Walt Disney has inspired many different artists throughout the years, including many animators, painters, filmmakers, singers, writers, and more. In fact many consider him to be one of the most influential people of the 20th century, with his work in animation, filmmaking, entertainment, entrepreneurship, and tourism. Many of those that were influenced by Walt Disney ended up contributing their talents to the theme parks that bear his name. Here are just a few of those that contributed to the rides and attractions at Walt Disney World.
1. Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas
The attraction Captain EO is known for starring superstar Michael Jackson, although it was helmed by two of the greatest directors and producers of their generation, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. It was directed by the former and produced by the latter. At Epcot it was originally opened in 1986 and closed in 1994, although it was reopened back in 2010 shortly after Michael Jackson’s death. The attraction is also in California’s Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland.
This wasn’t the first time that the two had worked on a project together. They had previously produced Akira Kurosawa’s “Kagemusha.”
2. Leonard Nimoy
The late Leonard Nimoy is of course best known for his role as Spock in the “Star Trek” franchise. In addition to his acting he had several other ventures, including photography, poetry, and directing films (such as “Three Men and a Baby” and two of the “Star Trek” movies). One of his projects during the late 1980s was directing the film for the simulator ride “Body Wars,” which opened in EPCOT in 1989 and closed in 2007 along with everything else in the now closed Wonders of Life pavilion. Unfortunately that pavilion is used mostly for storage (for the annual Food and Wine Festival) and events; there was another excellent attraction in the Wonders of Life called “Cranium Command” that was both entertaining and hilarious.
3. Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury, best known as a writer and author of such works as “Dandelion Wine,” “The Martian Chronicles,” and “Fahrenheit 451,” he also was a huge fan of Walt Disney and collaborated on many projects with him. In the late 1950s after reading a bad review of Disneyland in The Nation, he wrote a letter to the editor defending the theme park. A few years later in 1963 he met Walt Disney and they soon developed a friendship, at least partially based upon admiration for each other’s work. Years after Walt Disney’s death Ray Bradbury contributed to projects at EPCOT, including Spaceship Earth.