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Disney Legend Tony Baxter Honored with Window on Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland Park

posted on November 1st, 2013 by Jon Storbeck, Vice President, Disneyland Park


Tony Baxter, who began his Disney career as a Disneyland host serving ice cream and went on to help define the modern Disney theme park as an Imagineer, was honored today with a window on Main Street, U.S.A. In a ceremony hosted by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs, Walt Disney Imagineering Chief Creative Executive Bruce Vaughn and Disneyland Resort President Michael Colglazier, family members, friends and Disney Legends recognized Tony for his significant contributions.

“Receiving a window on Main Street is an honor reserved for those who have made an indelible mark on Walt Disney Parks and Resorts,” said Staggs. “It’s a subtle, yet significant in-park tribute to the people who have lent their talents, passion and creativity to making our parks and resorts a place where dreams become reality. Tony has taken us on some incredible journeys over the years and has amassed a remarkable legacy – one now marked with a tangible recognition of all his efforts.”

Tony’s window, located above the Main Street Magic Shop, states: Main Street Marvels, Tony Baxter, Inventor, “Imagination is in the Heart of our Creations.” The last line is a creative nod to “One Little Spark,” the memorable song written by Disney Legends Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman for the Journey Into Imagination Pavilion at Epcot – a project spearheaded by Tony for the park’s original lineup of attractions in 1982.

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Tony was born in 1947 and grew up in Orange County, Calif. It was the perfect time and place for this future Imagineer—he not only witnessed the birth of the theme park industry, but he also grew up alongside his beloved Disneyland.

Tony started at Disneyland in 1965 at Carnation Plaza Gardens. He moved to other roles in attractions during the five years he worked at the park. One day, while trying to get a peek at Pirates of the Caribbean, a chance encounter with Imagineer and Disney Legend Claude Coats led to a personal tour of the unfinished attraction. Unbeknownst to both of them, Coats would one day be a mentor to Tony when he joined the ranks as an Imagineer.

In 1970, Tony became an Imagineer and was a field art director for the opening of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at Magic Kingdom park in Walt Disney World. Over the years, Tony has not only played a key role in the development of many beloved attractions at the Disneyland Resort, such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (1979), New Fantasyland (1983), Star Tours (1987), Splash Mountain (1989), and Indiana Jones Adventure (1995), he has shared his creative influence at other Disney Parks and Resorts across the globe. In addition to being involved in the opening of Walt Disney World Resort in 1971, he also served as senior vice president responsible for the concept development, design and creation of Disneyland Paris for its opening in 1992.

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More recently Tony was involved in the development of the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (2007), the re-opening of an enhanced Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough (2008), an upgraded restoration of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln (2009), and Fantasy Faire (2013).

On February 1, 2013, Tony announced that he would step down from his Imagineering role as Senior Vice President of Creative Development. He remains a creative advisor and mentor of a new generation of Imagineers and continues to work on new ideas and attractions combining time-tested design practices with modern technology.

Tony was recently named a Disney Legend in August at the D23 Expo in Anaheim.

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Filed: Disney History, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

12 Comments

1

Matthew from CA on November 1st, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Congrats, Tony Baxter! Some of my all-time favorite attractions have come from the imagination and talents of this man. All of his achievements in the Disney theme park universe make this honor so well deserved!

2

Oleg from CA on November 1st, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Congratulations Tony! So well deserved. Thank you for the wonderful experiences and memories you’ve helped create over the years.

3

Fred from CA on November 1st, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Congratulations Tony! :) This is a well deserved honor.

4

Jeffrey on November 1st, 2013 at 9:53 pm

An exceedingly well deserved honor for one of my favorite Imagineers. Mr. D is smiling down sweetly from above.

5

Mike from AB on November 1st, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Can you let us know how we would send a fan letter to Tony?

6

Margo on November 1st, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Congratulations Tony!! I loved getting to see you at D23 and I am so excited that you will now forever be a part of Disneyland via your window on Main Street. So excited for you!!

7

Danny on November 2nd, 2013 at 1:20 am

Congratulations Tony! this honor is WAY overdue.

8

Lisa on November 3rd, 2013 at 8:16 am

Many congratulations to you, Tony!!!!! You have received accolades over the years, I am sure – but this one probably means the most! You have inspired Imagineers and non-Imagineers alike with your talents, insights and people skills for many years. You deserve this honor!

9

Brock from MA on November 3rd, 2013 at 2:36 pm

I recently wrote Tony Baxter a fan letter, congratulating him for being inducted as a Disney Legend at the recent D23 Expo and his then upcoming Disneyland window.

I was stunned when a short time later I received a completely unexpected reply from Mr. Baxter. His note was handwritten on Walt Disney Imagineering stationary and referenced several points that I had written (such as my love for Figment & the Dreamfinder and amazement at his career). Mr. Baxter also included one of his business cards.

I never expected a response but his personal touch made his letter a much cherished Disney “souvenir”. Tony Baxter’s letter is kept in a very safe spot in my home and I still can’t believe that the gentleman took the time to write back to this fan.

I don’t know if Tony Baxter will ever read this but THANK YOU from the bottom of this Disney fan’s heart! As we stereotypically say here in Massachusetts, Mr. Baxter – you are WICKED AWESOME!

10

Anthony on November 4th, 2013 at 10:51 am

Congratulations! I love the windows on Main St. tradition.

I hope Mr. Baxter will have a hand in the revised Imagination pavilion!

11

Dustin on November 4th, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Congrats Tony, and thanks for all you’ve done for Disney!! @Brock, that’s a way cool story :-)

12

Ryan from West Midlands on November 6th, 2013 at 5:49 am

I want to thank this man for some of my greatest memories – memories of past and memories yet to be had. All of those being at the Disney Park very close to my heart – Disneyland Paris. If it wasn’t for this true Disney fan turned Imagineer, Disneyland Paris wouldn’t exist as it does today; it wouldn’t exist as the most beautiful Disney Park ever created (Tony’s words as well as mine!).

In my eyes, bias ones of course, Disneyland Paris is the greatest thing Tony has ever worked on; it’s the culmination of his Imagineering genius.

12 Comments