I’m saddened by the passing of X Atencio, a true Disney Legend in every sense of the word, and a warm, humble, and kind person. X was a key contributor to many facets of Disney, from animation, with a specialty in stop-motion animation, to Disney theme parks, where he was a writer, no only writing dialogue for attractions such as the submarines, the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, but also penning lyrics for some of the classic songs like Grim Grinning Ghosts, Yo Ho (A Pirates Life for Me), The Bear Band Serenade for the Country Bear Jamboree, and several others.
I hope you enjoy my interview I did with X back in 2007. I’m so grateful that he shared his story with me, and that I may share with you.
Here are some more never-before-seen photos of Walt Disney World under construction. These were taken by Donald M. Gardner, who was the chief electrical engineer at MAPO, the manufacturing department at Walt Disney Imagineering. An electrical and mechanical engineer, Don worked not only on the opening of Walt Disney World, but also worked on Disneyland projects and attractions such as the Walt Disney World monorail. Enjoy!
It really saddens me to report that Marty Sklar has passed away. A true Disney Legend, Marty was originally hired to write for the Disneyland News souvenir newspaper, and soon became Walt’s top writer. He wrote many of Walt’s speeches and other company communications and ultimately became the head of Walt Disney Imagineering.
Recently, Marty and I had been in touch, as I was going to interview him. Several Disney Legends that I know how contacted Marty to encourage him to interview me, and I just love what he emailed me! “Gee Scott – How come you didn’t get Bob Iger to say I should talk to you? Looks like you have most of the Legends …”
In preparation for the interview, I’ve been reading Marty’s wonderful book, “Dream It! Do It! My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms.” While I never got that interview, I’m grateful to have his stories.
I’m excited to share with you the first of a number of photos I will be posting of Walt Disney World under construction! These NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN photos are by Donald M. Gardner, who was the chief electrical engineer at MAPO, the manufacturing department at Walt Disney Imagineering. An electrical and mechanical engineer, Don worked not only on the opening of Walt Disney World, but also worked on Disneyland projects and attractions such as the Walt Disney World monorail.
I’m sad to report that Mouse Clubhouse friend John “Doc” Anello has passed away. Doc had a fascinating Disney career, and I had fun interviewing backstage at Disneyland’s Carnation Plaza Gardens a few years ago, which I’ll share on here really soon! After leading his own big band, Doc began his Disney career as Production Manager at Disneyland in 1975, making sure all entertainment venues in the park were up and running smoothly. In his second year, Doc took over another great Disney tradition, the All American College Band Program, giving top college musicians a once in a lifetime music, performance, and educational opportunity. Doc told me, “I set up auditions around the country and auditioned students from the various colleges. We then chose those students who would be invited to participate both at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. My title at that time was Education Program Director. I left Disney in 1980 to accept a professorship at College of The Desert in Palm Desert and was there for eight years. We developed a singing, dancing performing group and performed locally and at various locations around the country. After I left the college, I returned to Disney in 1992 and I was assigned as Manager of Talent Booking (for Disneyland and the Disneyland Hotel). Sonny Anderson was working primarily in Florida at that time. I left that position I believe in 1996 and decided I would just kick back and start my band again. Stan Freese was working here and I told him I’ve got the band, and we started playing here and I’ve been here ever since, just playing the one night a month. It’s been a great association.” “Doc” will be missed.
Mother Nature was so nice to me when I took this photo of Peter Pan’s Flight in the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World! Look at how she placed those beautiful clouds perfectly to complement this marquee!
Jamie Gunyuz in front of Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World, still under constructionEnjoyed interviewing Jamie Gunyuz, head engineer for the opening of Walt Disney World. I’m looking forward to sharing the fascinating conversation with you. Here’s a photo of Jamie in front of Cinderella Castle, still under construction.