Animating the Disney Parks: Marc Davis

Erin Glover

by , Director, Publicity, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Disney Legend Marc Davis

So far, we’ve covered how Claude Coats and Herb Ryman brought their skills as artists to the creation of the Disneyland Resort; this week, we finish the “Animating the Disney Parks” series with a look at the contributions of Disney Legend and animator Marc Davis. At D23’s Destination D event last month, Imagineer Tom Morris shared insights and remembrances about this remarkable artist.

One of Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men, Marc Davis started with Disney in 1935 as an animator on “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” He went on to create iconic Disney characters like Bambi, Cinderella and Tinker Bell. When the time came to develop Disneyland, Davis brought his skills in story and character development to bring attractions to life within the park.
Artwork for Pirates of the Caribbean by Disney Legend Marc Davis

“If the parks didn’t have great animators from the Walt Disney Studio,” Morris said, “I don’t think Disneyland would be what it is today.” Davis, he said, approached an attraction like Pirates of the Caribbean through the eyes of an animator and storyteller.

“I drew every scene you see there as an animator would,” Davis once said regarding the attraction – whose characters were brought to life with the help of his wife and fellow Disney Legend, Alice Davis.
Artwork for the Jungle Cruise by Disney Legend Marc Davis

Davis also brought his animator’s eye to attractions like “it’s a small world,” Haunted Mansion and Jungle Cruise. Two scenes personally added by Davis to the Jungle Cruise – the elephant pool and the trapped safari – have become guest favorites throughout the attraction’s 57-year history.

Check out the other posts in the “Animating the Disney Parks” series:


  • Hey Thomas. The pirate with the hats is something they move in and out. I went on a tour once and that was something they pointed out. So everytime we go on it, it is like a game: Will he be there or won’t he? Now that you know you can play too! 🙂

  • Sad but the pirate balancing the hats has been removed and replaced with a more tame figure. My wife and I moan when we pass by that area of Pirates of the Caribbean.

  • Mr. Davis was amazing. I cannot compliment his talent enough. I loved that my stateroom on the Disney Wonder showcased his pirate designs (as shown above)!

    I would like to add that if it were not for Mr. Marc Davis and Mr. Claude Coats we would not have my favorite attraction of all time — the Haunted Mansion. The marriage of styles of these two artists is unbelievable and I cannot imagine the HM any other way.

  • What a juggernaut. The term “legend” can be overused these days, but nowhere is it more applicable than with Marc Davis. PotC, Cinderella, Snow White, Disneyland… thank you so very much Marc!!

    And thank you to Erin for the excellent series!

    • Thanks, Dustin! It was really interesting to dig deeper into the stories of these talented people – glad you enjoyed it as well.

  • Has anyone else been seeing the generic “Coke” cups lately in the parks? Or the napkins with no Disneyland logo? What happened to the cups with the Disney logo’s on them?

  • I love marc. I cried the day he passed away! He has left a legacy for the world to know! Glad Walt found him!! Oh and Alice is a pretty good gal too!! XXO

  • I adore Marc Davis! He was so talented and really shaped the look and feel of some of the most popular parts of Disneyland. Great post and series.

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