August 16, 2010

Tony Baxter: Dreamfinder Personified

Earlier in the week, I was pondering some questions about what makes a man successful in the eyes of others. Certainly, character traits like integrity, sacrifice, and how we love others are of utmost importance. As we age and pass on, these pieces of who we are will largely form how we are ultimately remembered. If the work we leave behind is public, like for artists, athletes, politicians, authors, architects, etc., then that also makes a statement. When we view Walt Disney, for example, we think of his legacy as mostly related to his artistic output.

In this ongoing Tony Baxter / Tom Fitzgerald debate for the soul and future of Disneyland, ordinary long time fans like us are only wanting one thing: high quality attractions that showcase the best of Imagineering's craft. We really don't care who is a diva, who is a cut-throat businessman, who buddies up with who, or anything else all that personal. It makes for interesting news and endless debate, but it is the end result built in concrete and stone, paint and steel, that we most care about.

I am a Tony fan- and I will say it loud and clear. This is nothing personal against Tom; I do not know either men; never met them, probably never will. Since I cannot judge their character, all I can judge is the work they will leave behind. And the results speak volumes: Just look at some of his work, and you will discover Mr. Tony Baxter to be one of the best Imagineers in the history of the company. (Look here for a small taste. And look a couple of posts below for his work on the incredible Disneyland Paris.)

The piece above showcases Tony's take on EPCOT Center's Land pavilion. It wasn't built as designed, but it's influence on the nearby Imagination pavilion is clearly there. Another artistic triumph- and his portfolio is full of them; full with projects both big and small. Say what you will about the man, but his love for Disneyland and his commitment to high quality imagineering says the most about him. These things are what the Disney fan community will ultimately judge him by.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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