How to Make the Most of a Career (and a Life) Abroad

Michael Davie took his skills-- and family-- abroad to bring Disney attractions to life

Last week Disney set sail with the inaugural voyage of their third cruise liner, the Disney Dream. Consistent with their tradition, the company pulled out all the stops–including a christening of the ship by Jennifer Hudson, Disney Dream emblems (even on door stops) and exquisite food in their fine dining restaurants. But the ultimate feature was the incomparable AquaDuck, the first water slide at sea. It ran almost the full length of the cruise liner, sending riders 20 feet over the edge of the ship, giving them a panoramic view of the ocean before bringing them back in again.

The ship also comes complete with three recreational clubs: a nursery for toddlers, two activity centers for kids aged 3-10, an exclusive space on deck 13 for tweens ages 11-13, and Vibe, a trendy indoor/outdoor lounge for teens.

“When we started the project, the question to ourselves was, ‘What can we do to wow our audience and take the family cruising experience to the next level?’” says Michael Davie, one of the Disney Imagineers, whose team helped conceive many of these concepts on the Disney Dream. Davie, 39, was the lead project manager for designing the teen deck and the District, a collection of five sophisticated, adult-only clubs and bars on the ship. “We wanted to give the adults their own sort of playground just like the kids [have].”

Davie started his career as a civil engineer working for the Detroit Department of Transportation; but says he rarely uses those skills as a project manager/Imagineer. He attributes his quick professional ascension to his willingness to embrace change and his eagerness to travel to wherever a project took him.

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