Disney fans around the world were saddened to learn last night that Disney Imagineer and Disney Legend Marty Sklar had passed away at the age of 83. There are few people who were as influential to The Walt Disney Company as Marty was, and so his sudden passing is a devastating blow to all those who have come to work with him, or like us, come to enjoy and cherish his life’s work. To pay tribute to Marty and his legacy, we’re taking a look at five things that were most influential from Marty, and five of our favorite contributions of Marty’s that live on to this day.
Designing It’s a Small World and The Enchanted Tiki Room
In 1961, Marty Sklar joined the Walt Disney Imagineering team (still named WED Enterprises at the time) and helped design and create two beloved Disneyland attractions, one of them originally designed for the 1964 World’s Fair, It’s a Small World and the beloved Enchanted Tiki Room. It’s difficult to demonstrate just how much relevance and amazement these two attractions have brought in the years since they’ve opened, and they carry their own legacies, still touching the hearts of millions each day.
The Memorable Speeches of Walt Disney
Walt Disney might have said them–but he didn’t always write them. Marty Sklar quickly became Walt Disney’s right-hand man, writing and creating many of Walt’s speeches, many of them some of Walt’s most memorable. Marty Sklar not only gave us visionary ideas and designs, he also assisted in shaping the Walt Disney Company, working with Walt directly.
Overseeing the Creation of EPCOT Center:
Having worked closely with Walt on his plans for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT), Marty Sklar was arguably the most qualified for the job to carry on Walt’s vision beyond his passing, to bring the vision of EPCOT to life. Of course, the Epcot that we know today is a far cry from Walt Disney’s vision, but the very ideals that Walt hoped to bring to his futuristic city were still carried on, and much of that is thanks to Sklar, who took over as vice president in planning the concepts behind Epcot.
Carrying on Walt’s Legacy:
In the following years, Marty Sklar would go on to become president of Walt Disney Imagineering, and he directly oversaw the creation of a large majority of Disney theme parks around the world, including Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s California Adventure, Disney’s MGM-Studios, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, just to name a few. Sklar not only worked with Walt and shaped the company, but he continued to carry on Walt’s legacy for half a century beyond.
Sklar’s Autobiography Allows His Legacy to Live on:
Shortly after his retirement, Marty Sklar published a book, titled Dream It, Do It! My Half Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms. Besides being a phenomenal book, this book allows fans with the insight that went into Sklar’s work with the company, and we’re lucky to have first-hand accounts of the rich contributions made by Sklar heard directly from the Disney Legend himself. Marty Sklar was a revolutionary, who left a massive legacy behind, and we’re thankful that we have access to the creativity this man left behind through this fantastic book.
We’re saddened to bid farewell to Marty Sklar, a man who has shaped the very way that we think about the legacy of Walt Disney and The Walt Disney Company, who was active with the Disney company even one week prior to his death, with his appearance at the D23 Expo in Anaheim. Most of all, we’re thankful for Marty’s brilliance and dedication to the company, and his generosity that he shared with so many fans around the world. Thanks for it all, Marty.