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Middle school teacher’s Disney Infinity hobby just turned into a dream job

His students must be so jealous. 


Imad Khan


Posted on Sep 15, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 2:21 pm CDT

We always hear that studios are listening to their fans, but how many go out of their way to hire them? 

Disney Infinity recently hired popular Disney Infinity player Patrick Efird to help expand the game’s Toy Box mode—an open-world arena where players can create their own game. 

Efird, who goes by the username PapaEcho, made a name for himself as someone who created great missions in the game’s existing Toy Box levels. His creations were so good that he won a few competitions. With the release of Disney Infinity 2.0 featuring Marvel Heroes, it seemed that the imagineers at Disney wanted a fresh take on world creation and decided to look toward the fans.

According to the New York Times, the job offer came at hectic time for Efird, a 29-year-old middle school teacher. He was about to get married, but was suddenly called for an interview in Salt Lake City. Two days after his wedding, he flew to Salt Lake City for the interview and got the job. Although he had to delay his honeymoon, he and his wife are now living in Salt Lake City and he’s a Disney employee. 

This isn’t the first time game creators have hired people from within their user base. Media Molecule hired a standout LittleBigPlanet level creator back in 2010. 

Disney Infinity, much like Activision’s Skylanders, combines physical toys with a video game. Purchasing specific Disney Infinity NFC toys allows players to unlock characters and play in character-specific missions. 

From the video above, Toy Box does bear some resemblance to Minecraft, another popular building game. The main difference is players can custom create their own missions to play within Toy Box to share with their friends. The whole “create your own world” seems to be taking off, especially considering Microsoft’s purchase of Mojang earlier today.

H/T NY Times | Image via Disney

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*First Published: Sep 15, 2014, 6:41 pm CDT