Earlier today, it was announced that Disney Legend Rolly Crump, widely known to Disney fans for his contributions to Disneyland, has passed away peacefully at the age of 93.
Born on February 27th, 1930, Crump was known for his whimsical artwork that has been featured all over the world, but notably in Disney films and at Disney parks. His work for the Walt Disney Company included significant design contributions to The Enchanted Tiki Room, “it’s a small world,” and the Haunted Mansion. Vintage specials can still be found on Disney+ and online where he shares ideas for a “Museum of the Weird” that might have been part of the iconic attraction.
Crump is also featured in numerous retrospective specials and TV series sharing his experiences with the parks, including his designs for the Tower of the Four Winds which was featured outside of “it’s a small world” at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, like Behind the Attraction, and The Imagineering Story.
Outside of the parks, he worked on animated classics, including Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, and 101 Dalmatians, where he served as an assistant animator before making the jump to WED Enterprises (later known as Walt Disney Imagineering).
Outside of Disney, Crump was known as a whimsical artist, and contributed designs and work on outside projects when he left the company in 1970. He worked on different projects for Busch Gardens, a wildlife preserve in Maryland, and the now defunct Circus World theme park that was in Orlando. Notably, he was also responsible for the wildly popular Knott’s Beary Tales dark ride at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California, mere miles away from his earlier attractions at Disneyland.
He returned to Disney in 1976, helping with The Land pavilion at EPCOT and early planning for the Wonders of Life pavilion, before leaving again in 1981 to launch his own firm, Mariposa Design Group. He returned to Disney once again in 1992, joining as an executive designer at WDI for EPCOT. He retired from the company in 1996, and was named a Disney Legend in 2004. In 2012, he published an autobiography titled It’s Kind of a Cute Story. He passed away yesterday, March 12th, 2023 peacefully in his Carlsbad, California home at the age of 93. For a more detailed look at the accomplished career of Rolly Crump, you can also enjoy Jim’s Disney Legends Spotlight on Rolly.