The Imagineering Story

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The Imagineering Story
The Imagineering Story titlecard.jpg
Created byLeslie Iwerks
Written byMark Catalena
Directed byLeslie Iwerks
Narrated byAngela Bassett
ComposerJeffrey Kryka
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes6 (list of episodes)
Executive producer
  • Leslie Iwerks
ProducerMichael E. Tang
  • Mark Catalena
  • Mo Stoebe
  • Ian Arthur
Production companyIwerks & Co.
Original networkDisney+
Original releaseNovember 12 (2019-11-12) –
December 13, 2019 (2019-12-13)

The Imagineering Story is a 2019 documentary streaming television miniseries created, directed and executive produced by Leslie Iwerks. The series is focused on Walt Disney Imagineering and takes an in-depth look at the history and creation of the Disney theme parks and attractions around the world.[1] The series premiered on Disney+ at the launch date of November 12, 2019.[2]


Originally announced as a feature documentary in 2013, The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger announced that the film was being revamped as a series of six one-hour episodes for the upcoming Disney+ streaming service. In April 2019, the series was formally announced.[3][4] In August 2019, it was announced that Angela Bassett will be narrating the series.[5]


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"The Happiest Place on Earth"[6]Leslie IwerksMark CatalenaNovember 12, 2019 (2019-11-12)
Focuses on the creation and evolution of Disneyland and its attractions up until Walt Disney's death, as well as Imagineering's involvement with the 1964 New York World's Fair.
2"What Would Walt Do?"[6]Leslie IwerksMark CatalenaNovember 15, 2019 (2019-11-15)
Topics covered include Roy Disney's supervision over the construction and opening of Walt Disney World and Magic Kingdom, the subsequent conception of Epcot Center, and the first international expansion with Tokyo Disneyland.
3"The Midas Touch"[7]Leslie IwerksMark CatalenaNovember 22, 2019 (2019-11-22)
Topics covered include Michael Eisner and Frank Wells' takeover of Disney, the addition of Disney-MGM Studios, the building and initial failure of Euro Disneyland, and Wells' death.
4"Hit or Miss"[7]Leslie IwerksMark CatalenaNovember 29, 2019 (2019-11-29)
Topics covered include the success of Disney Cruise Line, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Tokyo DisneySea (with inputs from Wing Chao); the unrealized projects of Disney's America and WestCOT; and the failures of Disney's California Adventure, Walt Disney Studios Park, and Hong Kong Disneyland.
5"A Carousel of Progress"[7]Leslie IwerksMark CatalenaDecember 6, 2019 (2019-12-06)
Topics covered include Bob Iger stepping in as CEO, the overhaul of California Adventure, the creation of Cars Land, the revamping of Disney attractions such as Haunted Mansion Holiday, adding Jack Sparrow to Pirates of the Caribbean, and the initial outcry of the addition of Disney characters to the Disneyland version of "It's a Small World", the creation of Mystic Manor, Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, and the announcement of Shanghai Disneyland.
6"To Infinity and Beyond"[7]Leslie IwerksMark CatalenaDecember 13, 2019 (2019-12-13)
Topics range from the groundbreaking of Shanghai Disneyland, Pandora – The World of Avatar, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and future upcoming projects.


The Imagineering Story premiered on November 12, 2019, on Disney+, in the United States and in the United Kingdom on March 24, 2020.[8]

A supplemental book based on the series written by Iwerks entitled The Imagineering Story: The Official Biography of Walt Disney Imagineering was published by Disney Editions on November 8, 2022.[9]


Critical reception[edit]

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 100% approval rating for the series with an average rating of 6.84/10, based on 13 reviews.[10] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 62 out of 100 based on 7 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[11]

Joel Keller of Decider praised the series for depicting the construction and development of Walt Disney World in Florida, and the achievements of Disney employees working at Walt Disney Imagineering, but claimed that the documentary could have been more lively.[12] Melissa Camacho of Common Sense Media rated the documentary 3 out of 5 stars, stating: "The Imagineering Story is a documentary series about the creative teams that conceptualize, design, and build Disney theme parks and their best attractions. It highlights the importance of pushing boundaries and being creative, and the role of STEAM principles in this process."[13] Gretchen Smail of IGN rated the series 6,5 out of 10, praised the documentary and found it interesting for providing information and anecdotes on the history of Disney parks, stated that the series forms a tribute to the people who created and worked on Disney's parks and attractions that highlights their innovative contributions, but claimed that the documentary does not engage with the history of The Walt Disney Company with enough balance.[14]


Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2020 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Narrator Angela Bassett ("The Happiest Place on Earth") Nominated [15]
Online Film & Television Association TV Awards Best Voice-Over Performance in an Animated Program Angela Bassett Nominated [16]


  1. ^ "Disney Original Show Reviews". DTCI Media. November 4, 2019. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  2. ^ "The Imagineering Story Media Kit". DTCI Media. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  3. ^ "Trailer For Leslie Iwerks' Documentary About Walt Disney Imagineering". DTCI Media. August 12, 2013. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  4. ^ "Walt Disney Imagineering TV Show Heading to Disney+". Slashfilm. November 10, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  5. ^ "Angela Bassett to Narrate Disney+ Docuseries 'The Imagineering Story' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. August 22, 2019. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Yamanaka, Jeanine (November 11, 2019). "Review: Disney+ Originals: "The Imagineering Story"". Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d "The Imagineering Story – Media Kit". Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International Media Center. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  8. ^ "Details Revealed on 'The Imagineering Story' Documentary Coming to Disney+". April 11, 2019. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  9. ^ "The Imagineering Story: The Official Biography of Walt Disney Imagineering". Disney Books. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  10. ^ "The Imagineering Story: Season 1 (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  11. ^ "The Imagineering Story – TV Show Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  12. ^ "Stream It Or Skip It: 'The Imagineering Story' On Disney+, A Docuseries On How Walt Disney's Imagineers Brought His Vision To Life". Decider. November 13, 2019. Retrieved May 19, 2022.
  13. ^ "The Imagineering Story - TV Review". May 11, 2020. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  14. ^ Smail, Gretchen (November 12, 2019). "Disney Plus' The Imagineering Story: Premiere Review". IGN. Retrieved May 19, 2022.
  15. ^ Low, Elaine (July 28, 2020). "'The Mandalorian,' 'Morning Show' Bust New Streamers Into Emmys Race". Variety. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  16. ^ "24th Annual TV Awards (2019-20) - Online Film & Television Association". Retrieved November 24, 2020.

External links[edit]