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.
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”.
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.