Imagineer Kevin Rafferty

Kevin Rafferty to Officially Retire from Walt Disney Imagineering in April

Kevin Rafferty, the Walt Disney Imagineer behind Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World and Cars Land in Disney California Adventure (and many, many more incredible projects) has officially announced his retirement.

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Rafferty had initially expressed the intent to retire shortly after the grand opening of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway as his final project, however a week later, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and changed the theme park world as we know it. During the park’s extended closure, Rafferty and his team at WDI teamed up with The Muppets to pen and perform the original song “Brave Little Spark”.

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Today, Walt Disney Imagineering shared his official retirement announcement via Instagram, featuring the following caption:

After 42 years of creating magical guest experiences as an Imagineer, Executive Creative Director Kevin Rafferty shared his plan to retire April 1, 2021. From his days as a dishwasher at Disneyland all the way through his work on the show writing and creative direction of Cars Land, Toy Story Mania!, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and more, Kevin’s zany personality and humor have inspired generations of Disney Imagineers and guests from around the world. We can’t thank Kevin enough for all of his contributions at Imagineering and wish him all the best in his next adventure!

As mentioned in the caption, Rafferty started out his career as dish washer at the Plaza Inn in Disneyland before applying for an entry-level position at Walt Disney Imagineering (then-WED Enterprises) in 1978 during the massive recruitment period for EPCOT Center. Rafferty also pitched the never-built Roger Rabbit’s Hollywood land for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which included Baby Herman’s Runaway Buggy Ride.

In September of 2019, Rafferty sat down with our very own Nathan Hartman to talk about his latest autobiography – “Magic Journey: My Fantastical Walt Disney Imagineering Career” in an episode of Dreamfinders. You can check out that podcast episode by clicking here.

For more information on booking your next trip with our official travel agent sponsor, the Vacationeer, visit wdwnt.travel.

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NYCDisneyFan
NYCDisneyFan
11 days ago

They’re dropping like flies—very sad.

Brian
Brian
11 days ago

Joe was the second to retire and closely followed by a third? There are tea leaves to be read here.

Sassagoula Sammy
Sassagoula Sammy
11 days ago

I wonder how many more retirements and exits there’ll be in the very near future.

Abdul
Abdul
10 days ago

Since these guys are part of the OG imagineering team (joe, Kevin , Tom) . My guess is their benefits are on a whole different level than your normal 40+ year experience CM. Complimentary Disney stock to the tune of 20% of salary, free medical even after retirement, guaranteed 60% base salary as pension till death.
Considering all of this they must’ve forced these guys to give in their notice or be fired