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Andrew Laitnen, left, and Giacomo Savardi, an Ohio State graduate student in engineering, were finalists for the 25th Imaginations Design Competition. Credit: Courtesy of Disney
Andrew Laitnen, left, and Giacomo Savardi, an Ohio State graduate student in engineering, were finalists for the 25th Imaginations Design Competition. Credit: Courtesy of Disney

Engineering student represents Ohio State at Disney

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One Ohio State student is proving that dreams do come true, as he got the opportunity to design and present a park idea to Disney.

Giacomo Savardi, a mechanical engineering graduate student at OSU was a finalist for the 25th Imaginations Design Competition hosted by Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, California.

Savardi was at the Imagineering campus the last week of January to present his design for “Ducktales: Camp Quack,” a portable park that is designed to move across the country.

The proposed design would serve as an interactive learning experience with different stations including trivia questions, seek and find hunts and more for people of all ages. Savardi said he wanted to make sure the park would be able to fit inside a high school football stadium because “every city in America has a high school football field.”  

However, this design is merely hypothetical and will not be created, according to a press release from Disney.

His design partner, Andrew Laitnen, a student at the Columbus College of Art, accompanied Savardi to the competition.

“Andrew brought the ideas I had to life with his artwork,” Savardi said. “I was able to cover the technical aspects on the engineering side.”

The duo competed against 18 other finalists on five other teams from major universities across the country.

“One of the classes I took at Ohio State was a design class with Professor (Blaine) Lilly, which helped me on the design aspect,” Savardi said.

Savardi said his lifelong interest in Disney attracted him to this competition.

“I grew up in Northern Italy, and my family and I would basically go to Florida on vacation every so often,” he said. “Every time we would go to Florida, specifically Epcot, really left a lasting impression on me when it came to engineering. It is one of the reasons I got into engineering.”

Savardi said he and Laitnen felt in good company at the competition.

“It’s very respectful, we all sort of feel like winners because we made it this far,” Laitnen said of the competition’s atmosphere.

It was announced Friday that the team consisting of members from Ohio University and the University of Washington took home first place.

Although the duo did not win, they said they see value in the experience, and still have a chance to get an internship with Disney.

“The experiences we’ve seen today, and like being able to interact with people that have worked on legendary attractions, has been a prize in itself,” Savardi said.

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