The 1970s were a tricky period for the Walt Disney Animation Studios. Legendary artists were getting older, and there wasn’t a new crop to take their place. The Character Animation Program at CalArts would help to fix that trend. Beginning in 1975, the first class included familiar names like Tim Burton, Brad Bird, and John Musker. Another student was Joe Lanzisero, who became an animator for Disney in the 1980s. His experience at CalArts set the stage for a remarkable time with Walt Disney Imagineering.

Lanzisero is my guest on this episode of The Tomorrow Society Podcast to talk about his career. The animation background gave him the right storytelling perspective for theme parks. He joined Imagineering in 1987 and became the lead concept designer on Toontown at Disneyland and in Tokyo. Lanzisero ultimately took on a leadership role over Tokyo Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and more. His projects include some of Disney’s most inventive attractions.