UCLA A.UD current students, Dema Jajmurad, Krysten Burton, Derek Woods, and Jacom Bloom win third place for their  Rio De Janeiro-based concept “Ilhavela,” a weekly Illumination Extravaganza that leads visitors and locals on a chase through the city, bringing people together from disparate regions in Disney Imagineering's Imaginations competition!  


University Students Take Honors for Innovation and Creativity 

In Disney Imagineering’s Imaginations Competition 

January 31, 2014 -- Glendale, CA -- The winners of the annual Walt Disney Imagineering Imaginations design competition were announced today during an awards luncheon at Imagineering headquarters in Glendale, California. Imaginations is created and sponsored by Walt Disney Imagineering to promote diversity and enable participants to showcase their talents and gain practical knowledge in design. At the same time, it allows Imagineers to look for the next generation of creative and innovative thinkers for potential recruitment. 


For this year’s competition, students from American universities and colleges were given a unique challenge: There are many wonderful urban environments around the world where millions of people live, work and play every day. Select a large and densely populated urban area and design an experience that temporarily or permanently transforms the city for the enjoyment of its citizens and visitors. The experience must take advantage of existing infrastructure, and may be above, below or anywhere in between existing development. 


First place was awarded to Angeline Chen, Christina Brant, John Brieger and Matthew of Carnegie Mellon University. Their project, “Antipode,” is a two-week-long festival of cultural exchange that simultaneously unfolds in Bangkok and Lima, Peru. Bangkok and Lima are antipodal to one another, meaning that they are on the exact opposite ends of the globe. A magical “whispering trees’’ serves as portals between the two cities and as an entry to the narrative surrounding the festival. Throughout the two weeks, memories “stored” in the tree in Lima will leak out into Bangkok, and vice versa. 


Second place was awarded to the team from California Institute of the Arts for “Time Embassy,” an attraction that invites guests to explore the mystery and wonder of time travel, experience the streets of Rome during the height of the Italian Renaissance, soar over the Coliseum and get the best seats in the house, all within a luxury, time-traveling taxi. The four students on the team are Amanda Lui, Kirk Pierron, Lorie Wheeler and Sarah Craig. 

Third place was awarded to the team from University of California, Los Angeles, for their Rio De Janeiro-based concept “Ilhavela,” a weekly Illumination Extravaganza that leads visitors and locals on a chase through the city, bringing people together from disparate regions. The four members of the team are Dema Hajmurad, Derek Woods, Jacob Bloom and Krysten Burton. 


This marks the third consecutive year that a Carnegie Mellon University team has placed in the top three. In last year’s competition, students from Carnegie Mellon University placed second for “Legenda Emas at Jakarta, Indonesia,” and in 2012 its team placed second for “Create the Night Finale.” 


Twenty-four college students from six universities were finalists in Walt Disney Imagineering’s 23rd Imaginations design competition. A position at Walt Disney Imagineering is often found on surveys of “dream occupations,” and the company uses Imaginations as a way to reach out to the widest possible talent pool for its future. The top three placed teams were awarded cash prizes with the first place team receiving $3,000. An additional $1,000 grant was awarded to the first place team, to be equally divided among its sponsoring universities and/or organizations. 


The six teams of finalists visited Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale from January 27 to 31 to make professional presentations to the judging panel, interview for paid internships and get a behind-the-scenes tour of Disneyland from the viewpoint of Imagineers. During their week at Imagineering, the teams met and networked with Imagineers from a variety of disciplines. 


The panel of Imagineering judges applied the same criteria to the entries as they would to their own work, that include the team’s ability to collaborate across different disciplines and backgrounds; the mastery of their individual skills; whether the project provides an engaging guest experience; a good understanding of the local and tourist market in the chosen location; the ability to tell a compelling and engaging story; and knowledge and passion for the Disney brand and Walt Disney Imagineering. Additionally, the project should be unique in that it is not limited to what guests already experience at Disney parks and resorts. 


The competition is open to students from colleges and universities in the United States who are juniors, seniors, or full-time graduate students, or within one year after graduation, who are enrolled in programs that include architecture, arts, animation, computer science, construction/project management, creative writing, design, engineering, game design, graphic/ communications design, illustration, industrial design, interactive media design, interior design, landscape architecture, media production (digital, TV, film), and theater design & production. 


Walt Disney Imagineering 

Walt Disney Imagineering is the unique innovative organization that creates -- from concept through construction -- all Disney theme parks, resorts, attractions, cruise ships, real estate developments, and regional entertainment venues worldwide. The name Imagineering combines imagination with engineering. 



John Breckow, Frank Reifsnyder - Walt Disney Imagineering, (818) 544-2142 

David Barber, Laura Shane - Davidson & Choy Publicity, (323) 954-7510 


The projects and concepts presented are not necessarily intended to be built by Disney – they are a way for the entrants to demonstrate their skill and creative abilities. In consideration for the opportunities provided by Imagineering, submissions become the sole property of Walt Disney Imagineering and Imagineering retains all rights to use and/or display the submissions and the materials contained in them.


To read more about the UCLA A.UD team please read the articles below:
Daily News article: College Students vie to become disney imagineers


Daily Bruin article: UCLA Students finaliasts in Disney Imagineering Competition