Why WED Enterprises Changed to WDI

By Keith Mahne

He is the symbol of magic, imagination and creativity. It seems that with a simple wave of his wind, pixie dust appears and marvelous creations come to life. He is Sorcerer Mickey, the symbol that represents the creative genius of Walt Disney Imagineering. But this little guy didn’t always grace the nametags, letterhead and business cards. Continue after the page break and let’s take a look at why WED Enterprises became Walt Disney Imagineering…

Until 1985, the original logo read “WED Imagineering”, and its angular script and sunburst twinkle dotting the “I” gave it a classic 50’s look. In 1984, under former president Carl Bongirno, Marty Sklar and John Hench updated the logo, but these new designs were put on hold; there were more pressing problems at hand. At the time, WED did not have an overall company graphic. Departments identified themselves with many different symbols, Sorcerer Mickey being just one of dozens of symbols used by the Special Effects Department. Another problem was that WED wasn’t really recognized outside Disney as a Walt Disney company. If you didn’t know that WED was the acronym for Walter Elias Disney, you had no idea that this huge design and engineering company was a part of Walt Disney Productions now The Walt Disney Company.

The year 1984 brought in a new regime, with Michael Eisner and Frank Wells taking the reigns of the company. Number one on the agenda was to organize and outline all the separate Disney divisions, subsidiaries, and companies into a matrix under one parent company. The Walt Disney Corporate Identity Program was implemented and in full swing; names and logos were changed. Walt Disney Productions was broadened to The Walt Disney Company. With consistency the goal, everything under this corporate umbrella became closely associated with the name Walt Disney.

WED Enterprises went through several name concepts and emerged as Walt Disney Imagineering. Official in 1986, the name reflected a more visible company identity, and especially a direct tie to Walt Disney’s name. The WED Imagineering logo, though updated, had to be tossed in favor of a new horizontal signature: Sorcerer Mickey the symbol, Walt Disney in script, Imagineering in typography. Finally, all the name tags, letterhead, business cards, WDI souvenirs and clothing were all standardized.

Although the name and logo has changed, their premise remains the same. They continue to create the most awe-inspiring, jaw dropping creations of all time. They continue to be a team of dreamers and doers. Imagineers continue to push the boundaries of creativity, innovation and possibility as they create new experiences and new forms of entertainment for us today, tomorrow and beyond despite what their logo may be.

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Keith Michael Mahne is the owner and editor of Disney Avenue and the host of the Disney Avenue Podcast. He has made countless trips to the Walt Disney World resort since his first trip in 1989 at the age of four. Keith has a strong passion and respect for Walt Disney, the parks and resorts, and the men and women who help create them. He started Disney Avenue as a way to inform and entertain readers and to repay all those who make dreams come true everyday.


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