After years of aspiring to work for the imaginative world of Disneyland, Scott Sabens and Dylan Olson were both given the opportunity to live their dreams as Disney engineers.
“I always wanted to work in the amusement park industry but I never thought that I would be working for Disney as an Imagineer so soon out of school. It’s been a dream come true,” Sabens said.
During their junior year at San Diego State, Sabens and Olson participated in the ImagiNations Design Competition where they designed a ride based on the Disney-Pixar film, “The Incredibles.” Last year, they won the semi-finalist title, meaning their journey stopped after the competition.
After a long year of contemplating whether to enter the competition again, they both decided to give the dream another shot. Their task in this year’s competition was to “design a unique, diverse and creative experience that maximizes enjoyment for guests.”
This year, the two-man team won the finalist title for their unique ride concept “The Curse of Mythica Mine.” This ride was a thrilling adventure through the dark and abandoned caves of Mythica Mine. Their idea wasn’t inspired by any Disney film, but was based on myths and folklore from the old west days of the Gold Rush.
“We developed a hybrid enhanced-motion vehicle roller coaster ride experience that subjects riders through a series of exciting thrills,” Sabens said.
The one-week process of creating the “The Curse of Mythica Mine” involved a lot of teamwork and time from the SDSU team.
“Together, we came up with the concept, designed the ride system and layout, developed the story of our attraction, and built the models. I drew most of the artwork, but besides that it was a mutual effort,” Olson explained.
Because the competition was only to enhance students’ imagination and creativity, the rides were not showcased or built at any of the Disneyland theme parks. However, after being part of the final six teams, Sabens and Olson were granted an interview for the opportunity to participate in an internship as Disney engineers.
“I started (the internship) in February of this year and since then I have probably worked on about 15 to 20 different projects. Our office is very fast-paced,” Olson said.
Since beginning his internship, Sabens has workied at Disney California Adventure creating “Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree,” a ride inspired by the Disney-Pixar film “Cars.” This attraction will be located in the all-new Cars Land and will be open to the public by next summer. Another task in his internship has been to build and test the new Red Car Trolley that will run along California Adventure and Buena Vista Street, through the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, ending at the Tower of Terror.
“This attraction, along with the new main entrance design, will bring the excitement and romance of Los Angeles as Walt Disney himself saw it when he first arrived to California to begin his adventure,” Sabens said.
Sabens and Olson, who are still interning for Disney, said they have learned many new things and hope to extend their stay. They encourage any SDSU engineer student to compete in ImagiNations.
“It was one the most memorable, eye-opening, overwhelming and exciting weeks of my life. You will never know the meaning of all-nighters until you start designing an attraction, but it is a great opportunity,” Olson said.