Making of: Walt Disney World

I absolutely LOVE old Disney construction footage and I consistently search high and low for some. I came across a few videos recently of the Magic Kingdom and the Contemporary Resort. Come on in and have a look!!!

Up first is some Magic Kingdom footage from the late 60’s, early 70’s. I love how we see the unfilled construction of the Seven Seas Lagoon:
Next up is what seems to be some old news footage of the Contemporary Resort Hotel (originally to be called Tempo Bay Hotel) construction and assembly of it’s guest rooms which were built separately. We also see shots of the Magic Kingdom under construction from the top of the Contemporary. We see partially completed Main Street areas and Cinderella Castle. Shots of various attractions including Haunted Mansion, Swiss Family Robinson Tree house, Main Street USA, assembly of the Paddle Riverboat and Topiary Nursery:
All that hard work eventually lead to this wonderful moment:
And now for the Grand Finale:

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A Few Questions With: Rolly Crump

Today I am returning to the popular A Few Questions With segment as I recently got in touch with my favorite Disney Legend and past Imagineer Rolly Crump. Here is a quick biography of Rolly from the Disney Legend website:



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“Words may not fully describe designer and Imagineer Rolly Crump. So to get a handle on this spirited, multi-talented Disney designer, think: Leonardo DiVinci’s Universal Man.

A true “original,” even among Imagineers, Rolly drew forth genius in others. Concept designer John Horny observed, “Rolly has a knack for bringing out the best in others. Trusting their talent, he encourages artists to push their creativity to the limits. It’s a rare creative person who can let others run with the ball.”

Show writer Jim Steinmeyer added, “The idea is king with Rolly. It doesn’t have to be his vision, as long as it works.”

Born February 27, 1930, in Alhambra, California, Rolly took a pay cut as a “dipper” in a ceramic factory to join Walt Disney Studios in 1952, and to help pay bills, built sewer man holes on weekends. He served as an in-between artist and later, assistant animator, contributing to “Peter Pan” (1953), “Lady and the Tramp” (1955), “Sleeping Beauty” (1959), and others.

In 1959, he joined show design at WED (Walter Elias Disney), Enterprises, now known as Walt Disney Imagineering. There, he became one of Walt’s key designers for some of Disneyland’s groundbreaking new attractions and shops, including Haunted Mansion, Enchanted Tiki Room, and Adventureland Bazaar.

Rolly served as a key designer on the Disney attractions featured at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, including It’s a Small World, for which he designed the Tower of the Four Winds marquee. When the attraction moved to Disneyland in 1966, Rolly designed the larger-than-life animated clock at the entrance, which sends puppet children on parade with each quarter-hour gong.

After contributing to the initial design of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida, and developing story and set designs for NBC’s “Disney on Parade” in 1970, Rolly left the Company to consult on projects including Busch Gardens in Florida and California, the ABC Wildlife Preserve in Maryland, and Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus World in Florida, among others.

He returned in 1976 to contribute to EPCOT Center, serving as project designer for “The Land” and “Wonders of Life” pavilions. He also participated in master planning for an expansion of Disneyland until 1981, when he again departed to lead design on a proposed Cousteau Ocean Center in Norfolk, Virginia, and to launch his own firm, the Mariposa Design Group, developing an array of themed projects around the world, including an international celebration for the country of Oman.

In 1992, Rolly returned to Imagineering as executive designer, redesigning and refurbishing the “CommuniCore” pavilion-turned-“Innoventions” and “The Land” pavilion.

Rolly Crump “retired” from The Walt Disney Company in 1996, but don’t believe it. He’s still breathing life into original ideas at his home in Fallbrook, California.”


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Rolly is my absolute favorite Imagineer. I simply love the way he describes Walt and Disneyland. His use of words and hand motions and the way he talks just suck you into his stories. Here is a short video of Rolly discussing the Tower of the Four Winds and Walt: 

Rolly became a Disney Legend in 2004 and has a window on Main Street. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I have. And now a few questions with Rolly Crump:

  • How did you first hear of WED back in the day?

WED was created to design and build Disneyland in the early 50’s.  When I was hired in Animation WED was on the Studio Lot and I was aware of it.

  •  What was your first studio week like?
My dream had always been to work for Disney.  The first week was spent learning about Animation and actually doing some “in between” stock work to get a feel for how it was done.

  • What was the best thing about working for WED back then?
Freedom; we had the freedom to imagine, design and create things that had never been done before.

  •      What’s your hope for the future of Imagineering?
That technology doesn’t take the place of creativity.

  •  Do you trust this next generation with WDI?
       Yes, I do.

  •  Are you hopeful for new advances in technological availability or do you think we should get back to basics?
I think it should be a marriage of both.
    
  •  How does someone become an Imagineer in your opinion? What degree, what type of school etc…
Even before any formal training an artist needs to develop and expand his or her imagination.  Enrolling in a school like Cal Arts which carries on the Disney tradition of design.
   
  •  What is the best advice you could give someone wanting to become an Imagineer?
Be persistent, believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to be different.





  •      Do you trust the current leadership of the Walt Disney Company?
Yes, I do.
  
  • How often do you visit the parks?
About once a year I visit Disneyland.
    
  • What changes, if any, would you like to see take place in the parks?
Eliminate the strollers.
   
  •  What was it like to be around Walt and what was the biggest thing you’ve taken away from that experience?
He always made you feel comfortable no matter who you were.  I learned that you have to believe in yourself and trust yourself and the people around you.
    
  • Besides all his accomplishments, what in your opinion was the number one thing that made Walt Disney so special to all of us today?
He was a visionary. He cared more about the product than the profit.
    
  • Finally, what was your fondest memory of you and Walt? 
How comfortable I always felt around him. I knew that he believed in me.  An example of that would be our collaboration on the Museum of the Weird project that was never built.
He saw my sketches and came up with a way for us to bring them to life and make them a part of the Haunted Mansion.



I would like to thank Rolly and Marie for taking the time to answer this questionnaire. Please feel free to leave comments below and let me know what you thought about this article and others as your feedback is greatly appreciated!!!

Walt Disney: What a Life!!!


Recently, I attempted to find out what it was like the day Walt died; not just for his company but for the entire world. I came across this New York Times article from December 16, 1966. I think it gives a great look into Walt’s life and thought I should share it with all of you. It also shows us what projects Walt was working on rite before his passing. What an amazing life this man had and this article clearly puts this into prospective. It starts off a little dreary as it states Walt’s passing but yet I came away enlightened and proud of the life Walt lead and how it continues to touch the hearts of people today. I hope you come away with the same enlightened feeling I had, and who knows, you might even learn a thing or two about one of the world’s most amazing journeys through life!


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December 16, 1966
OBITUARY
Walt Disney, 65, Dies on Coast; Founded an Empire on a Mouse
Los Angeles, Dec. 15–Walt Disney, who built his whimsical cartoon world of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs into a $100-million-a-year entertainment empire, died in St. Joseph’s Hospital here this morning. He was 65 years old.
His death, at 9:35 A.M., was attributed to acute circulatory collapse. He had undergone surgery at the hospital a month ago for the removal of a lung tumor that was discovered after he entered the hospital for treatment of an old neck injury received in a polo match. On Nov. 30 he re-entered the hospital for a “post-operative checkup.”
Just before his last illness, Mr. Disney was supervising the construction of a new Disneyland in Florida, a ski resort in Sequoia National Forest and the renovation of the 10-year-old Disneyland at Anaheim. His motion-picture studio was turning out six new productions and several television shows and he was spearheading the development of the vast University of the Arts, called Cal Art, now under construction here.
Although Mr. Disney held no formal title at Walt Disney Productions, he was in direct charge of the company and was deeply involved in all its operations. Indeed, with the recent decision of Jack L. Warner to sell his interest in the Warner Brothers studio, Mr. Disney was the last of Hollywood’s veteran moviemakers who remained in personal control of a major studio.
Roy Disney, Walt Disney’s 74-year-old brother, who is president and chairman of Walt Disney Productions and who directs its financial operations, said:
“We will continue to operate Walt’s company in the way that he had established and guided it. All of the plans for the future that Walt had begun will continue to move ahead.”
Besides his brother, Mr. Disney is survived by his widow, Lillian, two daughters, Mrs. Ron Miller and Mrs. Robert Brown.
A private funeral service will be held at a time to be announced.
Weaver of Fantasies
From his fertile imagination and industrious factory of drawing boards, Walt Elias Disney fashioned the most popular movie stars ever to come from Hollywood and created one of the most fantastic entertainment empires in history.
In return for the happiness he supplied, the world lavished wealth and tributes upon him. He was probably the only man in Hollywood to have been praised by both the American Legion and the Soviet Union.
Where any other Hollywood producer would have been happy to get one Academy Award–the highest honor in American movies–Mr. Disney smashed all records by accumulating 29 Oscars.
“We’re selling corn,” Mr. Disney once told a reporter, “and I like corn.”
David Low, the late British political cartoonist, called him “the most significant figure in graphic arts since Leonardo.”
Mr. Disney went from seven-minute animated cartoons to become the first man to mix animation with live action, and he pioneered in making feature-length cartoons. His nature films were almost as popular as his cartoons, and eventually he expanded into feature-length movies using only live actors.
The most successful of his non-animated productions, “Mary Poppins,” released in 1964, has already grossed close to $50-million. It also won an Oscar for Julie Andrews in the title role.
From a small garage-studio, the Disney enterprise grew into one of the most modern movie studios in the world, with four sound stages on 51 acres. Mr. Disney acquired a 420-acre ranch that was used for shooting exterior shots for his movies and television productions. Among the lucrative by- products of his output were many comic scripts and enormous royalties paid to him by toy-makers who used his characters.
Mr. Disney’s restless mind created one of the nation’s greatest tourist attractions, Disneyland, a 300- acre tract of amusement rides, fantasy spectacles and re-created Americana that cost $50.1-million.
By last year, when Disneyland observed its 10th birthday, it had been visited by some 50 million people. Its international fame was emphasized in 1959 by the then Soviet Premier, Nikita S. Khrushchev, who protested, when visiting Hollywood, that he had been unable to see Disneyland. Security arrangements could not be made in time for Mr. Khruschev’s visit.
Even after Disneyland had proven itself, Mr. Disney declined to consider suggestions that he had better leave well enough alone:
“Disneyland will never be completed as long as there is imagination left in the world.”
Ideas Met Skepticism
Repeatedly, as Mr. Disney came up with new ideas he encountered considerable skepticism. For Mickey Mouse, the foundation of his realm, Mr. Disney had to pawn and sell almost everything because most exhibitors looked upon it as just another cartoon. But when the public had a chance to speak, the noble-hearted mouse with the high-pitched voice, red pants, yellow shoes and white gloves became the most beloved of Hollywood stars.
When Mr. Disney decided to make the first feature-length cartoon–“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”–many Hollywood experts scoffed that no audience would sit through such a long animation. It became one of the biggest money-makers in movie history.
Mr. Disney was thought a fool when he became the first important movie producer to make films for television. His detractors, once again were proven wrong.
Mr. Disney’s television fame was built on such shows as “Disneyland,” “The Mickey Mouse Club,” “Zorro,” “Davy Crockett” and the current “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.”
He was, however, the only major movie producer who refused to release his movies to television. He contended, with a good deal of profitable evidence, that each seven years there would be another generation that would flock to the movie theaters to see his old films.
Mickey Mouse would have been fame enough for most men. In France he was known as Michel Souris; in Italy, Topolino; in Japan, Miki Kuchi; in Spain, Miguel Ratoncito; in Latin America, El Raton Miguelito; in Sweden, Muse Pigg, and in Russia, Mikki Maus. On D-Day during World War II Mickey Mouse was the pass-word of Allied Supreme Headquarters in Europe.
But Mickey Mouse was not enough for Mr. Disney. He created Donald Duck, Pluto and Goofy. He dug into books for Dumbo, Bambi, Peter Pan, The Three Little Pigs, Ferdinand the Bull, Cinderella, the Sleeping Beauty, Brer Rabbit, Pinocchio. In “Fantasia,” he blended cartoon stories with classical music.
Though Mr. Disney’s cartoon characters differed markedly, they were all alike in two respects: they were lovable and unsophisticated. Most popular were big-eared Mickey of the piping voice; choleric Donald Duck of the unintelligible quacking; Pluto, that most amiable of clumsy dogs, and the seven dwarfs, who stole the show from Snow White: Dopey, Grumpy, Bashful, Sneezy, Happy, Sleepy and Doc.
His cartoon creatures were often surrounded with lovely songs. Thus, Snow White had “Some Day My Prince Will Come” and the dwarfs had “Whistle While You Work.” From his version of “The Three Little Pigs,” his most successful cartoon short, came another international hit, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” Cliff Edwards as Jiminy Cricket sang “When You Wish Upon a Star” for “Pinocchio.” More recently, “Mary Poppins” introduced “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
Exhibition at Museum
Mr. Disney seemed to have had an almost superstitious fear of considering his movies as art, though an exhibition of some of his leading cartoon characters was once held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. “I’ve never called this art,” he said. “It’s show business.”
One day, when Mr. Disney was approaching 60 and his black hair and neatly trimmed mustache were gray, he was asked to reduce his success to a formula. His brown eyes became alternately intense and dreamy. He fingered an ashtray as he gazed around an office so cluttered with trophies that it looked like a pawn shop.
“I guess I’m an optimist. I’m not in business to make unhappy pictures. I love comedy too much. I’ve always loved comedy. Another thing. Maybe it’s because I can still be amazed at the wonders of the world.
“Sometimes I’ve tried to figure out why Mickey appealed to the whole world. Everybody’s tried to figure it out. So far as I know, nobody has. He’s a pretty nice fellow who never does anybody any harm, who gets into scrapes through no fault of his own, but always manages to come out grinning. Why Mickey’s even been faithful to one girl, Minnie, all his life. Mickey is so simple and uncomplicated, so easy to understand that you can’t help liking him.”
But when Dwight D. Eisenhower was President, he found words for Mr. Disney. He called him a “genius as a creator of folklore” and said his “sympathetic attitude toward life has helped our children develop a clean and cheerful view of humanity, with all its frailties and possibilities for good.”
Honored by Universities
When France gave to Mr. Disney its highest artistic decoration as Officier d’Academie, he was cited for his “contribution to education and knowledge” with such nature-study films as “Seal Island,” “Beaver Valley,” “Nature’s Half Acre” and “The Living Desert.”
From Harvard and Yale, this stocky, industrious man who had never graduated from high school received honorary degrees. He was honored by Yale the same day as it honored Thomas Mann, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist. Prof. William Lyon Phelps of Yale said of Mr. Disney:
“He has accomplished something that has defied all the efforts and experiments of the laboratories in zoology and biology. He has given animals souls.”
By the end of his career, the list of 700 awards and honors that Mr. Disney received from many nations filled 29 typewritten pages, and included 29 Oscars, four Emmys and the Presidential Freedom Medal.
There were tributes of a different nature. Toys in the shape of Disney characters sold by the many millions. Paris couturiers and expensive jewelers both used Disney patterns. One of the most astounding exhibitions of popular devotion came in the wake of Mr. Disney’s films about Davy Crockett. In a matter of months, youngsters all over the country who would balk at wearing a hat in winter, were adorned in ‘coonskin caps in midsummer.
In some ways Mr. Disney resembled the movie pioneers of a generation before him. He was not afraid of risk. One day, when all the world thought of him as a fabulous success, he told an acquaintance, “I’m in great shape, I now owe the bank only eight million.”
A friend of 20 years recalled that he once said, “A buck is something to be spent creating.” Early in 1960 he declared, “It’s not what you have, but how much you can borrow that’s important in business.”
Mr. Disney had no trouble borrowing money in his later years. Bankers, in fact, sought him out. Last year Walt Disney Productions grossed $110-million. His family owns 38 per cent of this publicly held corporation, and all of Retlaw, a company that controls the use of Mr. Disney’s name.
Mr. Disney’s contract with Walt Disney Productions gave him a basic salary of $182,000 a year and a deferred salary of $2,500 a week, with options to buy up to 25 per cent interest in each of his live- action features. It is understood that he began exercising these options in 1961, but only up to 10 per cent. These interests alone would have made him a multimillionaire.
Mr. Disney, like earlier movie executives, insisted on absolute authority. He was savage in rebuking a subordinate. An associate of many years said the boss “could make you feel one-inch tall, but he wouldn’t let anybody else do it. That was his privilege.”
Once in a bargaining dispute with a union of artists, a strike at the Disney studios went on for two months and was settled only after Government mediation.
Did Not Draw Mickey Mouse
This attitude by Mr. Disney was one of the reasons some artists disparaged him. Another was that he did none of the drawings of his most famous cartoons. Mickey Mouse, for instance, was drawn by Ubbe Iwerks, who was with Mr. Disney almost from the beginning.
However, Mr. Iwerks insisted that Disney could have done the drawings, but was too busy. Mr. Disney did, however, furnish Mickey’s voice for all cartoons. He also sat in on all story conferences.
Although Mr. Disney’s power and wealth multiplied with his achievements, his manner remained that of some prosperous, Midwestern storekeeper. Except when imbued with some new Disneyland project or movie idea, he was inclined to be phlegmatic. His nasal speech, delivered slowly, was rarely accompanied by gestures. His phlegmatic manner often masked his independence and tenacity.
Walt Disney was born in Chicago on Dec. 5, 1901. His family moved to Marceline, Mo., when he was a child and he spent most of his boyhood on a farm.
He recalled that he enjoyed sketching animals on the farm. Later, when his family moved back to Chicago, he went to high school and studied cartoon drawing at night at the Academy of Fine Arts. He did illustrations for the school paper.
When the United States entered World War I he was turned down by the Army and Navy because he was too young. So he went to France as an ambulance driver for the Red Cross. He decorated the sides of his ambulance with cartoons and had his work published in Stars and Stripes.
After the war the young man worked as a cartoonist for advertising agencies. But he was always looking for something better.
When Mr. Disney got a job doing cartoons for advertisements that were shown in theaters between movies, he was determined that that was to be his future. He would say to friends, “This is the most marvelous thing that has ever happened.”
In 1920 he organized his own company to make cartoons about fairy tales. He made about a dozen but could not sell them. He was so determined to continue in this field that at times he had no money for food and lived with Mr. Iwerks.
In 1923 Mr. Disney decided to leave Kansas City. He went to Hollywood, where he formed a small company and did a series of film cartoons called “Alice in Cartoonland.”
After two years of “Alice in Cartoonland,” Mr. Disney dropped it in favor of a series about “Oswald the Rabbit.” In 1928 most of his artists decided to break with him and do their own Oswald. Mr. Disney went to New York to try to keep the series but failed. When he returned, he, his wife, his brother Roy and Mr. Iwerks tried to think of a character for a new series, but failed. They decided on a mouse. Mrs. Disney named it Mickey.
Added Sound to Cartoon
The first Mickey Mouse cartoon, “Plane Crazy,” was taken to New York by Mr. Disney. But the distributors were apathetic. “Felix, the Cat” was ruler of the cartoon field, and they saw nothing unusual in a mouse.
When Mr. Disney returned from New York he decided that sound had a future in movies. He made a second Mickey Mouse, this one with sound, called “Steambot Bill.” In October, 1928, the cartoon opened at the Colony Theater in New York. Success was immediate and the Disney empire began.
Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company
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There you have it, what a life huh? Walt was truly a unique person in every since of the word. He was confident, yet not conceded; he knew what he wanted and went out and got it done. He knew what people wanted and he gave it to them. He was simple but sophisticated. Walt was a visionary who was never content; he was always looking forward to the next best thing and I think that drive and charisma is what made him so special. I would love to know your opinions on the subject. Maybe you read something you never knew before or something that really interested you; either way please feel free to leave a comment below.

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A Few Questions With: Jack Lindquist

Today I am going to return to my A Few Questions With segment here on Disney Avenue. I recently was able to send a questionnaire to Disney Legend Jack Lindquist, Disneyland’s very first President. Jack started with the Disney Company and for Walt in 1955, two short months after Disneyland opened, to become the Park’s first advertising manager. Jack eventually worked his way up until, to Jack’s surprise; he was made President of Disneyland in 1988 by Michael Eisner. He eventually retired after 38 years with Disney and was honored with a window on Main Street, USA, and then became a Disney Legend in 1994.

  •   What was your first week like working for the Walt Disney Company, and what was your first experience with Walt like?
 Just a series of several instances of interest, intrigue, excitement, enchantment, perseverance, personality clashes, serendipity, desire and determination. It was scary meeting new people, experiencing and discovering new things. I go into more detail in my book.
  •  What was the best thing about working for the Walt Disney Company back then? 
 Just being involved with a totally new concept in entertainment, there wasn’t any book to go by; you got a chance to write a new page in the book every day. The best thing going for us was “Ignorance”; we didn’t know something couldn’t be done so we just did it. Walt gave us freedom to try things and experiment. You didn’t get fired if something didn’t work or if it failed; you just didn’t do it again.

  •  What’s your hope for the future of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts?
That it maintains, lives up to, and expands on its’ unique position as a world acclaimed leader in Theme Parks; as well as a Global force in the total universe of Entertainment. Also, that it remains true to its’ legacy and heritage.

  • Do you trust the current leadership of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts?
Yes I do but I think what I think is not relevant. The WDC faces a completely different set of problems and circumstances than I faced during my tenure with the Company. The world is so much more sophisticated, small, diverse, instant gratification oriented, and communication challenged. How the Disney leadership faces these challenges within the framework and core of their heritage and legacy is the issue as it relates to their future.

  • How does someone become an Executive for the WDC in your opinion? What degree, what type of school etc…
Like anywhere else one should learn your job, learn your company and learn as much as you can about every Division in your company. Be an innovator; in your job, in your company. Believe and fight for your ideas; they will only see the light of day if you sell them. If you are lucky someday you will find yourself alone on the stage. Now is your show so you better be damn well prepared. One last thing, leave the stage while there is still applause; don’t wait until people are yawning and half-asleep waiting for you to leave.

  • What is the best advice you could give someone wanting to become involved in a leadership role within the Parks?
Don’t give up on your Dream. Believe in yourself!
  •  How do you feel about the recent announcement of an Avatar themed land coming to Animal Kingdom?
Big job, James Camron is a genius who is tough, opinionated, and smart and delivers. John Lasseter is also a genius who is tough, opinionated, and smart and delivers. Together they could make it happen. Together they could be a disaster. I wish the best of luck to everybody.
  •  How did you feel about the original Disney California Adventure and how do you feel about the current enhancements and changes to the Park?
DCA was only half a Park, at most. I believe, and hope, the current enhancements will change that.

  • How often do you visit the parks?
3 – 4 times per year.
  
  •  What changes, if any, would you like to see take place in the parks?
Check out chapter 6 in my book.
  • What was it like, to have what many would consider being one of the BEST jobs in the world, being president of Disneyland?
It was hard work but I had a great staff. It was the Funest, best job ever. It was like having a little Tom Sawyer, Willie Wonka, Prince and the Pauper, and What makes Sammy Run all mixed together.

  •  What was it like to be around Walt and what was the biggest thing you’ve taken away from that experience?
Not realizing until years later that I was in the presence of greatness.
  •  Besides all his accomplishments, what in your opinion was the number one thing that made Walt Disney so special to all of us today?
His vision, his self confidence, his willingness to back up his ideas, whether it was “Snow White” or Disneyland with his money, his reputation; against all the so-called experts in Hollywood, Wall Street, and the Financial community. The ability to make us feel like a child again, if only for a moment.
   
  • Finally, what was your fondest memory of you and Walt? 
Every moment, long or short, alone or in a group, in the Park or at the studio or at the opening of Anaheim Stadium or on an aircraft carrier for the premiere of “Lt. Robinson Crusoe” or at the opening and dedication of It’s A Small World at the New York World’s Fair and at Disneyland.

I want to thank Jack Lindquist and his daughter Kim for taking the time to answer my questions and share a little insight into his 38 years with Disney and working with Walt. These short answers are just a tiny bit of information compared to the myriad of stories that can be found in Jack’s book “In Service to the Mouse.” I have personally read it and can tell you it is my absolute favorite Disney insider book. I read it in two days as I couldn’t put it down. Each chapter is filled with new and exciting stories that I have never heard anywhere else before. Jack also pioneered the way for several Disney ventures and items such as the Disney Dollar. So if you are a Disney fan and a fan of the parks in general, then you are going to want to run as fast as you can to the nearest bookstore or go to http://www.inservicetothemouse.com/ and grab a copy for yourself or for any Disney fan you know!



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Pretty Darn Cool!!!

Hey folks, I really hope everyone is enjoying the new site. I will be posting new and interesting things daily. Today I want to share with you guys a really interesting video I came across. It’s from a 1978 Walt Disney World Christmas Special and features a Shields and Yarnell skit called “The Clinkers”. I find it sooo cheesie and entertaining all at the same time. Take a look:

A Few Questions With: Mark Hickson

Welcome to Disney Avenue‘s new segment A Few Questions With… This week I had the amazing opportunity to send a questionnaire to former Disney Imagineer Mark Hickson. Mark wanted to become an Imagineer his whole life and one day his dream came true by the arrival of a card with the WDI Mickey on it that simply stated, “We want to talk to you.” After that the rest was history and Mark became a member of Walt Disney Imagineering. Mark’s work as an Imagineer included several projects at WDW, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland, and other special projects like Disney Broadway Productions. Mark also has his own website, www.disneybymark.com, packed with wonderful pictures, videos, and stories that make it one of the best Disney sites on the internet. I would like to thank Mark for agreeing to answer my questions and I hope you find his answers as interesting as I did. And now A Few Questions with Mark Hickson:
1)   First Mark, tell us how you got involved with Walt Disney Imagineering.
 A former member of my staff at TRW Space Systems was working at WDI and when the word went out for someone needed to take over the project planning of Disneyland’s Splash Mountain, he proposed me. They sent me a card with Mickey on it saying “We want to talk to you.” From that moment on I knew I would be an Imagineer!
2)   What was your first week like?
Orientations, meeting people, reading manuals, going to the studio and going to Disneyland. I didn’t get an office until the second week.
3)  When did you start and what was the best thing about working for WDI?
I started in February of 1988. As for the best thing about being at WDI it was like a homecoming. All my life I wanted to be one, now I was!
4)    What’s your hope for the future of Imagineering?
That it doesn’t get diluted. If you notice now-days they like to say everything was created by an Imagineer, like the Golden Oak development. That wasn’t done by the kind of Imagineers I worked with because it looks like 50 other gated communities across America. Nothing special except that it is on property and they named part of it after a Disney Legend.
5)    How does someone become an Imagineer in your opinion? What degree, what type of school etc…
 In most cases it is Pure Luck. If you’re talented enough to go to Art Center in Pasadena or Cal Institute for the Arts you can get an inside track. Working in the Parks is also a good idea.
6)    What is the best advice you could give someone wanting to become an Imagineer?
 It can be a very long journey… It took me 18 years. Just don’t give up!
7)    How do you feel about the recent announcement of an Avatar themed land coming to Animal Kingdom?

An Avatar “Land” will screw-up the AK theme. It’s wrong and doesn’t belong there. I don’t think it will happen. Look for an Avatar attraction in Tomorrowland and a Marvel area at Hollywood Studios.
8)    What are your feelings about the new expansions taking place in the US parks?
When I was at WDI I worked on TDL’s 5, 10, and 15 years master plans. I have yet to see a master plan for the US parks. One thing that makes me sad is the butchering and selling off of WDW’s property to the Vacation Club time shares.
9)    How often do you visit the parks and which one the most?
 Last year I went 5 times, twice to WDW and three to DL. One of the DL trips was for D23. All together it was 18 days. This year I know I’ll do more.
10)  What changes, if any, would you like to see take place in the parks?
Eliminate the electric wheel-chairs except for really disabled people and only one attendant per disabled person, not a family of eight. I also want to see all cast members get a good raise with pre-paid health care too.
(I couldn’t agree more Mark, if not for the cast members I think the parks would be just like any other theme park out there; they deliver the magic and deserve the proper compensation just like the executives get! KM)
11)    What changes, if any, would you like to see take place within WDI?
 I have been away too long to comment.
12)  Besides all his accomplishments, what in your opinion was the number one thing that made Walt Disney so special to all of us today?
He never stopped believing in himself and in the inherent good of people.

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Welcome to the brand new Disney Avenue!!!

Hello and welcome to my brand new blog that will be about everything Disney. My name is Keith Mahne and I visit several Disney sites online each day and even contribute on a couple so I have decided; why not make my own. I hope it becomes as popular as some other Disney fan sites and hope we learn a thing or two about the Wonderful World of Disney together!!! See ya real soon!