridge is also active in developing technologies related to aviation and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.[28] Trowbridge invented many patents around the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or drones[1][29] In 2012, Disney unveiled a physical flying fire-breathing dragon, which Trowbridge worked on, as part of the opening of New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.[30][31]

With Disney's 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm, speculation about Star Wars-themed attractions grew.[32][33] And in 2014, Disney started a new Studio at Imagineering dedicated to developing Lucasfilm and Star Wars projects with Trowbridge leading the group.[7] While speculation about new Disney theme parks and attractions continued, on August 15, 2015, Disney CEO, Bob Iger announced what had been long anticipated, that Disney would build two Star Wars themed lands, at both Disneyland and at Disney Hollywood Studios.[34][35][36] In July 2017, Disney announced that these new lands would be called, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.[37]

During the 2018 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade television special, Iger introduced a video teaser showing the most finished work to date. Showcasing footage from inside the actual attractions, Trowbridge, along with Carrie Beck, a Lucasfilm story executive, described the attractions and the overall land which are scheduled to open in 2019.[38][39]

Personal life[edit]

Scott Trowbridge lives in Los Angeles, California and volunteers as a Mission Command Pilot for Angel Flight West, a nonprofit volunteer organization that provides private air transportation for children and adults with serious medical conditions.[40]


  1. ^ a b c d Martin, Hugo (February 14, 2016). "He's the creative force bringing 'Star Wars' to Disney's theme parks". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Wieners, Brad (May 1, 1999). "Scream Machine". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  3. ^ "Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Panel and Other Details Revealed for Galactic Nights on May 27". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "2015 Most Fascinating Disney People - Page 2 of 3". December 29, 2015. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Everett, Todd (July 6, 1992). "Tiger Lady". Variety. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Powers, Scott (October 23, 2007). "Universal creative exec leaves for Disney". tribunedigital-orlandosentinel. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Walt Disney Imagineering move Scott Trowbridge to a new dedicated Star Wars Studio at WDI". April 25, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Alumni Celebrate at Annual Awards Banquet". Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  9. ^ Bishop, Bryan (May 29, 2017). "Disney's most advanced animatronic ever is the highlight of the Avatar river ride". The Verge. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  10. ^ a b "A World of Pure Imagineering". Think with Google. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  11. ^ "How James Cameron's Film Tech Company Helped Disney Bring Avatar to Life in Florida". Free Enterprise. May 17, 2017. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  12. ^ MacDonald, By Brady (April 23, 2012). "Review: Transformers ride at Universal Studios Hollywood". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  13. ^ MacDonald, Brady (October 19, 2015). "25 best theme park dark rides in the world". Los Angeles Time. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  14. ^ a b Stellin, Susan (February 9, 2004). "TECHNOLOGY; High-Tech Mummy Ride Aims to Combine the Fright Factor With Roller Coaster Thrills". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  15. ^ Finke, Nikki (April 14, 2007). "EXCLUSIVE: First Ever Harry Potter Theme Park Planned At Universal Studios Florida". Deadline. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  16. ^ Finke, Nikki (May 31, 2007). "TOLDJA SO! Harry Potter 'Theme Park Within A Theme Park' Announced by Warner & Universal (See First Peek)". Deadline. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  17. ^ Weinberg, Scott (June 1, 2007). "Get Ready for "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter"". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  18. ^ Scott, David Meerman (February 23, 2009). World Wide Rave: Creating Triggers that Get Millions of People to Spread Your Ideas and Share Your Stories. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780470430453.
  19. ^ TRS, "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Announcement", YouTube, retrieved January 7, 2019
  20. ^ Ellis, Jim (May 31, 2007). "Harry Potter Theme Park Opening in Fla". Washington Post. Associated Press.
  21. ^ Bevil, Dewayne (June 19, 2010). "Fans stream into Harry Potter theme park for grand opening". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  22. ^ Bevil, Dewayne (April 18, 2014). "Universal Studios Japan: Wizarding World of Harry Potter to open July 15". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  23. ^ Alexander, Bryan (December 8, 2015). "Exclusive: Hollywood's 'Wizarding World of Harry Potter' sets its opening date". USA TODAY. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  24. ^ "Future of StoryTelling-Scott Trowbridge". Future of StoryTelling. January 12, 2019.
  25. ^ "Suspending disbelief, Disney-style". The Black Tail. July 2, 2013. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  26. ^ Andersen, Michael (July 23, 2013). ""The Optimist" Draws Fans Into Fictionalized Disney History". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  27. ^ Bishop, Bryan (May 23, 2015). "How Disney Imagineering revealed the secrets of Tomorrowland two years ago". The Verge. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  28. ^ Desmond, Kevin (June 30, 2018). Electric Airplanes and Drones: A History. McFarland. ISBN 9781476669618.
  29. ^ "Disney Invents Crazy Drone Technology!". Patent Yogi. January 12, 2019.
  30. ^ Woerner, Meredith (December 12, 2012). "Disney World builds a giant, fire-breathing dragon that can FLY". io9. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  31. ^ "Walt Disney World's new Dragon debuts above the Magic Kingdom's New Fantasyland". Theme Park Insider. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  32. ^ Krantz, Matt; Snider, Mike; Della Cava, Marco; Alexander, Bryan (October 30, 2012). "Disney buys Lucasfilm for $4 billion". USA TODAY. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  33. ^ "Disney acquires LucasFilm - are its theme parks set for a "Star Wars" bonanza?". Theme Park Tourist. October 31, 2012. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  34. ^ Zumberge, Laura Prudom, Marianne; Prudom, Laura; Zumberge, Marianne (August 15, 2015). "'Star Wars' Themed Lands Coming to Disney Parks; Harrison Ford Visits D23 Expo". Variety. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  35. ^ Glusac, Elaine (September 29, 2015). "'Star Wars': Coming to a Theme Park Near You". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  36. ^ Lowe, Kinsey; Lowe, Kinsey (August 15, 2015). "Star Wars Land Coming To Disney Parks, 4 'Star Wars' Attractions Detailed, And More – D23". Deadline. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  37. ^ Bishop, Bryan (July 15, 2017). "Disney's Star Wars-themed land will be called Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge". The Verge. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  38. ^ Levine, Arthur (December 13, 2018). "Disney World 2019 preview: Star Wars and much more". USA TODAY. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  39. ^ Wisel, Carlye (January 7, 2019). "Disneyland's New 'Star Wars' Ride Is Opening in June — and Your Score Will Haunt You for the Rest of Your Visit". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  40. ^ storycentral (May 13, 2018). "StoryWorld 3.0 : Topics, Talks & Titles — Asa Kalama & Scott Trowbridge, Walt Disney Imagineering". Medium. Retrieved January 7, 2019.

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