Today, Harrison “Buzz” Price, research economist and one of Walt Disney’s most trusted advisors, was honored posthumously with a window on Main Street, U.S.A., in Disneyland park. In a ceremony hosted by Tom Staggs (Chairman, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts) and Michael Colglazier (President, Disneyland Resort), family members, friends and Disney Legends remembered Buzz for the key role he played in Disney history.
“Buzz Price was a true Disney Legend in every sense of the word whose extraordinary contributions left a lasting mark on Walt Disney Company that few can match,” said Tom Staggs. “In addition to helping Walt select the locations for both Disneyland and the Walt Disney World Resort, Buzz played a significant role in virtually every project that has made Disney Parks an iconic institution.”
In 1953, while with the Stanford Research Institute, Buzz helped find the perfect location for Walt’s new concept in outdoor entertainment, Disneyland Resort. Buzz analyzed potential sites in the Southern California area, ultimately focusing on 160 acres of orange groves in Anaheim. “We hit it right on the nose,” Buzz later recalled, “dead center. That was the perfect place for it.” He also determined that Central Florida was best suited for an “East Coast Disneyland” in 1963. In all, Buzz conducted more than 150 project studies for The Walt Disney Company, including site selection and feasibility for Tokyo Disneyland.
Despite the fact that Buzz was never a Disney employee, he and Walt had a relationship built on mutual trust and respect. In 1966, Walt personally appointed Buzz to care for one of his most prized projects, the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia. Walt’s daughter Diane Disney Miller remembered Buzz as integral to the CalArts project: “Before he entered the hospital,” Diane reminisced, “Dad had placed a stack of notebooks in Buzz’s hands, saying, ‘Here, take care of my school for me!’ Dad knew the hands to place his dream in, that Buzz would see it through … and he did.” More than 30 years after its 1971 opening, Buzz remained a dedicated trustee of CalArts. He said at the time, “I have never thought of leaving the school.”
Buzz received a lifetime achievement award from the Themed Entertainment Association in 1994; the award was subsequently re-named “The Buzz Price Thea Award” in his honor. In 2003, Buzz authored his autobiography, Walt’s Revolution! By the Numbers, which tells how Walt and Roy approached strategic planning issues and the impact of their innovation in the attraction field. Buzz was named a Disney Legend in 2003.