Since Disneyland first opened its gates in 1955, thousands upon thousands of people have helped create the magic for millions to enjoy. These magic makers have been leaders in many different areas of the Walt Disney Company. Some have contributed directly to the parks in a way that shines above the rest. These are people like Dick Nunis, Richard & Robert Sherman, Wally Boag, Marc Davis, Herbert Ryman, and now Tony Baxter. This is an honor dedicated to those who have made lasting contributions to the Disney theme parks.
Tony Baxter began his Disney career on Main Street, USA at Disneyland as an ice cream scooper. This began a career for Baxter that would last nearly half a century. Through this career he developed and created attractions for Disneyland and other Disney Theme Parks around the globe. He would be instrumental in creating Big Thunder Mountain, Fantasyland (Disneyland 1983), Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure, and the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage to name a few. He was instrumental in the creation of Disneyland Paris and has helped with many favorite attractions since beginning work at Imagineering in 1970. He frequently could be found walking through Disneyland as he experienced attractions and chatted with guests.
Earlier this year Baxter retired from Walt Disney Imagineering. Since his retirement, he has been named a Disney Legend and on Friday was given the honor of a window dedicated to him on Main Street, USA. The ceremony took place on a beautiful Friday morning. Many Disney legends (and other recipients of window dedications) were in attendance, as were a host of Disney Imagineers. The ceremony began at half past eight, before Disneyland opened for the day. The ceremony included remarks by Disneyland President Michael Colglazier, Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs, and Walt Disney Imagineering Chief Creative Executive Bruce Vaughn. They were joined for the unveiling of the window by Mickey Mouse.
The window reads: Main Street Marvels. Tony Baxter, Inventor. “Imagination is in the Heart of our Creations.” Although he has left behind his official duties as a Walt Disney Imagineer, he still is a creative advisor and mentor to many new Imagineers who have now taken the reigns at Imagineering as they charge into a new century with the same level of creativity and vigor that Imagineering has always been known for. His role as a mentor is invaluable and was noted several times throughout the ceremony. Tony Baxter’s legacy at the Walt Disney Company will be seen by guests daily as they walk by the Magic Shop at Disneyland or ride an attraction that has his finger prints. His legacy will also be felt through the voices, thoughts, and creative ideas that come through those he has mentored and continues to mentor.
Disneyland and all the Disney Theme Parks are always about new ideas and dreams, Tony Baxter has helped cultivate those dreams and ideas and will continue to do this in his new role. And as long as these dreams continue to grow and thrive, Disney theme parks will be magical places.
Tony Baxter was named a Disney Legend at the 2013 D23 Expo.
Photos of the Tony Baxter Window Dedication Ceremony at Disneyland: