Remembering Disneyland's Rolly Crump

March 13, 2023, 9:35 PM · Disney Legend and long-time Imagineer Rolly Crump passed away yesterday. He was 93.

At Disney, Crump perhaps was best known for his work on the animated clock facade on It's a Small World at Disneyland. Crump also designed the Tower of the Four Winds marquee for the 1964 New York World's Fair installation of the ride, though he later decried the way that his design was altered before construction, bulking up its graceful lines.

Crump started at Disney in 1952 as an in-betweener in the Animation department, eventually moving to WED Enterprises (the precursor to Walt Disney Imagineering) in 1959. For the parks, Crump helped with the design of Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room and Haunted Mansion in addition to Small World. One of his biggest design projects in the 1960s was a never-built Museum of the Weird, though some elements from that attraction were adopted for Haunted Mansion.

Rolly Crump
Crump, with Disneyland Ambassador Julie Reihm and Walt Disney on the Disneyland TV show in 1965. Photo courtesy Walt Disney Archives

During his first stint with Disney, Crump became known as one of Walt's favorite Imagineers, in spite of (or perhaps because of) his freewheeling style, which reflected Beat generation and psychedelic influences. Those were best reflected in his mid-1970s work away from Disney for Knott's Berry Farm, where he designed the original Knott's Bear-y Tales ride.

Returning to Disney in the late 1970s, Crump worked as project designer for The Land pavilion and did concept work the Wonders of Life pavilion at EPCOT before leaving Disney for a second time to set up his own design shop. He returned to Disney for good in 1992 before retiring four years later. He wrote an autobiography, It's Kind of a Cute Story in 2012. His son, Chris Crump, also worked for Disney as an Imagineer.

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Replies (3)

March 13, 2023 at 9:39 PM

This one really hurt :(. What a legend and what an artistic genius Rolly was.

March 13, 2023 at 10:20 PM

Just came from Disneyland to appreciate the exterior of Small World more so hurts to lose a Disney legend.

March 14, 2023 at 11:08 AM

yeah, this is a tough one. love, love, love the artwork he did for the museum of the weird.

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