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2015 Joe Lanzisero
In a Disney career spanning more than 30 years (more than 20 of those with WDI), Imagineer Joe Lanzisero has made major contributions to Disneyland and Walt Disney World and played an integral part in the development and design of Tokyo Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland and the Disney Cruise Line.
Joe is a graduate of CalArts, where he studied animation. (His classmates there included John Lasseter, Brad Bird and John Musker.) Like many of the original Imagineering legends, Joe started his Disney career in feature animation. He contributed to The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron and other films before he was asked to work on animation for Epcot and Disneyland, and that work led to his transition to WDI.
He came to Imagineering in 1987 as a concept designer and was on the design teams for Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park at Walt Disney World, Critter Country at Disneyland, and Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris.
In 1991, Joe was promoted to senior concept designer and immediately plunged into the development of Mickey’s Toontown, which opened at Disneyland in 1993. He also developed the concept for Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, which opened the following year. Joe also supervised the concept design for the Tokyo Disneyland version of Toontown that opened in 1996.
Before joining the Tokyo Disneyland project team in 1999, he developed the concepts for Fantasia Gardens and WinterSummerland, a pair of miniature golf courses at Walt Disney World. Another new venture, Disney Cruise Line, benefited from his work on children’s spaces and activities. And he was behind the conceptual design and development of DisneyFest, a unique Disney entertainment venue that traveled throughout the Far East and South America.
In 2001 Joe was promoted to creative vice president for Tokyo Disney Resort, charged with overseeing all design in Tokyo. For Tokyo Disney Resort, he worked on such attractions as Pooh's Hunny Hunt, Toontown, Critter Country and Splash Mountain. He did the concept development for Mermaid Lagoon and Arabian Coast in Tokyo DisneySea as well as many other projects. He directed the creative development of Tower of Terror attraction and Monsters, Inc. Ride and Go Seek. In March 2007, Joe was promoted to creative senior vice president with the added responsibilities of overseeing all design for Hong Kong Disneyland, including leading the design of a major three-land expansion of the park.
Joe was responsible for the creative development of the two newest ships for the Disney Cruise Line, and oversaw the teams that designed these new state-of-the-art ships (Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy) which launched in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Many features, such as the innovative dinner show “Animation Magic” and the inclusion of an onboard water coaster (the AquaDuck), are cruise industry firsts.
At Hong Kong Disneyland, Joe oversaw the expansion of the park by more than 20% over a three-year period. The additions of three new lands – Toy Story Land, Grizzly Gulch and most recently, Mystic Point (including its signature attraction, Mystic Manor) -- adds more excitement and fun for guests of all ages.