We’d like to introduce you to our newest columnist, the amazing Terri Hardin. Terri is an award-winning Disney artist and was a Walt Disney Imagineer for over ten years. She has designed attractions in France, Japan and Florida for the Disney Company. Her attraction La Taniere du Dragon, or Dragon’s Lair, was voted the #1 attraction at Disneyland Paris as voted by those who attended the Park.  Please give her a warm MiceChat welcome!

Oh my goodness! What a real pleasure to be invited write for MiceChat. I’m thrilled to be sharing Wednesdays with Bob Gurr. My articles will alternate with his every month. Bob and I have been friends and Imagineers for ages. I love this man and it’s truly an honor to share the platform with such an amazing man. We often appear together and speak on the stage at events so this is a real treat for me.

My frist article will be a bit different, as I’d like to give you a bit of background on myself.

Why Terri Hardin and why should you care what I have to say? Good question. I hope to give you an overview below and will certainly give you a deeper look at my history and projects in the months to come.

I’d like to invite you to check out this video:

Over the years, I’ve created multiple Limited Edition Disney sculpture series which have thankfully attracted the attention of collectors from around the world, as well as having designed toys for Mattel, Nickelodeon and Applause.

tink
This is a sculpture Terri created for Disneyland, “Tinker Bell’s Map” LE 2500

You might also consider me a Disney nerd as I’m an Honorary Member of the Disneyana Fan Club, the Once Upon A Classic Club, and the Carolwood Society.

Whoa! I know, right? I think its safe to say that like many of you I dreamed of becoming an Imagineer. When I finally became one it was beyond my wildest dreams! Over the course of ten years, I had the opportunity to create some amazing attractions. It’s exciting to be able to say that I’ve worked on attractions that you can ride on, walk under and sail through.

 

Dino

I’m also a puppeteer and performer, and have been a member of the Jim Henson Muppeteers for over 30 years. My performances can be seen in many Jim Henson productions, such as the TV show Dinosaurs, and the films The Flintstones, Indian in the Cupboard and The Country Bears.

I met Jim while doing a “Chicken McNugget” commercial for McDonald’s and negotiated a trip to “HA” Jim Henson’s shop in New York. It’s lucky for me that we met. More on that meeting in an upcoming article.

I’ve also contributed to Men in Black I and II, Ghostbusters, and Monkeybone, as well as to many national commercials; and was fortunate to work with Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, John Goodman, Whoopie Goldberg and Christopher Walken to name a few.

While working on Captain EO, I chased Michael Jackson all over the sound stage playing a whip warrior in rehearsals. I think you are really going to enjoy that story.

If you live on the west coast, then you’ve seen my work as the “Foster Farms Passenger Chicken,” a wacky series of commercials I’ve been working on for over 20 years. It’s a really fun job. Here’s one of the spots I worked on:

Although being a Disney artist and Hollywood performer may get me a foot in the door at fan events, it is talking about the importance of embracing and appreciating yourself and developing your inner talent that I find most rewarding. One of the first talks I gave was to the Disneyana Fan Club (DFC) and an audience of 2000 people. This is where I discovered that audiences didn’t want to hear about how my art was created, but rather about the processing of achieving success in the industry. I fully embrace the opportunity to share  the knowledge, attitude and creative spirit which are the basis for making a break in this industry.

Could this be you? Are you looking for the encouragement to tackle a life goal? That’s what I’m here for and I’d love to hear from you!

I’ve been a professional public speaker for many years now and never get tired of meeting all the wonderful fans and creatives who attend these events. It was all those fans, and their many wonderful questions that inspired me to write a book about my career: Tales from Terri: A Disney Sculptor’s life Vol 1.

terri-hardin-book

The foreword to the 2nd edition is by Disney Legend, Marty Sklar which you can find on Kindle HERE. If you are trying to track down a printed first edition, I have a few left (but it doesn’t contain Marty’s Foreword). Just let me know.

My next book is a memoir with the working title “Little Zebra,” which I will most likely change before publication. This book is about how, as a young girl, my looks made me the target of bullying and how wonderful parents, a positive attitude and creativity helped me to rise above adversity and become a Disney artist and Hollywood Performer. It’s a skill which helps me to this very day.

I’d like to invite all of you to let me know what you like me to talk about in this space.  Leave your comments below. Perhaps you want to know what it was like to be an Imagineer, or how to become one, or stories about the people I’ve been blessed to work with. Maybe you’d like to know what it was like to sail on the first Disney cruise to the west coast through the Panama Canal. Or what it’s like working on a creative assignment for long periods of time in a foreign country. Whatever it is, this column is for you and hopefully you’ll not just learn but also be inspired. 

It’s my pleasure and an absolute honor to be asked to join you here at MiceChat. Thanks again and I’ll see you in 2 weeks!