Storyland Studios adds in-house Landscape Architecture practice; Rob Moffat joins as Principal


Storyland Studios, a global experience design and strategy firm comprising former Disney Imagineering, Universal Creative and Merlin Entertainments alumni with offices and staff across the US and Europe, has added Landscape Architecture practice to its studio’s integrated services.

Landscape architecture has long been a service Storyland includes in its master plans. For more than two decades, the firm has collaborated with external partners offering this service.

Now, Storyland also offers its own landscape architecture practice in-house. Former ima design Principal Rob Moffat, a long-time industry leader and Walt Disney Imagineering alum, has signed on to lead Storyland’s landscape architecture practice as Director of Landscape and Area Development.

Moffat brings a rich history of international experience in themed entertainment and guest experience. For nearly two decades, he has acted as a senior designer for a number of impactful, high-profile projects across some of the most well-known resorts, mixed-use developments, themed attractions and IPs in the world.

“As a witness to Rob’s personal and professional growth and leadership over more than two decades, I’m humbled and honored to work closely with him as part of the Storyland team,” says Mel McGowan, Chief Creative Officer at Storyland Studios.

“In collaboration with Rob and ima design, we’ve designed over $5 billion in projects, from some of our earliest clients to recent projects in Saudi Arabia. We’re looking forward to this new chapter. We expect the collaboration with ima and other firms to continue. There’s plenty of work to go around in these amazing projects we get to be a part of.”

“It’s exciting to be in a new sandbox,” says Moffat. “I like Storyland’s multidisciplinary nature and that’s exciting to me because I get to learn from this talented team–and I can bring what I learn to my projects.”

Current projects that Moffat is actively designing include sites in northwest Maui and at the 1000-acre Trilith Studios in Atlanta, Ga., where much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been filmed. He’s also working on various projects within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including Qiddiya’s recently-announced e-gaming district. Other notable projects Moffat has been part of include:

Experience Design: Leave a Legacy Plaza at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT (Orlando, Fla); Motiongate, Bollywood, and Six Flags Dubai Parks and Resorts (UAE); Parque Warner Madrid (Spain)

Master Planning & Community Planning: Hamilo Coast (Nasugbu, Philippines); Glen, Ivy Hot Springs Master Plan (Temescal Valley, Calif.)

Hospitality & Hotels: Disneyland Anaheim Hotel (Anaheim, Calif.); Disney’s Aulani Vacation Village Renovation (Oahu, Hawaii); Rio Hotel and Casino (Las Vegas, Nev.); Harrah’s Resort Southern California (San Diego, Calif.); Pendry Park City (Park City, Utah); Yaamava’ Resort & Casino at San Manuel (Highland, Calif.)

Retail, Dining & Entertainment: The District at Tustin Legacy (Tustin, Calif.)

From Rural Ohio Artist to Globetrotting Landscape Architect

An Ohio native and graduate of The Ohio State University, Moffat had a childhood flair for art. In the rural area where he grew up, conventional wisdom placed artists on one of two paths: teaching or poverty. But when Moffat was first introduced to the discipline of landscape architecture in the early 90s, it was a light-bulb moment for him.

His international travels began while enrolled in university, beginning with a ten-week stint in Argentina working alongside other architects.

Along the way, Moffat was enthralled by the rich South American culture. This became the first of many international adventures as his career in themed entertainment took off.

Moffat was accepted into an internship co-op program at Walt Disney Imagineering, where he worked for over a year alongside late Imagineer John Hench on the Leave A Legacy plaza at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center in Orlando, Fla. He learned storyboarding, shaping scale models, and got plenty of experience sketching concepts as the project unfolded.

When his internship with Walt Disney Imagineering ended, Moffat moved on to work as a designer at EDAW (now known as AECOM), where he continued to work on numerous Disney projects. In 2003, he joined ima design.

To Moffat, guest experience isn’t exclusively tied to themed entertainment- nor does it begin at the entrance to a building or park.

“The guest’s experience starts before you get to the front door,” he says. “As a designer, I always look at the front door expanded. Where is the front door, really? It’s never really at the actual project itself.”

He believes the area development is the pre-and post-show to any story, event, or attraction.

“We have an opportunity to awaken the guests’ emotions as they experience the landscape,” Moffat says.

This is a philosophy that Moffat has employed throughout his career. Now, he’s sharing it through Storyland–a place where he feels deeply aligned.

“I enjoy working with smart, talented people,” he adds, “I’m excited because Storyland has a purpose and a vision. It aligns with my vision and purpose, so that’s really important, too.”

Moffat will work alongside Jeff Damron, renowned architect and Vice President of Master Planning and Design at Storyland Studios. Damron was associate vice principal, themed entertainment and leisure at AECOM from 2012 until 2023.

The disciplines Damron oversees at Storyland include architecture, master planning, landscape architecture, graphic design, show set design and interior design.

About Storyland Studios

Storyland Studios is a full-service strategy and design firm on mission to imagine, design, and create immersive experiences and environments that lift the spirit.

With offices in California, Atlanta, Orlando and London, its team of professionals have significant experience designing projects such as theme parks, museums, resorts, and more, around the world.

Storyland helps its clients arrive at a story-driven big idea and then shape it into narratives that resonate with guests and users across the globe. The firm’s collaborative process launches a journey through strategic storytelling to master planning and production design while aligning the creative efforts with client business goals, and providing memorable guest experiences.