Women Who Changed the Disney Parks Forever: Harriet Burns

Continuing with the theme of women’s history this month, let’s shine a spotlight on one of the formative members of Disney’s Imagineering department: Harriet Burns. You can’t visit Disneyland without running into something Harriet got her hands on, whether you’re scarfing down powdered-sugar beignets in the bowels of New Orleans Square or staging a selfie in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Walt may have supplied the creative spark behind his theme park, but she made every last little detail come alive.

“Today, it takes thousands of Imagineers to take new attractions, lands, transportation systems, advanced Audio-Animatronics, shows, and nighttime spectaculars from conception to implementation in Disney’s six theme parks. Back in the 1950s, however, there were just three founding members of Walt Disney Imagineering (then termed WED Enterprises): Fred Joerger, Wathel Rogers, and Harriet Burns. Together, their small team helped shape some of the most iconic attractions in Walt’s original park, including Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Enchanted Tiki Room, even Sleeping Beauty Castle itself.

While all three were pioneers and Disney Legends in their own right, Burns held a unique and coveted distinction as the company’s very first (non-clerical) female Imagineer. Not only did her tenacious, creative spirit and fastidious attention to detail distinguish her among her peers, but her contributions stood the test of time as the parks expanded in scope and style. Here’s a little history about one of the most influential women in Disney Parks history.”

Find the rest of the article here at Theme Park Tourist.

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