Josh's post about needing testers for his river ride reminded me of a story I read in this new book. First let me HIGHLY recommend "Pirates of the Caribbean - from Magic Kingdom to the Movies" and "Haunted Mansion - from the Magic Kingdom to the Movies" by Jason Surrell. They are terrific books for Pirates and Mansion fans. Loads of pictures and lots of detail on the development and construction of the rides and the movies.

So here's an excerpt that Josh's post reminded me of:

" Walt Disney Imagineering's Senior Vice President of Creative Development Tony Baxter has his own vivid memories of the day Walt died. Tony was working as an ice-cream scooper at Disneyland at the time, and preparing a portfolio for a job interview with WED. 'I was on my way to the Park to pick up my paycheck. When I pulled into the employee parking lot, I saw the flag in Town Square lowering to half-staff and I knew something was wrong. All of the Cast Members were standing around crying, and I knew.'
Tony got his paycheck and walked over to check on the progress of Pirates of the Caribbean, as he had for most of the past year. He noticed that they were cycling bateaux and asked the engineer in charge if they could use a 'human sandbag'. The Imagineer agreed and sent Tony off alone in a bateaux. 'There were no Audio-Animatronics figures, no waterfalls, no effects, and no sound track except for one solitary "Yo Ho" guitar track. I remember gliding through this big empty, eerie city and thinking to myself, I'm riding Pirates of the Caribbean, but Walt Disney's dead and now there will be no WED and no job for me to get. I had no idea what the future held, for me or for Disneyland.'"