Thursday, October 7, 2010

How Walt Changed My Life

Rick, 58, Phoenix, AZ

Walt DisneyI started going to Disneyland when I was 7 -- 51 years ago. I've been there, on average, once a year ever since. I have always been thrilled and in awe of the Park's attention to detail and remember looking at the lichens painstakingly created, attached, and painted onto the Swiss Family Robinson tree house and how everything was laid out, lit, costumed, and set up so people could get to and from everything as efficiently as possible. Every time I went, I'd look (and listen) for things I hoped were still there (like the jumping fish in the backway to Fantasyland from Frontierland) and marvel at everything that was either new, or I just hadn't noticed before. Sometimes it was very hard to tell the difference.

Today I am the technical director (and lighting/sound designer) for a theater here in Phoenix and the cadre of actors. Directors and producers who bring their work to my stage consistently report their sense of being taken care of, as if I were one of the performers on stage with them. They note my attention to detail and how much that all makes a difference. They always ask where I learned how to do it, the way I do, because it's so much better than their experience with other technical people. I've always said "I just paid attention" but you know ... seeing this invitation to muse on Walt's impact on my life, I'd have to blame him as much as any other single stimulus. And even now, at 58, I'd rather just be walking through Disneyland than almost any other activity I can think of. Thanks Walt!

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