[from Walt's People Vol. 13, Chapter 29] If one had to select some Disney Legends among the “second generation of Disney Imagineers,” Tony Baxter would certainly be at the very top of the list. Not only was he the artist in charge of the overall design of Disneyland Paris, he was also the creator of such classic attractions as Big Thunder Mountain, Journey into Imagination, Splash Mountain, and Indiana Jones Adventure. And if this were not enough, Tony happens to be a true Disney history enthusiast. […]
Before we talk about the past, let us talk about the future. What is the future that Disney Imagineers have in mind ?
Well, right now things are looking better. As you know, last year was a rough one for Disney. It started with the loss of Franck Wells and I miss him a lot. He gave a lot of strength and confidence to all of us, especially Michael. I would say that loosing Jeffrey was an other shock to all of us. Then Mickey Steinberg, the man who led the construction effort on DLP, left the company as well. And now we have a new management with whom we have been brainstorming to find what it is we are going to do. The Wescot project, which was very big a year ago, has become less valid because of the economy and various other things that seem to make it not profitable.
So we have been spending the last three or four months developing new plans for Anaheim which we presented to Michael at the end of May. He was very excited about what we had. I think it will make DL kind of reinvent itself, becoming more like an "urban" centre. It will never be a resort like WDW or DLP because there is not enough land, so we are thinking about developing it to work more like a city, more like Copenhagen with Tivoli Gardens as its heart. We presented some very early ideas to Michael and he was excited about them. With a little bit of luck that will be the next project for California.
Are there any attractions in there or is it like Pleasure Island ?
Pleasure Island is an area for night-time entertainment. What I have been toying around is an integrated concept where you live there, have fun there and also have night time entertainment there. But it is all the things in one place. Up till now, all of these elements have been created to exist separately. It is not like a city, where you live in the city, work in the city and are entertained in the city, all in one place. That is what we are trying to do.