It’s Women’s History Month! The Walt Disney Company has been highlighting the work of women in its legacy throughout the month as it celebrates their legacy and also their contributions to the 100 years of the company. Today, the Disney Parks Blog shared two books that highlight women’s trailblazing efforts at The Walt Disney Company.
The first book is The Story of Disney 100 Years of Wonder. This book showcases the company’s history and rich legacy. Director of Disney Archives, Rebecca (Becky) Cline, described the book as “Disney 100: The Exhibition on steroids.” Becky has been with Disney since 1989 and joined The Walt Disney Archives team four years later. Today, she now leads The Walt Disney Archives. In this role she “preserves Disney’s history and makes the materials available to researchers from all areas of the company, as well as historians, writers, documentarians and fans around the world.” She also had a central role in the creation of Disney100: The Exhibition at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. She also helped created this book.
“We wanted to tell 100 years of history without it being a chronological timeline. We decided to start with Walt because he is the foundation of the company and then look at everything Walt did, things that we still do today. We created an exhibit that features his philosophies, like the importance of storytelling, innovation, cutting-edge technology, music, as well as preservation of nature and how we portray that in the theme parks and guest experiences,” said Becky.
The second book that was featured is Women of Walt Disney Imagineering. This tells the stories of 12 women who were Imagineers and helped create the magic that is beloved around the world today. Each chapter has its own story and voice as a different Imagineer tells her story. The Disney Parks Blog shared, “The book travels through time, which offers glimpses of what it takes to create a theme park, and the struggles unique to women in a workplace that was overwhelmingly male.”
Peggie Fariss, a retired executive creative development Imagineer, spent the last five of her Disney years leading the Imagineering Design and Show Quality team at Disneyland Paris. She shared about the changes she saw happen over her 5-decades working at Disney, “in the early years, there were no women in leadership roles.”
“But over time, more and more talented women have come to contribute to all aspects of Disney’s endeavors … and that’s been really wonderful to see.”
Elisabete (Eli) Erlandson, another retired imagineer who was the principal concept architect Imagineer is also in this book. At the start of her career with Imagineering, she helped work on the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT), the World Showcase pavilions, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. Throughout the course of her career, she would work on every Disney park around the globe.
Eli shared that it was common to be working with only men. This was just the norm and wasn’t something that would bother her. She saw herself as someone who had plenty to offer and learn and gender did not matter. “Having an open mind, willingness to constantly learn, being flexible and positive are key attributes to have at the start of one’s career. At the end, you realize you have worked with amazing people, together creating what some define as the impossible.”
Both of these books are available for purchase wherever books are sold. Have you read either or both of them? What did you think? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!
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