Roland “Rolly” Crump, the Imagineer behind many of Disney’s most beloved attractions, has sadly passed away at the age of 93.
Crump’s passing was shared on the “It’s Kind of a Cute Story” Facebook page, which notes that the 93-year-old Disney Legend passed peacefully in his home in Carlsbad, CA, yesterday morning, March 12, 2023.
Rolly Crump was the creative mind behind some of Disney’s most treasured attractions, many of which changed the future of the theme park industry as a whole. A California native, Crump was born on February 27, 1930, in Alhambra, where he remained until he began working for the Walt Disney Company at 22.
His first role with Disney was as in the animation studio “inbetweening,” where he worked on filling intermediate frames that fell between two key frames. He then moved on to work as an assistant animator on some of Disney’s most iconic films, including Peter Pan (1953), Lady and the Tramp (1955), Sleeping Beauty (1959) and 101 Dalmatians (1961).
In 1959, he joined Walt Disney Imagineering (then known as WED Enterprises), where he began designing theme park attractions and shops. Crump’s art style can be seen in several of the most iconic Disney attractions today, with his signature looks applied to shows like Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, shops like the Adventureland Bazaar in Disneyland, and more.
Many of his most renowned works were attractions showcased by Disney at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, including “it’s a small world.” For “it’s a small world,” Crump designed the Tower of the Four Winds marquee along with the animated clock on the facade at the Disneyland version of the attraction. In 1976 in EPCOT, Crump worked as a project designer on The Land and Wonders of Life pavilions, and he returned to the Park in 1992 as an executive designer on the refurbishment of The Land and Innoventions.
Crump retired from the Walt Disney Company in 1996, but continued to attend special events and consult on projects both in and outside of the company. He was inducted as a Disney Legend for all of his contributions in 2004, and he released an autobiography, It’s Kind of a Cute Story, in 2012.
His contributions to the themed entertainment industry expanded well beyond the Walt Disney Company, as he also led projects for Busch Gardens in both Florida and California, the ABC Wildlife Preserve in Maryland, Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus World, and even celebration festivities for Oman, along with creating his own design firm, Mariposa Design Group.
Crump truly was a Disney Legend in every sense, and he will surely be missed by his many fans, as well as colleagues at Disney who have had the privilege of working with him over the years.
We at Disney Tips join fans in mourning this loss, and are keeping Crump’s family in our thoughts during this difficult time.