Alan Coats considers himself pretty lucky. His father, Claude, was a talented Disney artist who worked on almost every feature-length film from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Lady and the Tramp. Claude would eventually shift his talents to Disneyland, designing the Fantasyland dark rides for grand opening before taking on the "impossible" task of creating the Mine Train's Rainbow Caverns. Claude was named a Disney Legend in 1991.
|Disney Imagineer Alan Coats|
Alan grew up among all the great names at the studio. He met Walt and Roy Disney. He marched in a Disneyland parade alongside Annette Funicello. He knew all of the Nine Old Men. Artist and Imagineer Yale Gracey took Alan's baby pictures.
Add to that a decades-long career at Disney with stints at Disneyland, Walt Disney World and WED (later Walt Disney Imagineering) and you see before you a very lucky man indeed. Being a talented artist and designer probably didn't hurt either. Nor, for that matter, did being Claude's kid. Alan readily owns up to that one.
Alan is my guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge. In part one of our two-part conversation, he talks about his father's career as well as his own early days working at Disneyland. Enjoy!
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Related: The Mouse Castle Lounge 07-28-2014 - Disney Imagineer Alan Coats Part Two