Walt Disney Imagineering is becoming “the family business” for three generations of Imagineers who were featured this morning on Good Morning America.
- Earlier today, Good Morning America took a look at three generations of Imagineers at Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI).
- The dynasty began with Leota Toombs, who worked at WED Enterprises (now WDI) to develop designs for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, including work on the designs of Ford Magic Skyway, and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. She also worked on the legendary it’s a small world attraction, and eventually even contributed to Pirates of the Caribbean. Disney fans will remember her fondly, and mostly, for her contribution to the classic Haunted Mansion, where she plays the disembodied head inside a crystal ball that also bears her name, Madame Leota. It’s worth noting however, that the voice of Madame Leota belongs to actress Eleanor Audley, but the likeness is all Leota Toombs.
- Her daughter, Kim Irvine, still works at Walt Disney Imagineering to this day. Many Disney park fans will likely recognize her as the face behind a lot of the (sometimes controversial) renovations at the park, such as implementing Disney Characters into it’s a small world, and the as-yet-unseen work done on Snow White’s Enchanted Wish at Disneyland Park. She also provided the face (and voice!) of Madame Leota in the seasonal overlay of the Haunted Mansion, Haunted Mansion Holiday.
- Ali Irvine, set decorator at WDI, is the daughter of Kim and the Granddaughter of Leota. She says that she does a lot of the propping and installation of the artificial foliage at the park, noting she is most looking forward to upcoming Frozen areas of Hong Kong Disneyland.
- Leota passed away in 1991, when Kim would bring her daughter “to see grandma” in the Haunted Mansion. Ali says she now does the same with her daughter.