Rolly Crump has had a long and colorful history in the world of theme park design. His career began with Disney, animating the classic Peter Pan. By the late 1950s, he had moved to W.E.D. (today known as Walt Disney Imagineering) to do model work on a proposed Wizard of Oz attraction. Although Oz never saw completion, he had his hand in other major Disneyland attractions—such as the Enchanted Tiki Room and the Haunted Mansion. His most recognizable work is the whimsical façade he designed for the “it’s a small world” attraction’s new home at Disneyland after the 1964 World’s Fair. In the early 1970s, Rolly temporarily left W.E.D. for freelance work.
While at work in Florida, for an unfinished theme park—Circus World—he was asked by the Knott family to further develop Wally Huntoon’s idea for a “gypsy dark ride.” Rolly’s ideas went through many different character approaches—but kept with the underlying idea of a “journey to the fair,” now taking place during the Roaring 20s era. The attraction evolved into a total “Crump” experience. Anyone familiar with his sense of humor and design would recognize his styling throughout the ride.