Tony Baxter is retiring? A tweet by Eddie Soto this afternoon said: “Disney legend and my boss tony Baxter announced his retirement effective tomorrow. End of an Era. Can’t imagine WDI without him.”
Later in the day, Soto tweeted: “@boss_angeles: Just to be clear on Tony, I’ve been told he’s not really retiring but will be a consultant. That’s good news!”
Tony Baxter has been a fan favorite for many years, visiting numerous conventions and speaking to the fans at special events. DAPs Magic Disney News will continue to update this story as more information becomes available as to what his future will be (if at all) with the Walt Disney Company.
Here is a bio from the Disney website of Tony Baxter:
Tony Baxter has played a key role in the design and creation of many Disney attractions and theme parks of the last thirty years, including Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, the Indiana Jones™ Adventure, and the overall creative role for Disneyland® Park and Disneyland® Paris. Now a senior vice president of Creative Development and creative executive in charge of the Disneyland® Park portfolio, Baxter is responsible for providing creative ideas and input for Walt Disney’s original theme park. Recently, he was a creative executive on Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, which opened at Disneyland® park in June 2007.
Baxter began his Disney career in 1965 at Disneyland® park while completing his education at California State University, Long Beach, graduating in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in theater design. As part of his portfolio, he presented a precisely engineered model of a “Marble Maze” to executives at Walt Disney Imagineering, and was hired in 1970 as a dimensional designer. He was sent to Florida to work on the Walt Disney World® Resort, which opened in 1971. In the mid-70’s he developed the concept for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which opened at Disneyland® park in 1979 and is now featured at every Disneyland-style park throughout the world.
In 1989, he was appointed senior vice president responsible for the concept development, design and creation of Disneyland® Paris (1992). He continued to provide creative direction for new shows and enhancements at Disneyland® park in California, including the Indiana Jones™ Adventure, which opened in 1995, and the major redevelopment of Tomorrowland that opened in May 1998. Born in Los Angeles, Baxter resides in Anaheim, California, in an imaginative home he designed. In 1988 he received the “Distinguished Alumni Award” in fine arts from California State University, Long Beach, the “Over the Years Award” by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), and most recently the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).
Walt Disney Imagineering is the unique innovative organization that creates — from concept through construction, all Disney theme parks, resorts, attractions, cruise ships, real estate developments, and regional entertainment venues worldwide. Imagineering’s unique strength comes from the teamwork and syntheses of creative and technical professionals representing more than one hundred-forty diverse disciplines.