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Disney's California Adventure Preview Event Panel Discussion

January 19, 2001

Full Panel
The full panel at the Hyperion Theatre

The Hyperion Theatre played host to a panel of executives, producers, and designers that developed Disney's California Adventure. A special ticketed event, guests were treated to the thoughts and concepts behind the new park. Marty Sklar was the host.


The Panel Members
Titles, credits courtesy Preview Panel Guide Disney

Marty Sklar

Marty Sklar
Vice Chairman & Principal Creative Executive at Walt Disney Imagineering.

Opening thoughts: Daunting to develop the first major Southern California Disney park since Disneyland. Respectful, Compliment but not compete with Disneyland. Disneyland is the only place Walt Disney walked in. Hong Kong, in 2005, will be the 11th Disney park.

Barry Braverman

Barry Braverman
Senior Vice President, Executive Producer at Walt Disney Imagineering.
Leader of the design team for Disney's California Adventure

Q: First impressions of Disneyland? 

A: Started as elementary school teacher in the 70s in California. Remember coming to the park to listen to jazz. Hired as research analyst for EPCOT in '77. Teaching is all about motivating and communicating with people, a little like being an executive producer. 

Timur Galen

Timur Galen
Senior Vice President and General Manager, California at Walt Disney Imagineering.
Responsible for the development of California-based projects.

Q: How does this large project compare to building other large projects in urban environments around the world? 

A: Think of this place as a city for 100,000, with much of it being created all at once. Most are generally only about themselves, housing of people, place to work, how you get from one place to next.  Not about telling of a place. Not the complexity of each element has to fit perfectly into and next to and work together for it to be seamless and compelling. I had never worked in that kind of complete environment. 

Q: As project director how was it working with the city, etc.? 

A: We didn't start with a blank sheet of paper. Not a great big green field, but all kinds of existing conditions. The "Thou shalt not" project because of all that you couldn't do. DL had staked out ground, convention center can't be moved, etc. Power lines are already there. Helping to give the officials to turn them into supporters of the project. 

Tim Delaney

Tim Delaney
Executive Designer, Vice President at Walt Disney Imagineering.
Designer and Producer of several new attractions at the Disneyland Resort.

Q: Your signature is all over this park. Change of name to Paradise Pier Hotel, etc.  How did you handle all that?

A:  I don't know.  I have an enthusiasm for it.  Let's make a 3D Picture Postcard of California.  How do you make that?  The harder it is the more interesting it is to do.

Coulter Winn

Coulter Winn
Principal Concept Architect, Director at Walt Disney Imagineering.
Principal concept architect for the Golden State District - Condor Flats, Grizzly Peak Recreation Area, Pacific Wharf, the Golden Vine Winery, Bountiful Valley Farm, and the Bay Area.

Q: You build it and then you have to distress it. 

A: I was okay with it but the architects... you really have to share with the workers what the story is that you want to make it look like it's 80 years old. Once they got that they really took ownership of it and went with it. 

Becky Bishop

Becky Bishop
Concept Landscape Architect / Director, Creative Development at Walt Disney Imagineering.
Leading the design and management of the area development, landscape, and irrigation efforts for Disney's California Adventure

Q: You've done some great projects.  Splash Mountain, Toontown in Tokyo. A woman in that field -- we usually don't think of women in that field. How does a woman approach it when almost everyone in the field is a man? 

A: I wanted to work in a man's world because it's so simple, I thought.  But I soon found out it wasn't. Working in Tokyo was not like working in Paris.  ... I was always trying on new hats. In Japan, the women there, all of our interpreters, and mine is particularly low, but talking to men the voices go up really high. So you brush up all your politeness and you do the best you can, and it all starts with relationships. That's half the battle. The women translators were always cheering me on. It's great when you can win them over. 

Cory Sewelson

Cory Sewelson
Show Producer Senior - Director at Walt Disney Imagineering.
Overal Show Producer for Hollywood Pictures Backlot at Disney's California Adventure.

Q: The Hollywood Pictures Backlot is a rather irreverent approach to it. the Schmoozies, the Award Wieners, is that how you look at Hollywood? 

A: I don't know Marty, we gave you a whole list of names and those are the ones you approved.  Overall DCA has a slanting toward the pop culture and a little of a tongue in cheek, not take it too seriously. Hollywood and Dine; and Disney Animation it's reverent. But we wanted to explore the attitude. We're considered a little over the edge by others, so our approach as far as the layout was to position it on a backlot as a way to acknowledge the industry. worked with movie production designers to lay out our design. The entrance is where it hangs seamlessly. 

Alec Scribner

Alex Scribner
Lead show producer for Condor Flats, Soarin' over California, and Mission Tortilla Factory.

Q: Condor flats: your responsibility.

A: It had its challenges. we wanted to celebrate the diversity of the land over California.  So what better way to get a bird's eye view.  We needed a projection, ride system and new film format. How do we get 87 people up into this inverted dome in a seamless fun way to fly over the state? How do we develop a projection system that provides most pristine system?  A 48-frame per second system. Twice as fast as regular film. How to project over a dome and not a flat screen? Simulated flight experience and knew we had a hit on our hands. 

Lori Coltrin

Lori Coltrin
Art Director, Show Producer at Walt Disney Imagineering.
Show Producer and Art Director of the Animation attraction.

Q: Had the most difficult job here because we dumped her into a problem a year out before opening, and we said fix this. Animation, the heart of Disney. Tell us about the attitude of the animators, working with animation, the pressure dealing with the lifeblood of Disney. 

A: It's really challenging to find a way to present feature animation in a special great way to do justice to the work done over the years. the incredible artwork and the artists. was very challenging. We feel very proud that those who has come in and participated in the many phases of design have been very happy and pleased with the final outcome. Nothing but comments from them. Favorite part is the courtyard entry to our area, with pieces of animation from many films. that's really touching, emotional the way you feel about some of the film. and then the interactive areas I really like, too. 

Q: Like Ursula's garden? 

A: You get to put your voice into a character. That's my favorite in the interactive parts.


Other coverage on this event:

Sue Kruse covers the panel discussion in further depth

Adrienne Vincent Phoenix writes about the merchandise available

Lani Teshima and Alex Stroup cover the scavenger hunt

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