Disney Legend Tony Baxter receives his Window on Main Street

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Disneyland Resort, Features

Tagged: , , , ,


Published on November 01, 2013 at 11:59 am with 33 Comments

Who could have guessed in 1965 that Disneyland ice cream scooper Tony Baxter would one day have his own window on Main Street U.S.A.   A window is an honor only bestowed upon the most notable and influential of Imagineers and Disneyland leaders. Tony received his window above the Magic Shop on Main Street to celebrate the years of magic he has shared with others.

Tony was hired by the Disney company at age 17 and went on to work as a ride operator on a number of attractions, including Adventures Through Inner Space.  Tony was always curious about show at the park.  He was there in the park while major attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion were being developed.  In fact, Tony often tells stories of how he was always trying to sneak into the Mansion to check out the latest effects tests going on.  After one glimpse at Leotta’s disembodied head, he was briskly ushered out by the Imagineers.

Soon enough he was noticed by the Imagineers at WED during an open house visit and the rest was history. (You can actually hear the whole story in his own words on our Season Pass Podcast HERE).  Claude Coats took Tony under his wing and mentored him through the paces.  What resulted was a brilliant career leading to cult status among the fans.

A small ceremony was held at Disneyland today (Friday, November 1st). After Disneyland President, Michael Colglazier, welcomed the crowd the ceremony began. Tony Baxter made a fitting entrance riding down Main Street in Walt’s original electric car.


Michael Colglazier addresses the crowd


Tom Staggs, head of parks and resorts, took to the podium to begin the presentation.  Bruce Vaughn then went on to speak about Tony’s history with the company and his Imagineering ability.


Tony went on to develop some of the most memorable attractions in Disneyland historyh.  His first big project, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, was the first ride to be built in the park without the input of Walt Disney.  But, as the years have shown, Tony did right by Walt.


Soon after, he was given the Fantasyland redesign project that changed the center of the park from the less elaborate tournament-style into the quaint bavarian village that it is to this day.  The longevity of this design was its success.


Confetti cannons graced the reveal of the window.





Tony’s later attractions play as a sort of greatest hits of Disneyland including Star Tours, Splash Mountain, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye.  Incidentally, when asked which of his projects is his favorite, it’s always Indy.


When Tony got up to the platform he mentioned mentors, his friends and all those that led him to this place in time.  But looking out over the audience, the love, the respect was simply overwhelming.  To have been in Tony’s shoes at that moment, looking out over a sea of smiling faces, after 47 years of creating new worlds and adventures, we can only imagine how humbled and satisfied he must feel.

Included in the crowd were a number of Disney dignitaries and legends.  All there, to wish Tony well.


Richard Sherman


Marty Sklar



Dave Smith


Michael Colglazier and Disney Legend and MiceChat Columnist, Bob Gurr, pose for a pic.



Bob Gurr poses with Tony in front of his miniature window.




Beloved Disney artist, Stacia Martin.


Marty Sklar at left and Disneyland’s first President Jack Lindquist at right.



MiceChatter, Melvin Asher was at the Tony Baxter Vintage Disneyland Presentation at the D23 convention and won tickets to the window ceremony.

Our heartfelt congratulations to Tony.  Thank you for all of the magic and memories you have given us over the years. You have left a legacy of quality and entertainment that is going to be very hard for future generations of Imagineers to top.


Please join us in celebrating Tony Baxter’s amazing career. What memories and favorite Baxter attractions are special to you?

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

Browse Archived Articles by

  • Quentin

    Is there a video?

  • QPerth

    So well deserved, congratulations Tony, your work at Disneyland, and other Disney Parks the world over, especially your crown jewel of magic kingdoms, the spectacular and stunningly beautiful Disneyland Paris will continue to enchant, enthrall and excite generations to come. Walt would be so proud. Thank you and congratulations!

  • EC82

    1970s: Big Thunder Mountain. 1980s: Splash Mountain. 1990s: Disneyland Paris and Indiana Jones (which, to be a great attraction, actually didn’t NEED Indiana Jones!). Then … 2000s: Captain EO slinks back and gets a minor facelift. Star Tours gets an upgrade after 20 years. Nothing new, just dusting off the stuff that’s already been paid for. That’s when I began to feel really bad for Tony Baxter and Imagineering in general.

    If that doesn’t define the problems with Disney right there, what does? DIsney wastes its genius talent on redoing tired attractions rather than dreaming up new ones. Oh, how I would love to see what designs are in Tony’s sketchbook for the kind of DIsneyland HE would have made if his dreams could have been unleashed. It’s so sad Disney is just a “brand management” company, not a creative group that believes in unlimited imagination.

    • DarthSavage

      Well, to be fair, Cars Land and Radiator Springs Racers is pretty darn good.

      Anyways, congrats to Mr. Baxter!

  • olegc

    For me personally – Tony is next in line after Walt for true gifts given to us at Disneyland. Yes, Claud Coats, Mary Blair, Alice and Mark Davis, etc. are all fantastic and truly important – but those were Imagineers who built things after I understood what it took to be that creative. Following Tony’s career has been truly wonderful.

    To me – the first time I “connected” with Tony was at the 10th anniversary of Indy – when he explained the story of adding all the rubber snakes to the attraction, on the fly from the gift stand outside, to make Lucas like it more. So many other stories over the years – and more recently a few interview I have read/listened to that have really given insight into how he developed his career.

  • chesirecat

    Tony Baxter’s contributions have been amazing, and years before his retirement he worked on plussing Snow White and the reopening of the Sleeping Beauty Walkthrough, like Walt Disney, Tony Baxter’s taste and artistic style are appreciated by the vast majority of guests visiting the parks. Can’t wait to read Tony’s book, wish WDI utilized him more often in his last decade, such as with the Mermaid ride in DCA which, at least to my eyes, lacks the magic and intimacy communicated in Tony’s designs.

  • DobbysCloset

    Congratulations, Tony Baxter. As Dug says in the movie “Up, “I have just met you and I loooove you!” But on the other hand it would have been totally possible that you were a CM who made one of my early visits a pleasure. You certainly made the later ones utter joy.

    How about a Biography-style documentary on Tony Baxter? One would think Disney Studios could put together a film crew, and it’s not like they have to pay for archival footage or locations…

  • ScottG

    Thanks for all you’ve done Tony. The world is a better place because of your work and I’m sure Walt would be very proud.

  • whamo

    Big Thunder is one of my favorite rides at Disneyland. Frontierland needs a lot more attention to return it to its former glory. And Big Thunder type rides is the way to go.

  • Figments Friend

    Tony, you have just begun to dream.


    Congrats my friend on this much deserved honor.

    To be able to take your place among those you so admired and aspired to walk a similar path with must be a amazing emotional moment for you.
    Savor this moment and look forward to what lies ahead for there is much to come!

    “This is not a goodbye…”

  • Pingback: Wakefield Report Podcast Episode 53 | Wakefield Report()

  • solarnole

    Thanks Tony for making great thrill rides with deep stories. Sadly rides like this at Disney now are just a figment of our current tacky shortened re-themed imagination.

    I hope that you can become a consultant and get to work with Universal and other companies like Bob Gurr.

  • AB Born

    I also think that Tony is the closest thing there is (and maybe has been) to Walt himself.

  • Polo33

    Awesome , well deserved after such a long and successful Disney career.