Imagineer Podcast
Rolly Crump (Disney Legend, Imagineer, Animator)

Rolly Crump (Disney Legend, Imagineer, Animator)

November 14, 2020

Rolly Crump is a retired Walt Disney Imagineer, Disney Animator, and Disney Legend who began at The Walt Disney Studios in 1952. After working on classic films like Peter Pan, 101 Dalmatians, and Sleeping Beauty, Rolly was recruited by Walt Disney to join WED Enterprises (now called Walt Disney Imagineering). From 1959 until the early 1970's, Rolly worked on projects for the 1964 World's Fair (most notably "it's a small world" with Mary Blair), Disneyland, and the Magic Kingdom. Rolly left the company to work on some non-Disney projects and then returned to help support the development of Epcot. Rolly also has his own autobiography called "It's Kind of a Cute Story" and has recently been featured in The Imagineering Story on Disney+.

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with Rolly about his life, career, and legacy.

Which of Rolly's many contributions to Disney do you admire the most? Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

Special thanks to our Imagineer Society "Hero" Members:
  • Jesse Park
  • Jessica Brand

Enjoy the show!

ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter

ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter

October 31, 2020

The most terrifying attraction to ever be constructed at the Disney Parks, and perhaps the most controversial, was the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. Replacing Mission to Mars at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Alien Encounter had a soft opening in December 1994 and officially opened in June 1995. For the next 8 years, Alien Encounter grew a cult following with many Disney fans, especially those who loved sci-fi horror, but its terrifying and violent sequences targeting a more mature audience was inevitably not the right fit for Tomorrowland. Inevitably, the attraction closed in 2003 and was replaced by Stitch's Great Escape, which in many ways was simply a [very] toned down, kid-friendly version of the attraction.

In today's episode we'll explore the history of Disney's Alien Encounter, including how George Lucas was brought to the table to consult on the project. We'll also discuss some of the details of the attraction for those who were not able to experience it, and I'll take you with me for a truly terrifying visit back to the Tomorrowland Interplanetary Convention Center for this X-S Tech demonstration.

Were you able to experience Alien Encounter? Had this attraction been built in another park, do you think it would have surpassed its 8-year lifespan? Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

Special thanks to our Imagineer Society "Hero" Members:
  • Jesse Park
  • Jessica Brand

Enjoy the show!

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

October 17, 2020

In 1964, Progressland debuted at the New York World's Fair. The original concept dated back to the 1950's, and new technologies allowed Walt and his Imagineers to finally bring the idea to life. Sponsored by General Electrical, Progressland (which later became known as the Carousel of Progress) was an instant hit and saw waits of around an hour at the fair despite an hourly ride capacity of 3,000 guests per hour. After the World's Fair, the attraction was moved to Disneyland, then to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. With only a handful of changes over the years, Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress is one of the most historic attractions at the Disney Parks, reminding us that "there's a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day."

In this episode, we'll explore the detailed history of the Carousel of Progress. I'll also include a binaural audio recording so you can virtually experience the current version of the attraction.

What do you love most about Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress? Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

This episode is sponsored by WDW Magazine, the premier magazine focused on Walt Disney World. I'm personally a subscriber and LOVE their content. If you love this show, I have a feeling you'll love WDW Magazine, too. Visit wdw-magazine.com/imagineerpodcast and use promo code IMAGINEER to save 10% on an annual digital subscription.

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

Special thanks to our Imagineer Society "Hero" Members:
  • Jesse Park
  • Jessica Brand

Enjoy the show!

Blaine Gibson, Disney Legend, Animator and Imagineer (Interview with Son, Wes Gibson)

Blaine Gibson, Disney Legend, Animator and Imagineer (Interview with Son, Wes Gibson)

October 3, 2020

Blaine Gibson was a Disney Legend who worked both at the Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering (then known as WED Enterprises). As an animator, Blaine worked on classic projects that included Bambi, Fantasia, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, and One Hundred and One Dalmatians. Recognizing Blaine's remarkable talent for sculpting, Walt then asked Blaine to join WED Enterprises, where he worked on Disneyland, the 1964 World's Fair, Walt Disney World, and more. Blaine sculpted such iconic figures as Abraham Lincoln (Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln), the pirates from Pirates of the Caribbean, the family from Carousel of Progress, the ghosts from the Haunted Mansion, and many more. Blaine also supervised the sculpting of every U.S. President in the Hall of Presidents from George Washington through George W. Bush (he acted as a consultant for Barack Obama before passing away in 2015). Perhaps his most visited work is the Partners statue, which is the statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse in the Hub, as well as the Sharing the Magic statue of Roy O. Disney and Minnie Mouse in Town Square.

In this episode, I have the pleasure of chatting with Blaine's son, Wes, about his father's life, career, and legacy. Wes also shares some first-hand experiences about meeting Walt, experiencing Disneyland opening day, and witnessing his father's work behind the scenes.

Which of Blaine's many contributions to Disney do you admire the most? Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

This episode is sponsored by WDW Magazine, the premier magazine focused on Walt Disney World. I'm personally a subscriber and LOVE their content. If you love this show, I have a feeling you'll love WDW Magazine, too. Visit wdw-magazine.com/imagineerpodcast and use promo code IMAGINEER to save 10% on an annual digital subscription.

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

Special thanks to our Imagineer Society "Hero" Members:
  • Jesse Park
  • Jessica Brand

Enjoy the show!

George Wilkins (Walt Disney Imagineer, Music Composer)

George Wilkins (Walt Disney Imagineer, Music Composer)

September 19, 2020

George Wilkins is a retired Walt Disney Imagineer who composed a large number of classic songs and area music loops for the Disney Parks and Resorts, especially Epcot. Working alongside iconic Imagineers and composers like Marty Sklar, Kevin Rafferty and the Sherman Brothers, George helped to bring the music to life for Horizons, Journey Into Imagination, Sonny Eclipse (at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe), The Great Movie Ride, The Living Seas, The American Adventure, and so much more.

In this episode, I have the honor of interviewing George about his career journey at Walt Disney Imagineering, as well as his work before and after Disney. We discuss his most popular work, his favorite projects, advice for aspiring musicians, and more.

Which of George's many compositions is your favorite? Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

This episode is sponsored by WDW Magazine, the premier magazine focused on Walt Disney World. I'm personally a subscriber and LOVE their content. If you love this show, I have a feeling you'll love WDW Magazine, too. Visit wdw-magazine.com/imagineerpodcast and use promo code IMAGINEER to save 10% on an annual digital subscription.

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

Special thanks to our Imagineer Society "Hero" Members:
  • Jesse Park
  • Jessica Brand

Enjoy the show!

Disney Illusions (Part 2)

Disney Illusions (Part 2)

September 5, 2020

From the very beginning, Walt Disney always aimed to raise the bar in movies, shows, and family entertainment. With the Disney Parks, that meant creating a tradition of innovation at WED Enterprises and Walt Disney Imagineering (to "plus" an attraction, as Walt would say). Today, the Disney Parks around the world are full of incredible illusions and special effects that blur the lines of fantasy and reality. Even the earliest attractions still capture our imagination, and new attractions set new standards of immersion and realism.

In this two-part episode of Imagineer Podcast, we'll discuss our favorite illusions at the Disney Parks. Whether it's a practical effect that has been in place for decades or a new kind of special effect that utilizes the latest technology, we'll share just a small subset of the many illusions we love. Joining me in this two-part episode are James, Philander, and Randy.

Which Disney illusions would you add to this list (from part 1 and part 2)? Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

This episode is sponsored by WDW Magazine, the premier magazine focused on Walt Disney World. I'm personally a subscriber and LOVE their content. If you love this show, I have a feeling you'll love WDW Magazine, too. Visit wdw-magazine.com/imagineerpodcast and use promo code IMAGINEER to save 10% on an annual digital subscription.

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

Special thanks to our Imagineer Society "Hero" Members:
  • Jesse Park
  • Jessica Brand

Enjoy the show!

Disney Illusions (Part 1)

Disney Illusions (Part 1)

August 29, 2020

From the very beginning, Walt Disney always aimed to raise the bar in movies, shows, and family entertainment. With the Disney Parks, that meant creating a tradition of innovation at WED Enterprises and Walt Disney Imagineering (to "plus" an attraction, as Walt would say). Today, the Disney Parks around the world are full of incredible illusions and special effects that blur the lines of fantasy and reality. Even the earliest attractions still capture our imagination, and new attractions set new standards of immersion and realism.

In this two-part episode of Imagineer Podcast, we'll discuss our favorite illusions at the Disney Parks. Whether it's a practical effect that has been in place for decades or a new kind of special effect that utilizes the latest technology, we'll share just a small subset of the many illusions we love. Joining me in this two-part episode are James, Philander, and Randy.

For part 1, I'd love to know which of the illusions we discussed are your favorite. I'll ask a different questions about part 2 when that episode airs. Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

This episode is sponsored by WDW Magazine, the premier magazine focused on Walt Disney World. I'm personally a subscriber and LOVE their content. If you love this show, I have a feeling you'll love WDW Magazine, too. Visit wdw-magazine.com/imagineerpodcast and use promo code IMAGINEER to save 10% on an annual digital subscription.

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

Special thanks to our Imagineer Society "Hero" Members:
  • Jesse Park
  • Jessica Brand

Enjoy the show!

Disney Vacation Club

Disney Vacation Club

August 15, 2020

Disney Vacation Club has been creating "vacations you never outgrow" since 1991. Breaking all the rules of traditional timeshare, Disney created a vacation ownership program with an unprecedented amount of flexibility coupled with their world-class Cast Member service. Originally, Disney Vacation Club just had one resort: Disney's Old Key West Resort (then called "Disney Vacation Club Resort"). Today, Disney Vacation Club Members can use their points at more than a dozen Walt Disney World resort hotels, Aulani Disney Resort and Spa (Hawaii), Disney's Hilton Head Island, Disney's Vero Beach Resort, and Disney's Grand Californian Resort & Spa. Members can also trade in their points to use on a vacation with Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or thousands of possible locations around the globe.

One of the most frequent questions I'm asked through Imagineer Podcast is whether Disney Vacation Club is worth the purchase. While I see a tremendous amount of value, it's a serious investment that requires a lot of research, due diligence, and some basic financial analysis. In this episode, I'm joined by Chad Pennycuff from My DVC Points Podcast to explore Disney Vacation Club ownership and discuss many of the questions you should ask and factors you should consider to determine if this vacation ownership program is right for you.

If you would like to take the next step with Disney Vacation Club, I strongly recommend scheduling a tour (virtual or in person) through the Disney Vacation Club website (http://disneyvacationclub.disney.go.com). I have personally done this tour 3 times in my life with 3 separate Guides, and each time I was treated with an enormous amount of respect. These Guides give timeshare sales a good name. Unlike most timeshare programs, you'll find they're simply there to help answer your questions and determine if the program is right for you. If not, they'll simply thank you for your time and hand you their card. There's no high-pressure sales tactics involved in any way. It's the most refreshingly positive sales process I've ever experienced!

Also be sure to join Chad's DVC community:

Are you a Disney Vacation Club member? If so, where is your home resort? If not, which resort would you one day like to call "Home"? Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

Special thanks to our Imagineer Society "Hero" Members:
  • Jesse Park
  • Jessica Brand

Enjoy the show!

Floyd Norman (Disney Animator)

Floyd Norman (Disney Animator)

August 1, 2020

Floyd Norman is an icon in the world of animation. Beginning with the Walt Disney Studios in 1956, Floyd worked as an animator on films like Sleeping Beauty (1959), The Sword in the Stone (1963), and The Jungle Book (1967). After Walt's death in 1966, Floyd left Disney to co-found his own animation company, and he continued to work on projects for Disney and Pixar throughout his career, including Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), Robin Hood (1973), Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Mulan (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), and more. In 2007, Floyd was named a Disney Legend, and in 2013, he published his own book, Animated Life: A lifetime of tips, tricks, and stories from a Disney legend with publisher Focal Press. In 2016, Floyd's career was memorialized in a documentary called Floyd Norman: An Animated Life from Directors Michael Fiore and Erik Sharkey and Fiore Media Group, which you can buy at http://www.floydnormanmovie.com. The documentary appeared on Netflix for 3 years and recently aired on Turner Classic Movies as the closing night movie for the "Home Edition" TCM Classic Film Festival. At 85 years young, Floyd is still working on a number of projects for Disney and beyond, and is available to appear for in-person speaking engagements and masterclasses at colleges, conferences, and museums around the globe.   

In this episode, I chat with Floyd about his career at Disney. We also chat about his book, his documentary, and more. Be sure to explore Floyd's work and follow him on Social Media:

Which of Floyd's animated projects is your favorite? Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

Special thanks to our Imagineer Society "Hero" Members:
  • Jesse Park
  • Jessica Brand

Enjoy the show!

Dan Cockerell (Vice President, Magic Kingdom)

Dan Cockerell (Vice President, Magic Kingdom)

July 25, 2020

Dan Cockerell is a former executive at The Walt Disney Company who served a number of leadership roles at Walt Disney World, including the Vice President of the Magic Kingdom, Vice President of Epcot, Vice President of Disney's Hollywood Studios, General Manager of Disney's All Star Resort, General Manager of Disney's Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Campground, and more. Starting in the Walt Disney World College Program in 1989, Dan quickly climbed the ranks at Disney. After graduating from Boston University, he began parking cars at Epcot before moving to France to participate in a management training program for the opening of Disneyland Paris (formerly called Euro Disney). Throughout the next quarter century, he assumed many leadership roles at Disney, retiring in 2018 to pursue his own company, Cockerell Consulting.

In this episode, I chat with Dan about his work at The Walt Disney Company. We also chat about his new book, "How's the Culture In Your Kingdom", which is available to pre-order with a scheduled release date of August 11, 2020. Be sure to pre-order Dan's book and follow him on Social Media:

What is one thing you learned or found most interesting from this discussion? Send me your feedback via email or through direct or public message at any of the following and [with your permission] I'll include your message in a future show:

Disney news and travel tips: Be sure to visit our Disney news partner, The Kingdom Insider:

Vacation Planning: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or another Disney destination? Visit our trusted partner, Academy Travel: 

How to Support the Show

Special thanks to our Imagineer Society "Hero" Members:
  • Jesse Park
  • Jessica Brand

Enjoy the show!

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