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Tag Archives: Imagineer

A Special ‘World of Color’ Announcement from Imagineer Steve Davison from Disney California Adventure Park

Listen up, “World of Color” fans! We have some exciting holiday-time news from Disneyland Resort.

Check out the video below for a special announcement from Steve Davison, vice president of Parades and Spectaculars, Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment, who has very exciting news to share about the “so wonderful, so beautiful” nighttime spectacular at Disney California Adventure park.

What is it? Watch the video and find out!

Mark your calendars because “World of Color – Winter Dreams” will begin November 15, 2013, at Disney California Adventure park.

A Special ‘World of Color’ Announcement from Imagineer Steve Davison from Disney California Adventure Park

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NEW VIDEO: Imagineer Rolly Crump Looks Back on Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room on Its 50th Anniversary

Disney Legend Rolly Crump remembers the day Walt Disney asked him and fellow Imagineers to create a restaurant with a Tahitian décor. Rolly sculpted Tiki gods, while other Imagineers created birds that chatted. That was the birth of the new Audio-Animatronic technology. Their hard work and creativity was so over-the-top entertaining that instead of a restaurant, Walt made it an attraction – Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room! We were fortunate enough to visit Rolly at his home recently, where he took us on a trip down memory lane, back to 1963 — back to the drawing board with Walt Disney. Enjoy!

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.

Animating the Disney Parks: Claude Coats

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend D23’s Destination D at the Disneyland Hotel. I listened to a fascinating presentation, “Animating the Disney Parks,” featuring Eddie Sotto and Imagineers Tony Baxter and Tom Morris. Each Imagineer shared the story of how legendary Disney animators and artists became the first Imagineers during the early development of Disneyland and then the Walt Disney World Resort.

Animating the Disney Parks: Claude Coats

Tony Baxter, Walt Disney Imagineering senior vice president of creative development, got the discussion started with the story of his mentor, Claude Coats. Originally in 1935 as a background painter, Coats created the worlds of “Pinocchio,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Lady and the Tramp.” His backgrounds created a sense of place, Baxter said, much like WED Enterprises (later Walt Disney Imagineering) would do in theme parks.

When Walt Disney was creating Disneyland, the talents of his animators were needed for this new medium. As Baxter recalled, Coats’ experience working on “Lady and the Tramp,” especially, gave him the inspiration to look at the world from an altered perspective – inspiration that would later lead to real-life experiences like Storybook Land Canal Boats and Adventure Thru Inner Space.

“Disneyland defined the ability to take you out of the world you live in,” Baxter said.

scenes for Pirates of the Caribbean

Coats was trained in architecture, Baxter said, which gave credibility to the environments he created. When the scenes for Pirates of the Caribbean were being developed, it was Coats who had the idea to paint the ceiling black, creating the illusion of a night sky and making the ceiling disappear – giving guests the sense of being outside at night.

Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World along the Disneyland Railroad

You can see Coats’ background painting talents for yourself today in the Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World along the Disneyland Railroad.

Check back for more from “Animating the Disney Parks” – next time, we’ll focus on another master of creating a sense of place, Herb Ryman.

Buena Vista Street Interiors Come Alive with Art Deco Glamour at Disney California Adventure Park

There is a lot of planning, thought and – yes, magic – that goes into every detail here at the Disneyland Resort. The new Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure park is no exception. Elias & Co. is a nod to the department stores of the 1920s and ‘30s. Take a closer look as you walk through the jewelry shop inside Elias & Co. Look familiar? The design was inspired by a round, velvet jewelry box. As you stroll through the women’s department, notice that it’s modeled after the cosmetic departments in those grand department stores of yesteryear. Check out the video and get a better idea of our “art deco glamour” on Buena Vista Street. Enjoy!

Read more about Buena Vista Street:

  • Imagineer Q&A: Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure ParkThis week, we’ll hear about the new Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure park from three of the Imagineers who led the effort to bring this new area to life.

    Lisa Girolami – Director, Senior Show Producer, Walt Disney Imagineering

    How have you created an emotional connection for guests on Buena Vista Street?

    Lisa: Every piece has to be there when you walk into a story, to know where you are, what time it is, what’s happening and to really be able to take in the music, the colors and the ornamentation on the architecture. The whole street coming alive is meant to put you right there in the steps of Walt when he first stepped off the train in California and all the optimism and opportunity he felt was there for him at the time.
    The sense of optimism will be very obvious on Buena Vista Street, and that story is told at the highest level of detail. Then there are many more levels of details, which our Disney fans will recognize and discover. I think we accommodate everybody as deep as they want to go, and the more you want to know, the more you’ll get out of it. I think we’ve covered it, too, for people who may be visiting a Disney park for the first time.

    What are some of your favorite aspects of Buena Vista Street?

    Lisa: I love Los Angeles and there are so many details I could say are my favorites…I think it’s going to be the feel of that street and how different it’s going to appear to everyone as they just enjoy being in the moment.

    Ray Spencer – Creative Director, Buena Vista Street, Walt Disney Imagineering

    What’s the Disney history behind the shop names and other items along Buena Vista Street?

    Ray: At the front of the park, we have the gas station, which is called Oswald’s, and Oswald was an early Disney character… Then we have Los Feliz Five & Dime, a merchandise store that features everyday consumer products. The names of the shops, and the names of the restaurants, are all based on Disney history — and especially the history that surrounded Walt Disney and the Disney brothers’ arrival in the 1920s. We have Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe, which is named after the Three Little Pigs from the Academy Award-winning animated short. We also have a merchandise location called Atwater Ink & Paint. It refers to the Atwater Village district of Los Angeles where Disney and the animators from Disney Studios spent a lot of time.
    We have a new Walt and Mickey statue, called ‘Storytellers.’ We made a conscious decision to put the statue down on street level with the rest of our guests, rather than up on a monumental planter, like at Disneyland park. Set in this time period, Walt Disney could have been you or I, or anybody at that time, out on the street. It’s part of the story of the street, a story of humble beginnings. It’s a story of a wonderful, inspirational time period with a wonderful, inspirational, gifted man who created what we can now enjoy as The Walt Disney Company.

    Coulter Winn – Principal Concept Architect, Director, Walt Disney Imagineering

    Will this be just like a street in Los Angeles?

    Coulter: You can’t go to Los Angeles and see a building that exists like you’re going to see on Buena Vista Street. The buildings that we referenced have been torn down, so we found them through historical photographs and began to design from there. Transporting our guests to another place and time like this, in the traditional Disney storytelling way, gives Disney California Adventure park a much more enriched environment to start the day for our guests.

Dine with an Imagineer at the Walt Disney World Resort

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Brown Derby Grapefruit CakeHere’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity to dine with a real-life Disney Imagineer and enjoy engaging behind-the-scenes conversation over a delectable lunch at the chic Bamboo Room of the Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park.

Up to 10 guests join in stimulating discussion with one of the incredible creative artists who bring the magic to Walt Disney World attractions and resort hotels. Learn from these talented men or women what it’s like working in the most magical place in the world.

Guests feast on a four-course meal and will receive a souvenir plate designed exclusively for this experience that can be personalized by the Imagineer. Price is $64.96 per guest ages 10 and older, $37.27 ages 3-9, tax included.

Guests can also ask about dinner with an Imagineer at Flying Fish Café at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, which offers the same fascinating peek “under the curtain” at Disney’s creative process while being treated to a tantalizing four-course meal. Cost is $105.83 per guest ages 10 and older, $74.70 ages 3-9, including tax.

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