Everyone knows that we wouldn’t have the moments and memories of the most amazing attractions in the world if it wasn’t for Walt Disney Imagineering.  There are only few Imagineers that will be epitomized as “Legend!”  After all said and done, Tony Baxter will be looked to as one of the greatest minds and creators who ever walked the hallways of WDI.

Doug Barnes (Owner/Producer of the Season Pass Podcast), Brent Young (Creative Director/President of Super 78), Robert Coker (Owner/Editor of Thrillride.com), Ryan Harmon (President of Zeitgeist), and Sasha Bailyn (Co-Founder/Editor-In-Chief of EntertainmentDesigner.com) sit with Tony, in his elaborately themed home, to discuss his career, passion for Disney, thoughts on the industry, early mentors, and Disneyland’s evolution, as well as the creative process behind many of his projects, including Thunder Mountain Railroad.  A must listen for anyone who’s a fan of Disney Parks and/or loves the Themed Entertainment Industry. Plus, come on…Tony is now a 2013 Disney Legend!!  Beautiful.

Let us know what you take away from this very personal interview with Tony Baxter.

  • realsurf

    I’m not trying to be a jerk but do ya think ol’ Tony is starting to look like Walt himself? Just an early morning observation.

    • I think Tony’s a lot like Walt in many ways. He understands the needs of the park to make money, but wants to do so in a way that provides unique entertainment value at the highest levels of quality. His retirement may be cheered by many in Imagineering who saw him as a roadblock to their lesser plans, but it is a HUGE loss to the Disney Company which really needed his stewardship and commitment to maintaining the soul of Disneyland. Not sure there is really anyone with the power or will to take over that role from Tony. Nor folks able to stand up to the powers that be and say “No” when necessary (without losing their jobs).

      • DisWedWay

        “Happiness is being able to say no!” Kate Hepburn

  • Tony has a presence that can’t be described until you sit and talk with him. Incredibly humble, an unbelievable memory, and a strong confidence in his work. I’m sure those are qualities that Walt had too…or at least, that’s what I’ve heard. He’s earned that “Legend” status and I imagine that Disney will ask him for more of his consulting and guidance down the road.

  • David Hollenbeck

    Well done! Nice balance of just letting him talk without interruption when necessary, but also showing that you were listening by asking good follow-up questions. I can’t say as much about your treatment of listeners by ending the show there, though! 😉


    • KennyVee

      I very much agree with Dave. It’s Tony Freakin’ Baxter. We don’t need a cliffhanger to tune in to the rest. I’ll be listening if I happen to see part two posted, but “bribing” listeners by saying you’ll post part two earlier if we give good review on iTunes is a lame, immature, and desperate move and made me really not like you so I will not be a regular listener.

      • KennyVee, my apologies for offending you in any way; we are always having fun with our present and (hopefully) future audience. For the past five plus years we have always tried to engage our listeners as friends, and we try to create a fun way to have the listener get involved. In no way was that meant to truly be a bribe, but only trying to have fun and enjoy the moment. I know our listeners of past years understand this, but you’re right, I did not take in consideration new listeners and how immature, ridiculous, and absurd the message can come across. We ended up speaking with Tony for over two hours (we unfortunately can’t publish it all in one episode) and he was well informed on how we were presenting the podcast. I understand your frustration with the podcast and choice to not listen. Thank you for the time you did spend with us though, it was an honor to read your concerns.


    • Dave, thank you so much for the kind words. Tony is very special to all our hearts and it’s an honor to have this experience. It’s interesting that you brought up the “no interruption” element. I never really thought about it before, but I can say that every interview and conversation we go into, we never write a list of questions, we just want our guest to share his/her story. For the most part, it seems to work. Thanks again for your generosity and apologies for the ending…it’s all in fun, but I’m also aware of how frustrating it is and will learn from it. 😉


  • jazzbanjo

    I don’t listen to very many podcast but this one I listened to non-stop. I hope part II talks Splash Mountain and the loss of America Sings.

    • Awesome! Great to hear! Just a heads up–we’re in the middle of finishing up part 2 and it will be posted early next week. As for Splash…We get a little into it, but that story is so big that it can take up a couple of hours by itself. I see mostly a little dragon and some droids in the near future.

      Thanks for the Kind Words.


  • Jungle Trekkie

    This is great living history by bring Claude Coats, et al. back to the present.

    Tony Baxter should write a book on mentorship. The guy has great life wisdom and advice, in addition to being a creative genius.