The DIsney YEars

Marshall Monroe spent 14 years as a Designer, Creative Executive, and Principle Technical Staff at the Walt Disney Company.  He led projects developed for Disneyland in Anaheim, Walt Disney World, EuroDisney, and the new generation of parks in Asia.  HIs patented technology systems are in use in the parks all over the world, entertaining literally millions of guests each year.  Here we showcase a few of those projects and reflect back on lessons learned from this extraordinary period.

 
blizBeach-Aerial-Logo1M.jpg

BLIZZARD BEach

This sensational water park in Walt Disney World is the brainchild of Marshall Monroe - a concept he developed in the early 1990's.  As a $100 million design and development project, Monroe envisioned a melting ski resort, complete with ski-themed main lodge, slide-rides, and environmental theming.  The park has generated over $2 billion in gate revenues alone since opening, with merchandising and corporate event elements adding to the business benefits.  Monroe's concept is featured in the Walt Disney Imagineering coffee table book as an exceptional example of multi-dimensional creative inspiration and fluid development process.

cranKiss.jpg

Cranium command Show

Marshall Monroe led the special effects and kinetic elements for this delightful theater show in the Wonders of Life pavilion at EPCOT.  The show places the audience inside the head of a 10-year old boy making his way through his first day of school.  The audience learns about the power of imagination .

starToursPreShow2sparks.jpg

Star tours

Marshall Monroe worked with a team of talented designers and Imagineers to fashion this adventure thrill ride that includes special effects and illusions in the pre-show as well as a remarkable large-scale simulator ride.  This project was a partnership with legendary filmmaker George Lucas.

MM-Chewy.jpg

Monroe & Disney

Monroe joined the Imagineering team in 1986, helping to launch what would be an unprecedented period of growth and expansion of this extraordinary company.  With the recruiting of Michael Eisner as CEO, the company targeted new opportunities in theme parks and resorts, as well as feature animation and new media technologies overall.

Starting with the remarkable Captain EO show in Disneyland, Monroe spent years in Anaheim, Walt Disney World, Paris for Eurodisney, and in the Pacific Rim for the Tokyo Disney Sea and Hong Kong Disneyland projects.

The period from 1986 to 2000 also represented an inspired revitalization of the Disney Animation unit, with Monroe developing proprietary digital tools for animators.  These technologies allowed Disney and a fledgeling company PIXAR to continually re-imagine with animation could do and what stories the companies could tell.  Today, Monroe's studio continues this legacy, leveraging an expertise refined through years of working with some of the most talented artists and engineers in the world.

Walt Disney always said that Imagineering is the blending of Creative Imagination and Technical Know-How. Marshall Monroe personifies that combination.
— Martin A. Sklar, Creative Chairman, Walt Disney Imagineering

Storytelling Through Place

Theme Parks are an omni-media experience, surrounding visitors and guests with a stimulating and exciting, ...magical adventures. 

"I once asked legendary Imagineer John Hench what he thought of Virtual Reality.  He chuckled and said that what the 'computer people' think is reality is a pale comparison to the places we make - we've been doing Virtual Reality in the theme parks for 50 years!'

Storytelling is an amazing art, that takes many forms.  At Marshall Monroe MAGIC we leverage this notion, using story to envision new realities for our projects, our clients, and our ventures.  And this isn't just a passing fancy - it is at the heart of how we think and how we build scenarios for strategic planning.  It also helps us to continually re-evaluate what materials, formats, and human factors can be integrated into our visions.'  - Marshall Monroe

captEObig.jpg

Captain eo

This extraordinary 3-D film theater experience was made at the peak of Michael Jackson's worldwide fame and star power.  Monroe drove innovation in the in-theater effects, working with fiber-optics, cryogenics, and numerous other physical elements that triggered a decade of re-imagining what a theater experience could be.

splash_mountain.jpg

splash Mountain

Splash mountain takes guests on a thrilling ride through the fanciful world of Disney's critter country inspired by the American South.  Monroe invented several new water special effects, including the dramatic "splash down" of the log ride's main drop..

DCAfountDone.jpg

California Adventure

Monroe conceptualized this unique water feature and related sculpture that served as the icon for this park in Anaheim, California.  The fountain symbolizes the sun setting on the ocean - a mythological image realized with a unique animated fountain breaking wave design.

Feature Animation

Animation Production Technologies

Marshall Monroe invented key tools and production workflows during the early emergence of digital animation.  These technologies contributed to a new generation of visual sophistication and agility in films beginning with Beauty and the Beast and Lion King.

 Fantasia 2000 - Production Still - M. Monroe Animation Toolkit.

Fantasia 2000 - Production Still - M. Monroe Animation Toolkit.

nineOldMen.jpg
walt-HerbieR.jpg

On the SHoulders of Giants

Among the many blessings of my life. I count the timing of my years spent at Disney.  When I arrived in 1986, many of the veteran masters of the Disney legacy were still alive and practicing their craft.  I spent many hours with talents like Mark Davis, X-Atencio (who wrote the Pirates of the Caribbean ride theme song), John Hench, Claude Coats, Ward Kimball, Walt Stanchfield (mentor to Disney Animators), Walt Peregoy, Marty Sklar, Herbie Ryman (who drew the first aerial sketch of Disneyland), and the likes of Frank Armitage, Peggy Van Pelt (Artist Development Director), Alolfo Procopio (Imagineering master sculptor) and Bob Gurr (original designer of the Disney monorail transportation system).

I have carefully codified and recorded the many lessons I could glean from these masters - understanding principles of clarity, economy, story, humor, compassion, and above all, commitment to Creative Excellence.  What these visionary "Dreamer-Doers" have brought into the world is a profound inspiration that energizes everything we do at Marshall Monroe MAGIC.

SHow systems - EPCOT

 Monroe Innovation - Dolphin Keyboard (U.S. Patent)

Monroe Innovation - Dolphin Keyboard (U.S. Patent)

 

EPCOT - EXPERIMENTAL PROTOTYPE COMMUNITY OF TOMORROW

Marshall Monroe invented myriad systems and show elements for the Walt Disney Company, including this novel "Dolphin Keyboard," that allowed researchers at the Living Seas Pavilion to study the language capabilities of these extraordinary mammals..