When one thinks about Imagineering, it’s most likely that the mind first runs to the artists. With fifty-five years of renderings, sketches, models, sculptures, and amazing artwork, it’s perhaps no surprise that the fine artists have often become the public face of Disney’s creative workshop. Unfortunately, this can do a disservice to the engineering side of Imagineering. While perhaps not as photogenic as an artist’s rendering, the concept and execution behind something as groundbreaking as the Enhanced Motion Vehicle or a trackless, solar-powered ride vehicle is just as impressive and worthy of attention.
William “Bill” Watkins worked with Imagineering from 1966 until 1985, having come aboard as a project engineer after stints at Lockheed, Marqardt, and Honeywell. He worked on scores of well-known projects over the years, from the PeopleMovers and Autopia to Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain.