ORLANDO, Fla. – Longtime Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, who was instrumental in the development of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is retiring from Walt Disney Imagineering.

What You Need To Know

  • Joe Rohde to retire from Walt Disney Imagineering

  • Rohde brought Disney's Animal Kingdom to life

  • Rohde has worked for Disney for 40 years

The news was first shared in an Instagram post on the Walt Disney Imagineering account.

“We can’t thank Joe enough for his infectious passion, being an incredible teacher and mentor, and for inspiring generations of Disney Imagineers and guests from around the world,” the post read.

Rohde, 65, later shared the announcement on his Instagram account.

 “I’m sure by now many of you have come across the news that I am retiring from Walt Disney Imagineering,” Rohde wrote in an Instagram post. “It has been 40 years since I stepped foot in the door at age 25, not knowing anything about theme parks, Disney, or what it meant to work for a big company. Every day my life since then has been a learning experience. I’m very glad to have had that opportunity, and proud of the work that has been done, not just by me, but by all my fellow Imagineers, and especially those who work by my side over the decades.”

Rohde, 65, who has worked for The Walt Disney Company for 40 years, got his start as a model designer for Epcot. During his time with Disney, Rohde worked on a number of projects, including Pandora-The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom and Guardians of the Galaxy-Mission: Breakout at Disney California Adventure.

“I’m not that old yet and there are things I want to do that cannot be done here,” Rohde wrote.

Rohde’s last day with Disney will be January 4, 2021.