Tony Baxter at D23 (Image courtesy Disney)
Imagineer Tony Baxter, the creative mind behind iconic Disneyland attractions like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, and the Indiana Jones Adventure may have retired from the Walt Disney company earlier this year, but his presence in the parks is far from forgotten. That will be permanently assured this week, as a window above Disneyland’s Main Street, U.S.A., honoring Tony Baxter will be unveiled this Friday, November 1.
As reported by the Orange County Register, Baxter is scheduled appear in Disneyland park this Friday morning for an 8:30 a.m. unveiling ceremony, which was originally announced at August’s D23 Expo. Anyone with a valid park ticket may attend; the park officially opens at 9 a.m. that day, but the turnstiles will open at 8 a.m. to accommodate those attending the ceremony.
Disneyland’s original Hatbox Ghost (photo courtesy Doombuggies)
There haven’t been any blockbuster surprise announcements out of this weekend’s D23 Disney fan expo yet, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t gems to discover inside the Anaheim Convention Center. The “Journey into Imagineering” pavilion, hidden behind a facade recreating WDI Glendale offices, holds one of D23′s most ghoulish delights — a modern Audio Animatronic reincarnating a favorite attraction’s most infamous former resident.
The Hatbox Ghost was one of the original inhabitants of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, but was removed from the ride’s attic scene shortly after opening because of technical problems with his disappearing head effect (not, as the urban legend claims, because he scared a guest to death). Lost to theme-park lore for decades, he’s seen a merchandise revival in recent years, but this is the first time Imagineering has revealed an operating animatronic — based on the same AA100 architecture as PoTC’s Auctioneer and Mr. Lincoln — of the fabled figure.
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