Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde Awarded First-Ever Alan Rabinowitz Memorial Award

During the 2019 West Coast Explorers Club Annual Dinner at Bowers Museum in Santa Ana (which took place on June 22, 2019), Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde was awarded the first-ever Alan Rabinowitz Memorial Award for Wildlife Conservation.


As a Portfolio Creative Executive, Joe was recognized for his leadership in animal conservation through the creation of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and its important conservation message that continues today.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is like no other Disney park. It presents realities of the world to guests in an effort to inspire real change. During the event, Joe shared that “guests can learn through the visceral experiences and stories that we share throughout the park, and they leave feeling inspired to act.”

Imagineers have to tell stories in imaginative ways – ways that are not always linear because they don’t have control over how a guest will experience a park. As Joe shared with the audience, “Imagine you have an onion and each layer represents part of a story. Now picture needles entering into that onion from all around it – each its own path. At Imagineering, it’s our job to create the onion and those needles represent the guest experience.”

Other honorees included Jean-Michel Cousteau, for his life-long commitment to exploration of the ocean – which includes exploration work for the film, Titanic, and Bob Atwater for his work studying tornado behavior.

The namesake from the award Joe received was named after another of the world’s great discoverers. The late Alan Rabinowitz was the former president, CEO and chief scientist at Panthera Corporation, a nonprofit conservation organization devoted to protecting the world’s 40 wild cat species. The award is particularly significant to Joe because he and Alan were friends and colleagues supporting each other in their quest to raise awareness about wildlife conservation and make a significant difference.

PHOTO: © 2019 Walt Disney World Resort. All Rights Reserved.

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