Harriet Burns was known as Walt Disney’s First Lady of Imagineering, not only because of her contributions to the organization but also because she truly was the first woman hired at WDI in a creative capacity. Harriet is a Disney Legend and even has a window on Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland. Working directly with Walt Disney, Harriet helped to create many of the classic attractions we know and love today, including Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Matterhorn Bobsleds, the Carousel of Progress, and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. She also built the robin that Mary Poppins sings “Spoonful of Sugar” to in the original film. Harriet passed away in 2008, but her legacy still lives on today.
In this Imagineer Podcast episode, I have the distinct privilege of interviewing Haley Clair, the granddaughter of Harriet Burns. Haley and I chat about her grandmother’s life, legacy, work at Walt Disney Imagineering, and interactions with Walt Disney.