Faux Campfire–What’s the Disney Connection?

A couple weeks ago I constructed a simulated campfire for an elementary school event. How does this even remotely relate to anything Disney? A fair question.

First, this project was an excuse for me to tap into the aspiring imagineer within me, and design as well as build something that takes a small amount of creativity. Yes, I know what I have done is on an infinitesimal scale compared with what the inventive wizards at Disney do, but I enjoy the challenge that comes with this kind of project.

Aside from this, the campfire was used to bring a bit of joy to a group of young kids. For some, it may have even created a magic moment that will stick with them for years from to come.

And isn’t this really the ultimate goal of the Disney imagineers and the Disney Enterprise itself, to create wondrous memories for all those that visit their parks and watch their movies.

Even as I put this fire pit together, I gleaned ideas from the Disney parks.

Disney RocksFor the rocks themselves, there were no shortage of samples of how Disneyland constructed massive stone formations. Even on a project as simple as an artificial campfire, I was able to find inspiration from the Disneyland parks.

Attractions such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Indiana Jones Adventure, Tom Sawyer Island, Grizzly Peak River Run and Radiator Springs Racers at Cars Land, were loaded with visual references to work from. Of the nearly 800 photos I took during my last visit to the parks, some of them were specifically taken to use as references for projects like this one.

Pirate and Fire with TextTo deal with the obstacle of creating a realistic fire, I turned to the Pirates of the Caribbean. The way the imagineers devised a way to set a whole town on fire without the use of real flames was simple and elegant. On a ride with complex audio-animatronics, they chose  straightforward methods to represent fire. The results were stunning and believable. Likewise, I kept things simple as I tried to make a fire without heat, avoiding the temptation to allow things to become too complicated.

As I work on a creative project, I like to chart my own course and do things in a way nobody else has done them before. But in that process, I draw inspiration from many sources, and many times, the Disney imagineers are at the top of that list.

Campfire CollageIf you would like to know more about how I constructed this fake campfire, click here.

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