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Animating the Disney Parks: Marc Davis

Marc Davis

So far, we’ve covered how Claude Coats and Herb Ryman brought their skills as artists to the creation of the Disneyland Resort; this week, we finish the “Animating the Disney Parks” series with a look at the contributions of Disney Legend and animator Marc Davis. At D23’s Destination D event last month, Imagineer Tom Morris shared insights and remembrances about this remarkable artist.

One of Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men, Marc Davis started with Disney in 1935 as an animator on “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” He went on to create iconic Disney characters like Bambi, Cinderella and Tinker Bell. When the time came to develop Disneyland, Davis brought his skills in story and character development to bring attractions to life within the park.

 Pirates of the Caribbean through the eyes of an animator and storyteller

“If the parks didn’t have great animators from the Walt Disney Studio,” Morris said, “I don’t think Disneyland would be what it is today.” Davis, he said, approached an attraction like Pirates of the Caribbean through the eyes of an animator and storyteller.

“I drew every scene you see there as an animator would,” Davis once said regarding the attraction – whose characters were brought to life with the help of his wife and fellow Disney Legend, Alice Davis.

Disneyland's  Jungle Cruise

Davis also brought his animator’s eye to attractions like “it’s a small world,” Haunted Mansion and Jungle Cruise. Two scenes personally added by Davis to the Jungle Cruise – the elephant pool and the trapped safari – have become guest favorites throughout the attraction’s 57-year history.

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