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Animating the Disney Parks: Herb Ryman

Disney Legend Herb Ryman

Last week, I told you about a presentation I attended during the recent D23’s Destination D – “Animating the Disney Parks.” We’ve already learned about Claude Coats and how he brought his talents as a Disney artist to designing Disneyland. Today we’ll take a look at Disney Legend Herb Ryman, as remembered by former Imagineer Eddie Sotto at D23’s Destination D event.

original concept drawings for Disneyland

An art director and designer, Ryman was hired by Walt Disney in 1954 to create the original concept drawings for Disneyland. Walt needed something for his brother, Roy Disney, to show to investors during his initial pitches for the new park.

“Herb was a place master,” remembered Sotto. He understood production design and used historical context to bring real meaning to the places he created at Disneyland. When designing Sleeping Beauty Castle, he visited the famous Neuschwanstein castle in Germany; his visits to New Orleans during the development of New Orleans Square brought a realism to the area.

New Orleans Square

Ryman’s work was “placemaking of the highest order,” according to Sotto, who went on to say that it was his understanding of soul and emotion that made the places he created believable. Ryman knew that life is what informs action – “It’s not just places; it’s what we do in the places” that matters, Sotto said.

Sotto remembered that Ryman was known for this piece of advice: “Be specifically vague.” He meant that designers should create something that anyone could relate to. “He allowed us to see ourselves there,” recalled Sotto.

The Magic Behind Mickey’s 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Medal

Since we unveiled Mickey’s commemorative 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon medal two weeks ago, the response has been amazing. It is truly unlike any runDisney medal we have ever created, and runners apparently love it.

 

The creative force behind the medal is Disney art director David Brotherton, who designed the unique medal by incorporating the perfect balance between athletics and Disney. In this video, David takes us behind the scenes and shares details about the creative journey that led to this signature medal that will be the jewel of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna, January 10-13.

 

There’s still time to get your hands on this or one of the other inspiring Disney medals. You can sign up for any Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend event, including the runDisney Kids’ Races, Disney Family Fun Run 5K, Half Marathon or Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge at runDisney.com.

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