The Disney Imagineers, including Mk Haley, the 27-year-old assigned to babysit Randy during his sabbatical, are skeptical about what value a professor can add to their operation. Randy, as the odd duck, knows that he has to quickly show them he can be a valuable member of their team. When Randy is interviewing guests who had tried out their Aladdin virtual reality ride, many of his new co-workers complain that he is applying academic values that don’t work in the real world. In other words, Randy is too obsessed with poring over data and approaching things scientifically rather than emotionally.
Randy doesn’t feel entitled to respect from his Disney Imagineer co-workers because of his prior accomplishments—he knows he has to have an open attitude and make positive, proactive steps to prove his worth to them and earn their respect
However, when Randy figures out a way to save twenty seconds per guest by loading the ride differently, he gains some respect from those who had doubts about him. After the sabbatical is over, Disney offers Randy a full-time position with the Imagineers, and, though he declines, Disney keeps Randy on as a once-a-week Imagineering consultant. “If you can find your footing between two cultures, sometimes you can have the best of both worlds.”
Randy listens to his co-workers’ feedback, and he goes on to prove to them that his scientific, analytical approach has some merit in certain aspects of ride-design. Because of his positive, hard-working attitude, Randy is able to work in academia while also consulting for the Disney Imagineers. His attitude, then, is what enables him to successfully achieve his childhood dream of designing rides.