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Monday, January 19, 2015

Disney Legend #16: Richard Irvine

Richard Irvine came out to California as a child, his father choosing to move his family to Los Angeles from Utah so that he could open his own ophthalmic practice in Southern California. Richard, however, would not follow in his father's footsteps, choosing to enter the artistic field. Mr. Irvine used his keen eye for color and design at 20th Century Fox, becoming an art director and even earning an Academy Award nomination for his work on the United Artists film Sundown. 

In 1952, Walt Disney was planning out his greatest dream- DISNEYLAND- and quickly realized that he needed art directors to help him realize his dreams, since the architects he had consulted with were not up to the task of designing his Magic Kingdom. One of the first persons he lured to the project was Mr. Irvine, who quickly brought his eye for design to the project.

Mr. Irvine grew to love his job at DISNEYLAND, since Walt Disney gave his designers free reign to design and test just about anything that they could imagine. Richard Irvine worked on just about every major attraction at DISNEYLAND including it's a small world, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion and many more.

When Roy Disney canceled Walt Disney's EPCOT and shelved the original plans for the Florida project, he chose Richard Irvine to come up with a new master plan for a so-called "Vacation Kingdom", a plan that was mostly followed up until the mid 1980's. While Disney World has majorly deviated from the original plan as laid out by Mr. Irvine, it still honors him today; one of the boats that hauls guests from the parking lot to Florida's Magic Kingdom is named after him. Mr. Irvine would not live to see his master plan fully realized; he passed away in 1976. He not only left a marvelous legacy, but his daughter also became a renowned Disney Imagineer.