There's a new ocean-full of characters at Disney Anaheim. As Disney's California Adventure theme park (sister to and right in front of Disneyland park) gets its extreme makeover, new attractions are being added on a regular basis.
The latest production by Disney's legendary Imagineers is "Ariel's Undersea Adventure." Walt Disney Imagineering—formed by Walt in 1952 to create Disneyland—is the outfit responsible for concept, design, and building all Disney theme parks and attractions. (Preview video of park expansion and "Mermaid" and "Cars" rides, during installation, HERE.)
This weekend's Wall Street Journal ("Review" section) carried a story on the creative process for bringing this "ride" to reality—eighteen years after Disney's hit animated feature Little Mermaid. The article is more about Imagineering's creative, collaborative process than the particulars of the attraction. This story comes as I am in the final stages of the technical details for publishing my new book HATCH! Brainstorming Secrets of a Theme Park Designer.*
The WSJ piece was especially fun for me as I know and worked with two of the three principal Imagineers behind the project. (See photo) Lisa Giralami, project producer, was a film producer at Disney Studios and worked on "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids." She was a great addition to WDI's film production unit. I worked with Lisa on a couple of film projects and always enjoyed her bright, energetic attack of every project. She was remarkably calm under pressure which we always had plenty of at Imagineering. (You'll see Lisa in the video preview, above and another Mermaid preview HERE.)
Chris Crump (center in photo) is an enormously talented guy. (That's redundant at Imagineering.) He has a rich Disney pedigree as his father, Rolly Crump, worked with Walt on scores of early projects. Rolly is an Imagineering legend. He designed the now-famous, 120 foot, Tower of the Four Winds for the 1964 New York Word's fair. (See photo with Rolly, the Tower, and Walt.) I remeber when Crump the Younger (Chris) started at WDI. He hit the place running with enthusiasm and a liftime Disney exoperience, literally. That Chris has remained at WDI so long is a testamnt to his creativity and work product.
You can read the full article on the Wall Steet Journal website, HERE. Don't over look the great insights about the creative process in the three quotes-in-a-box under the heading "Behind the Scenes." Especially see the thrid quote from Lisa about making creative choices.
"Five 10s are better than ten 5s."
(I will find a place for this in HATCH!)
I am often asked about the secret to Disney theme parks success over other attractions in the world. My answer is always the details they put into every inch of the "show" and the time that every member of the design, development, fabrication, and installation teams commits. HERE is a video of the programing and installation of the "Ursula" Audioanimatronic figure for the Little Mermaid ride. Once again teaching us all that there are no shortcuts to excellence.
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*Re: HATCH! Realistically, I hope to have books in hand, ready for distribution at the end of this summer. Watch this space and Facebook (2 sites), Twitter @mcnairwilson, etc. for axact release date.