03 June 2011

Rick Rothschild

Rick Rothschild
Chief Creative Officer, FAR Out! Creative Direction 

Sitting president, Themed Entertainment Association

Blending a unique set of entertainment skills developed over 40 years of experience in the world of theater, Disney theme parks, media and museums, Rick Rothschild founded FAR Out! Creative Direction in 2008. Bringing a deep technical knowledge together with a strong creative perspective to provide both vision and direction to any project, his skills enable him to integrate complex ideas, systems and story and deliver them effectively and efficiently as a complete entertainment product. 

Along with the responsibility of creatively directing and producing over 25 separate Disney attractions during a 30 year tenure as a creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, Rick led and participated in a variety of concept development teams that explored new attractions, complete theme parks and other resort, recreation and immersive experience related business lines. His work at Disney also included consulting with a number of prestigious museums and institutions around the United States. 

After retiring from Walt Disney Imagineering, Rick continues to provide creative direction as a consultant. Recently he helped bring two groundbreaking attractions to multiple Disney theme parks around the world; the revival of the 3D experience Captain EO staring Michael Jackson that Rick helped originally create in 1986 and a whole new George Lucas inspired StarTours attraction. Rick partnered with Global Immersion, a creative technology team based in the United Kingdom, helping to develop a unique immersive planetarium experience for the Adler Planetarium in Chicago that opened in July of 2011. 

Rick is the current President of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), the only international non-profit association representing the world’s leading creators, developers, designers and producers of compelling places and experiences. '

With a 2007 opening, Rick directed the team that created Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage at Disneyland, using innovative new audio and visual technologies to magically bring beloved PIXAR animated characters into a totally immerse 13 minute undersea adventure. Rick’s first directorial role with Disney was leading the creation of The American Adventure for EPCOT Center in 1982. During the 1990s, Rick headed the design team that developed the Land of the Golden State, one third of Disney’s California Adventure theme park, and was the director for Soarin’ over California, a thrilling ride experience where guests “hang glide” over dramatic Golden State scenery projected in high-definition on an 80-foot dome. Working with a variety of entertainment industry talent over the years, he led teams that brought other popular 3-D experiences to Disney theme parks, including It’s Tough to be a Bug!; Honey, I Shrunk the Audience and Mickey’s PhilharMagic, a celebration of animation and music. 

In 1987, Rick was named executive producer, Entertainment Center Projects, responsible for helping guide the planning of several entertainment/retail center projects being considered for Europe, Japan and the U.S. He was concurrently involved as the overall executive show producer for Pleasure Island, which opened at Walt Disney World Resort in 1989. When Walt Disney Imagineering was selected to produce Portraits of Canada, a CIRCLE-VISION® 360 motion picture, for Vancouver Expo '86, Rick worked with producer/director Jeff Blyth to develop the story concept and acted as a creative executive on the production. Other theme park projects have included Armageddon - Les Effets Speciaux, a special effects spectacular at Walt Disney Studios - Paris; and three new attractions for Tokyo DisneySea: Magic Lamp Theater features 3D Disney animation integrated with live performance; StormRider pushes the art of immersive simulation with special effects to a new; and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a journey into unexpected magic and mystery. In Florida, The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter and a new Hall of Presidents were also completed under his leadership. 

Rick received his degree with honors in Theater Design from Lawrence University in Wisconsin and attended the MFA Theater Arts program at UCLA. He worked in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Spokane and Ohio area on over 100 productions as both a scenic and lighting designer prior to joining Disney in 1978. In the twenty years since the Themed Entertainment Association was established, 5 Imagineering designed and produced projects that Rick directed have been recognized with the Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement.