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Walt Disney Imagineers Unveil a Mysterious Portrait as a Hint to an Upcoming Walt Disney World Resort Project

posted on November 15th, 2012 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Who doesn’t love a good mystery – and we just happen to have one to share with you today. Our friends in Walt Disney Imagineering just sent us this portrait as a sneak peek of one of their upcoming Walt Disney World Resort projects. Any ideas which attraction this may soon be a part of?
Walt Disney Imagineers Unveil This Mysterious Portrait As A Hint To An Upcoming Walt Disney World Project

Here’s one hint to the identity of this fine fellow: “His obsession with gold will ultimately lead him to ruin.”

Leave your guess in the “comments” section below.

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135 Comments 23 Replies

101

Sandra on November 15th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Could it be the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train??

 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker on November 16th, 2012 at 10:09 am

…that is a current project…

102

Jeff on November 15th, 2012 at 2:45 pm

He does look a lot like Tony Baxter; he also looks like Donald Sutherland.

I agree with Joy; the hint does sound a lot like King Midas.

103

Owen on November 15th, 2012 at 2:45 pm

It’s about a new TV show abc and disney are making based on big thunder mountain railroad.

104

Jud on November 15th, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Hmmm… Well, I don’t know who Tony Baxter is, and boy do I feel inadequate, but my first thought was some for the new Captain Jack Adventure- the man turns to Piracy to get gold? However, given that everyone else seems to think it’s Big Thunder, I’m not going to wager on it!

:)

Jud

 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker on November 16th, 2012 at 10:09 am

Gold? That’s a good connection. Good thinking…

105

Steve on November 15th, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Pretty much established that its the faithful Tony Baxter, but it has to be associated with Big Thunder. The attraction was designed by Tony and look a the tiepin/stick pin. Looks a lot like a “RR” for railroad. All tracks lead toward a Tony/Big Thunder association. The original story line goes that gold was discovered on Big Thunder Mountain, in the town of Tumbleweed.. in the late 1800′s.

Now western mining was controlled by the wealthy and powerful who had a lust for gold.. in the 1800′s.. those individuals wore tiepins as a form of status, signifying that they were of the upper class. Tony.. giant gold nugget.. RR on the tiepin.. I’m holding onto my hat & glasses

 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker on November 16th, 2012 at 10:10 am

Love that last line. :)

106

David on November 15th, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I’m excited! A new Land coming to the Magic Kingdom….”Donald Souther-Land”

107

Scott from IL on November 15th, 2012 at 3:58 pm

I’ve seen mention of this striking a strong resemblance to Henry Ravenswood from Phantom Manor in Paris (well, Tony Baxter as Henry Ravenswood). Any truth to that?

 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker on November 16th, 2012 at 10:10 am

We’ll just have to wait and see…hold tight!

108

Friend on November 15th, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Someone mentioned Big Thunder in WDW is having an anniversary, but being built in 1980, I cant figure out what anniversary that could be but the 32 maybe? PDL Big Thunder is having it’s 20th and 1987′s TDL Big Thunder is having it’s 25th. Can’t wait to see how Master Baxter’s painting fits in?

109

Deborah on November 15th, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Tony Baxter, Big Thunder Mountain…Gold nougat on the cane says to me gold mining, so yeah, Big Thunder Mountain.

110

Erin on November 15th, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train???!!!!

 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker on November 16th, 2012 at 10:11 am

Hmm, they mined but for diamonds, not gold.

111

Christopher from CA on November 15th, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I am going with Big Thunder and more specifically, the one at Disneyland, as part of it’s makeover is suppose to be in prep for the pilot of the new show based on the ride.

112

Michael on November 15th, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Let’s go with Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs.

 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker on November 16th, 2012 at 10:11 am

Jr.

113

J.D. from OR on November 15th, 2012 at 7:20 pm

It looks as if plenty of people had the same thought as me, that the man looks like Tony Baxter. Is that the artist’s intention, or just a happy accident?

 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker on November 16th, 2012 at 10:12 am

We’ll just have to wait and see! :)

114

ryan from FL on November 15th, 2012 at 7:49 pm

OH MY GOD
It’s Tony Baxter
am I the only one seeing this
THAT IS TONY!!!!!

 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker on November 16th, 2012 at 10:12 am

So you think it’s Tony, then? JK

115

Terri on November 15th, 2012 at 8:05 pm

I’m thinking a new portrait for Haunted Mansion or a new reference to Tony Baxter in Big Thunder Mountain.

116

Ron on November 15th, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Looks like a younger version of the Wizard of Oz

117

Daniel from CA on November 15th, 2012 at 9:41 pm

OF COURSE, it”s Big Thunder Mountain!

Tony Baxter was the head designer of that attraction. I have met him a couple of times, and from what I know of him, he would proudly, and rightfully add his portrait to Disney history.

TONY – I WISH YOU AND YOUR TEAM MUCH SUCCESS WITH THIS!

-Daniel

 

Jennifer Fickley-Baker on November 16th, 2012 at 10:12 am

I’ll pass it on to the Imagineers. :)

118

Laurie Lee on November 16th, 2012 at 1:22 am

He desecrated the sacred mountain by mining for the gold and unleashed the curse.

119

Tim on November 16th, 2012 at 2:37 am

It’s either Tony Baxter or the Peculiar Purple Pieman from Porcupine Peak

120

Darren on November 16th, 2012 at 8:11 am

So funny to see all these guesses for Tony Baxter, he’s the first person I thought of when I saw the portrait. There’s also a resemblance to Donald Sutherland. So officially, my guess is BTMRR – perhaps something to do with the new interactive queue.

121

Stephen from MD on November 16th, 2012 at 10:07 am

It’s Donald Southerland portraying Tony Baxter for the viral video announcement of a new themed attraction “The Seven Drawfs Thunder Mountain Manor”

122

WILLIAM on November 16th, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Hmmmm… since it looks like Tony Baxter, “Upcoming project” means not yet started… Either a BTMRR queue redo since he pretty much designed the ride or, on a long shot, someone dusted off his “Discovery Bay” addition for Frontierland…

123

KD on November 16th, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Consider the backstory of Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris. The town of Thunder Mesa (which, if you know your WDW history, was the original home in WDW of a runaway mine ride (that evolved into BTMRR as well as the legendary WESTERN RIVER EXPEDITION adventure/attraction…Thunder Mesa is the foundation behind the story of Big Thunder Mountain RR –

Okay – the central character of Thunder Mesa (the name given to the Frontierland area of Disneyland Paris) who built the manor which was his home from the wealth garnered from the mines was a gentleman named Henry Ravenswood. Here is a brief summary of that related history –

Henry Ravenswood (born 1795) was a Western settler who struck gold in Big Thunder Mountain and founded the Thunder Mesa Mining Company, thus creating the city of Thunder Mesa (Frontierland as a whole). Ravenswood became rich and built himself a Victorian manor high on Boot Hill overlooking Big Thunder Mountain, where he raised a family and had a daughter, Melanie Ravenswood (born 1842).

Big Thunder mountain was rumored by Natives to be home to the Thunder Bird, a powerful spirit possessing a treasure. According to the legend, its wrath could be materialized into a terrible earthquake. However, Ravenswood would not believe such stories. Time went by, and the gold in Big Thunder Mountain ran out, making miners dig deeper into the Mountain.

Melanie grew from a young girl into a beautiful young woman, and became engaged to a train engineer who planned to take her far away from Thunder Mesa, much to the dismay of Henry. Henry did everything he could to stop the wedding, but his useless attempts were put to a stop when a terrible earthquake killed him and his wife Martha (born 1802). It seemed the Thunder Bird had been awakened, and the family was never heard of again.

My guess is that it is Henry Ravenswood – and Tony’s likeness is a grand tribute to all the amazing Imagineer has done….

124

KD on November 16th, 2012 at 9:54 pm

BTMRR in California is undergoing a major revamp – and many of the old buildings from the original attraction that was there (Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland) – the buildings that made up the town of Rainbow Ridge – are being taken out. I imagine that a stronger backstory is being worked for the attraction – and (as my prior post stated) – Henry Ravenswood is, in the mythos already attached to him, a man whose obsession with gold was what lead to his ruin.

125

HARRY from PA on November 17th, 2012 at 8:01 am

This person is going to turn into Scrooge McDuck?

126

KD on November 17th, 2012 at 9:45 am

The other really interesting thing is that there are two or three other stories about the backstory of BTMRR – you can find those floating in a few of the numerous reference books on the Disney Parks and/or Disney Imagineering…not to mention extended stories that spring outward from the base of Big Thunder Mountain Mine as well…it fascinates me to see some form of cohesive melding coming together to resolve this schismatic past. As for optioning the backstory from Disneyland Paris’s Thunder Mesa…as well as the tribute of Tony Baxter as this gentleman who has yet to be confirmed as Henry Ravenswood…along with BTMRR having been his breakthrough moment at Imagineering, Tony was also the Executive Producer of the entire Disneyland Paris Park. The amazing look of Europe’s Magic Kingdom is due to the vision and team leadership that Tony brought to manifesting that project.

In creating this iconic story and placing Tony as a central figure whose history is tied to DLP, you have created a standing (in park) tribute to Tony that covers a broad section of his career with the Disney Company…from his first attraction design to the amazing park he led into being…if this is the situation, all I can say is, “well done.”

127

Anthony on November 17th, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Is that modelled after Tony Baxter? And I have to agree it could be an expansion to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad’s story and/or queue. Or maybe it’s from a new attraction in Frontierland that somehow connects to Big Thunder like in Disneyland Paris with the Thunder Mesa plot connecting to Phantom Manor. Maybe it’s Henry Ravenswood! The possibilities are endless.

128

Anthony on November 17th, 2012 at 6:24 pm

I also have heard about a tv series about Big Thunder Mountain on ABC. Could this be included in the show even if it isn’t an attraction? I know commentors have stated this and Thunder Mesa as ideas also and i definetly agree with them.

129

Lisa from MA on November 18th, 2012 at 2:45 pm

I’ll guess Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow.

130

Kristen on November 19th, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Francisco Vásquez de Coronado?

131

jason on November 20th, 2012 at 8:16 am

I wish for the gold nugget on top of his can, I am guessing the California gold rush

132

Carole from NJ on November 20th, 2012 at 10:35 am

Since the hint says Walt Disney World RESORTS, could it be something that will be added to one of the resorts?

133

Gary from NY on November 20th, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Barnabas T. Bullion of the new enhanced Big Thunder Mountain queue. aka Tony Baxter, Big Thunder’s creator.

134

Holly from WI on November 20th, 2012 at 10:03 pm

It HAS to be Tony Baxter. Awesome. BTMRR is my guess, too.

135

Yalin on November 22nd, 2012 at 4:57 am

Tony’s eyes point down on the corners and they don’t in this portrait, so I vote Donald Sutherland as Henry Ravenswood, when do we find out?

135 Comments