IAAPA 2015: Legends share insights into legacy left by Walt Disney

In what was a very special edition of IAAPA’s annual Legends panel, BRC Imagination Arts’ Bob Rogers gathered a host of legendary representatives of the attractions industry to discuss the 60-year legacy left by Walt Disney and Disneyland.

Addressing a packed auditorium, Rogers played chair asking the panel a series of questions about their involvement with, or in competition with, Disney through their historic careers, to discuss the park’s impact on the industry and what lessons can be learnt to this very day.

Current Cedar Fair president and CEO, and former president of the Disneyland California and, Matt Ouimet, was the first member of the panel introduced.

“If you are trying to get someone’s attention or their endorsement it’s not about them, it’s about their family,” said Oumitette, discussing finding the balance between what sponsors want and what the guest wants. “If I go to town and someone gives me something relevant to me, that’s ok. If you give me something that’s relevant to my daughter, I’m going to pay attention and I’m going to take it home. You have to first get the heart before you can get the head. This is something Disney has done extremely well, both with guests and business partners.”

Tom Mehrmann, was what Rogers called a “controversial” addition to the panel, given that throughout his career he has spent most of his time in competition with Disney. Mehrmann, who first competed against Disney at Knott’s Berry Farm in California and then at Ocean Park in Hong Kong, praised Disney, calling the company a catalyst.

“When Walter Knott and his family travelled to Disney on opening day in 1955, when he got back to Knott’s Berry Farm he said ‘I don’t know how much longer we can stay in business, we can’t compete with this’,” said Merhmann. “When he pulled up to the park his operations manager came up to him and said ‘we just had our best day in history’, the same day that Disney opened. Suddenly the lightbulb came on and you realise you change your standards to complement Disney.

“When Ocean Park was pre-existing and Disney came to Hong Kong, I was over at Disney on opening day and we had our best day ever the same day that Disney opened,” he continued. “History was repeating itself. Disney makes everyone better and I’m glad they came along when they did because it made it possible for us to grow our own brand.”

New IAAPA Hall of Fame inductee, Jack Lindquist, who was Disneyland’s first president, said that the future was bright for the attractions industry, praising the growth seen in recent years.

“I think today there’s more opportunity than ever and that’s demonstrated by IAAPA,” he said. “Look at the number of new theme parks, waterparks and so forth. The industry is growing tremendously. I don’t know where the next Walter Knott is coming from but it’s not important because it’s a new world with new challenges and they are going to make this happen in the future. New ideas are going to come from the industry. You’ve got to be embedded and love what you’re doing and think outside the box. Go crazy.”

Concluding the session, Marty Sklar, who spent many years leading Walt Disney Imagineering, said that it doesn’t matter about making mistakes and knowing everything as long as you learn from it.

“I was in a meeting one time with Walt Disney and he asked me a question,” said Sklar. “I answered it and when I went back to my office I discovered that I’d given him the wrong information. I made the biggest mistake that anyone could make, I didn’t pick up the phone and tell Walt that I’d given him the wrong information. About a year later a similar subject came up and this time I answered correctly and he look at me and said ‘the last time we talked about this YOU SAID’. That was a turning point for my career because from then on I taught everybody at Imagineering that you’re not expected to know everything and if you don’t know the answer just say ‘I don’t know but I’ll find out’. It was a great failure on my part but it was one of the biggest learning points that I experienced.

“I am so jealous of all these great tools you have on offer to you,” he added. “Make sure you have fun with it!”

Related stories
19 Nov 2015

IAAPA 2015: Sally reveals world-first Walking Dead attraction

18 Nov 2015

IAAPA 2015: Keith James wins lifetime achievement Thea award

18 Nov 2015

IAAPA 2015: SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby outlines company's vision for the future

18 Nov 2015

IAAPA 2015: Coaster within a coaster coming to Playland's Castaway Cove

In what was a very special edition of IAAPA’s annual Legends panel, BRC Imagination Arts’ Bob Rogers gathered a host of legendary representatives of the attractions industry to discuss the 60-year legacy left by Walt Disney and Disneyland. Addressing a packed auditorium, Rogers played chair asking the panel a series of questions about their involvement with, or in competition with, Disney through their historic careers, to discuss the park’s impact
BRC's Bob Rogers hosted the panel of Disney legends to a capacity crowd / Tom Anstey
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7737     
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7737     
company profile
Company profile: Barr + Wray Ltd
Founded in 1959, Barr + Wray is recognised as a world-leading provider of spa design, engineering and pool & spa equipment.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
The latest concept design for the West Kowloon Cultural District was unveiled in July 2014
"We’re going into unknown territory. That’s where real innovation can occur"

It’s an ambitious experiment for Hong Kong, but will the West Kowloon Cultural District turn out to be a white elephant or a new model for development in the city?

The New Mini Estadi is designed with a belt that ‘hugs’ the players to give them support
"Whatever your allegiances, you have to admit that no football club has a brand quite like FC Barcelona. "

FC Barcelona is taking on its rivals with its ambitious €600m expansion project Kim Megson speaks to the architects involved

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
The Venice festival is one of the most important in the architectural calendar
"Freespace describes a generosity of spirit and a sense of humanity at the core of architecture’s agenda"

On the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale theme

The duo are aiming to work with hotels, resorts and sports clubs
Meis has helped design some of the world’s most successful stadiums
"It’s one of the tragedies of the US that so many of our stadiums get replaced after 20 years"

The Everton and AS Roma stadium architect talks through the challenges and rewards of sports facility design

The Green Heart at the centre of the Marina One development in Singapore
Mary Bowman studied at the University of Virginia and the Architectural Association
"Marina One was quite special in the degree of integration between the landscaping and architecture "

The Gustafson Porter + Bowman partner on the landscape projects changing the face of our cities

Stephen Barrett (left) 
and John McElgunn (right) were both made partners at RSHP in 2016
"Leisure space – public space – is at the very root of democracy, and architecture is about democracy"

As RSHP completes its latest cultural project, we speak to two of its partners about why Richard Rogers isn’t leaving his succession to chance

The home also features two curved towers, which house the bedrooms and a play area for the children
"I firmly believe that homes are for children as much as they are for adults"

Alex Michaelis and his partner have seven children. He designed their home to be full of fun

The W Guangzhou in China was inspired by classical Japanese dance-theatre
Fu studied at the University of Cambridge in the UK. He set up his practice in 2000
"I've done 80 interviews in the past 60 days"

The Hong Kong-based designer on his transportative year

cladkit product news
Codelocks develops new glass door smart lock
The new lock model allows facilities and building managers to create and manage access via an app or online portal
Megan Whitby
Codelocks has launched its first glass door smart lock to bring intelligent access control to modern spa, leisure, fitness and ...
Alberto Apostoli designs tech-forward Wellness Therapy furniture collection for Varaschin
The furniture collection draws on absolute geometries, pure lines, neutral colours and strong references to nature
Megan Whitby
Furniture manufacturer Varaschin has unveiled the new Wellness Therapy range, designed by Italian spa and wellness architect and designer Alberto ...
Jaffe Holden helps bring Academy Museum of Motion Pictures alive
Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics for the Academy Museum
Magali Robathan
Acoustical consulting firm Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics and audio/video design services for the recently opened Academy Museum of Motion ...
cladkit product news
Mather & Co and ITV unite to create Coronation Street Experience
Mather & Co has transformed the visitor centre into the ultimate haven for ardent Coronation Street viewers
Magali Robathan
Experience designers, Mather & Co, have orchestrated a remarkable collaboration with ITV to unveil the new Coronation Street Experience, a ...
Eden project uses drones to spell out climate change warning
Magali Robathan
Almost 300 drones were used to signal an environmental message above the Eden Project’s biomes, during the UN Climate Change ...
Fabio Alemanno Design uses elegant semi-precious stones to create memorable spa experiences
Alemanno believes the stones are well-placed in the spa environment thanks to their capacity to positively support physical and mental health
Megan Whitby
Fabio Alemanno Design has expanded its collection with semi-precious stones to enhance spas, wellness facilities, hotels and private residences. The ...
cladkit product news
Diamond balloon concept merges tourist attraction with advertising billboard
Magali Robathan
A group of Dutch engineers have presented a new attractions concept that combines a flying observation cabin with LED digital ...
Koto Design introduces wood-fired hot tub
Koto is known for crafting modular, energy-neutral cabins and homes
Katie Barnes
A striking wood-fired hot tub has been unveiled by Koto, an architecture and design studio which has a passion for ...
Alberto Apostoli and Newform collaborate to launch the A.Zeta showerhead
The showerhead offers two modes; rainfall or waterfall
Megan Whitby
Italian architect Alberto Apostoli has renewed his partnership with Newform – an Italian wellness company – and designed A.Zeta. A.Zeta ...
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates