TMZ

Our TV Shows

Got a Tip?

Call TMZ at (888) 847-9869 or Click Here

Top Disney Theme Park Designer to Leave

2/19/2006 6:13 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS -- One of Walt Disney's top theme park designers is stepping down after decades of service, signaling the end of an era for the Magic Kingdom.

Marty Sklar is one of the last remaining employees who once worked closely with the company's co-founder, Walt Disney.

The 72-year-old said he would leave his executive job at Walt Disney Imagineering to serve as its "ambassador," according to a memo to colleagues Thursday.

He helped to design such park attractions as "The Enchanted Tiki Room," "It's a Small World" and "Space Mountain."

"He understands the Disney way because he learned it at Walt's knee," said Jim Cora, a former chairman of Disneyland International. "He is the keeper of the keys, the conscience, the Jiminy Cricket for the organization."

Sklar said he had long planned to step down after reaching two milestones the 50th anniversary of Disneyland and his own half-century at the company. Last year he reached the first mark, and this June he will hit the other.

The move follows Disney's recent announcement that after its planned acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios this summer, Pixar's creative chief, John Lasseter, will help design rides for Disney's theme parks. Lasseter also will become chief creative officer of both animation studios.

The timing of Sklar's decision was unrelated to Lasseter's pending arrival, Disney officials said.

Low-key and unimposing, Sklar is revered by a generation of designers he trained, dubbed "Imagineers," for his mentoring and his links to the company's heritage. Sklar condensed Walt Disney's ideas into a widely circulated creed called "Mickey's Ten Commandments."

COMMENTS

No Avatar

1.

euby44    

On Disney ruining the world - If it's not broke don't fix it. While we're at it, what is up with River County, I sure do miss it.

2316 days ago
2.

Vast Majority    

Marty, Congrats on an amazing and great tenure. Your influence is historic and will be never ending. Now please before you leave, kick some butts to ensure that those lame changes to It's a Small World do not happen. Save the rain forest!

2316 days ago
3.

lois preston    

I WENT TO DISNEYLAND THE YR IT OPENED. I WAS A STARRY EYED TEEN. I WATCHED THE LANDS GROW, FOR BETTER AND SOMETIMES WORSE. MY GROWN GRANDCHLKIDREN AND I STILL GO NOW AND THEN. ONE OF THE BEST...I MEAN THE BEST EXPERIENCES I SHARE WITH THEM IS, "IT'S A SMALL WORLD" THE RAIN FOREST ALWAYS SEEMED SO MAGICAL AND INVITING. I CANNOT IMAGINE A MICKY OR NEMO OR PRINCESS OF THE DAY TAKING THE PLACE OF ANY ONE THING ALREADY IN THE RIDE. GIVE US A BREAK!!! MICKEY IS ALL RULING EVERYWHERE ELSE ...LEAVE US OUR INTERNATIONAL DAY DREAMS!!!

2315 days ago
4.

Lia    

It's heartbreaking that Walt Disney's way of looking at things is going down the tubes quickly as the men who helped create it are dying off. They are being replaced by people who don't know how to animate without a computer, who think hip-hop is the way everyone wants to go, and who don't have a clue what families are still looking for when they go to Disney World or Disneyland. The innocence is going and is being replaced by people designing with today's values in mind. I guess we had better hurry up and visit Disney World one last time before it no longer resembles anything we once knew. Then our visits will end. I'm sad about that.

2286 days ago

Around The Web