Joe Lanzisero, Speaker Bio

Updated 12/15/23.


KEYNOTE SPEAKER, 37 years at Walt Disney (1979 – 2015); Creative Senior Vice President, Disney Imagineering
Please feel free to browse my website for more info and photos.
Available for keynotes, conferences and presentations worldwide.
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Beginning as an animator and working his way up to the top of Imagineering, Joe Lanzisero navigated a spectacular journey with 37 years at Disney. Joe’s wealth of knowledge and magical career is one that all audiences can relate to and find fascinating, making him the highlight of any event.


  • Name: Joe Lanzisero
  • Website:
  • Social Media Pages: Instagram, Linkedin
  • Career Highlight: 37 Years at Disney (from Animation to SVP Imagineering)
  • Current Role: Executive Vice President + Chief Art Director, Zeitgeist Design & Production,
  • Former Role: Senior Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering (senior most Imagineer in charge of Tokyo Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line)
  • Awards:
    • 2022 – UX Knight, World Usability Congress, honoring outstanding UX professionals.
    • 2015 – Disneyana Disney Legends Award
    • 2014 – THEA Award for Outstanding Achievement, Attraction:
      Mysic Manor, Hong Kong Disneyland
    • 2000 – THEA Award for Outstanding Achievement, Best Thematic Restaurant:
      Animator’s Palate on Disney Magic, Disney Cruise Line
  • Education:
    • Califirnia Institute of the Arts – Was member of the the first graduating class from the now famous Charactor Animation Program. Class mates included John Lasseter, Brad Bird, John Musker and Tim Burton.
  • Monthly Zoomcast:
    • Spirit of the Times (monthly since April 2021) –
      Each month we host the biggest names in themed entertainment. Celebrating the history and next generation of themed entertainment, “The Spirit of the Time” Zoomcast shares the philosophies, insights and industry tradecraft of the top creatives and executives who made or are making their mark in timeless and timely out-of-home entertainment projects all over the world.

BIO WRITEUP: (253 Words)

Joe began as an animator at Disney and worked his way up to the top of the company’s Imagineering department. He served as creative lead on over $9 billion in built projects to date, including Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland, Toy Story Land, Mystic Point, Grizzly Gulch at Hong Kong Disneyland, and dozens of classic Disney rides, shows, and attractions in the parks and aboard Disney Cruise Ships.

Two-time TEA award winner and recipient of the Disneyana Fan Club’s Disney Legend Award, Joe Lanzisero is a true celebrity in the world of Themed Entertainment. Lanzisero studied at CalArts alongside Tim Burton, John Lasseter, Brad Bird and other luminaries of animation and film before becoming a Disney animator in the early 1980s.

Actively involved in the UX world Joe is a sought-after keynote speaker at conferences around the globe. His 40-year career creating unique experiences makes him a highlight on any speaker panel. Audiences instantly connect to Joe’s colorful presentations as he’s able to connect his unique insight into the magical world of Disney and Imagineering with the common challenges of designers. An engaging storyteller, Joe always leaves his audience with a sense of empowerment, a new perspective and of course a smile.

Today, Joe is a designer, illustrator, art director and creative director of the very highest caliber, garnering the respect of his peers and serving as an in-demand keynote speaker on the topics of user experience and experience design and speaking to the top creative teams on the journey of the Creative Director.


  1. Floaters, Swimmers, and Divers — Knowing Your Users and How to Connect with the Heart, Head, and the Hands
    Joe’s almost 40 year career at Disney taught him how to deeply understand and connect with all members of an audience. He called them “The Floaters, Swimmers, and Divers” because of their various levels of engagement with the brand and experience. Once you identify the different interest levels, he explores how to connect to this diverse group by designing for “The Head, the Heart; and Hands.” And most importantly, he’ll show you how to have some fun along the way!
  2. Finding the Story Connection – the importance of creating human connection through story.
    Joe talks about the importance of creating human connection through story. The audience will learn how to find and tap into a brand’s true essence and turn it into retail experiences and campaigns that connect with customers. Lanzisero uses case studies not only from projects he designed during his 37 years at Disney but also from his consulting for retail brands such as Macy’s, Whirlpool, and Wolf to show the process of how to derive brand essence, break down the foundational narrative in order to best approach and integrate an underlying storyline and how to design consistent, powerful messages that unite brands and connect their message with large audiences.
  1. The Journey of the Creative Director — Going From A Hands on “Maker” to a “Leader of Makers”
    Joe takes the audience on his personal journey from hands on maker to creative executive and how to mange that transition by letting go, empowering, and trusting everyone on the team.
  2. Fine Tuning the Magic – Prototype Design and How to Use User Feedback to Shape Experience (UX Talk)
    When designing a complex experience it’s seldom that “you get it right the first time.” Joe uses actual case studies from projects he designed at Disney to show how they thought the guest would respond to an experience and how they were often wrong. He then shows how through guest/user feedback they “fine tuned the magic” to create a more satisfying experience.
  3. Meta What? – The Future of Real-World Entertainment
    In a world dominated by online and virtual experiences Joe makes a case for “real world experiences” and the their timeless value. He doesn’t discount the importance of the online world, but rather show how it can complement and work with real world experiences.
  4. Designing Experiences Through Story
    During his career, Joe used story to either create and/or guide the design. He explains the two different Story applications — Story as Narrative and Story as Subtext — Narrative is an active part of the experience where Subtext is used to guide the design process. He uses project case studies to show how each works.

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