Disney Legend And Haunted Mansion Designer Rolly Crump Has Passed Away At 93

Walt Disney and Rolly Crump in Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color
(Image credit: Walt Disney Studios)

In the over 65 years that Disney theme parks have existed, there have only been a few names of the Imagineers that more than die-hard fans might know. One of those names that many more people might be aware of is Rolly Crump. The man worked on some of Disneyland's most iconic attractions, from the Haunted Mansion to It's a Small World. Unfortunately, fans will be heartbroken to learn he is no longer with us. 

The Facebook page for It's Kind of a Cute Story, Crump's autobiography, written about his time working as an animator and Imagineer, has announced that at the age of 93 Rolly Crump has passed away. The cause of death was not revealed but the post says that Crump passed away peacefully yesterday morning.

As with many who went to work at WED Enterprises, Rolly Crump started working for Walt Disney at the animation studio, where he worked as an assistant animator on projects from Peter Pan to 101 Dalmatians.

In 1959 Crump moved over to Imagineering to work on Disneyland where he did work on Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room and early design work on the iconic Haunted Mansion (opens in new tab). The Mansion was an ongoing project that Walt Disney wanted for his park from the beginning, but there was little agreement inside Imagineering as to whether it should be a funny or scary attraction.

Crump was part of the group that believed the mansion should be a truly scary attraction. He reportedly put together some concepts for illusions that were so terrifying that janitors refused to clean his office at night because what was in there scared them.

In the end, the Haunted Mansion became a blend of the two genres. Many of Crump's unused designs were at one time going to be used for a separate walk-through experience attached to the Mansion called the Museum of the Weird. Unfortunately, since Walt Disney died before work on the Haunted Mansion began, this idea never saw any follow-through.

Crump was part of the team that worked on Disney's four separate attractions for the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. Crump worked alongside illustrator Mary Blair to help create It's a Small World. He also created the Tower of the Four Winds, a model of which is seen in the image above. The Tower stood outside It's a Small World at the World's Fair but did not make the trip with the ride back to Disneyland.

Crump left Disney in the 1970s and designed attractions at other parks including Knott's Berry Farm and Busch Gardens. He returned in 1976 and designed The Land and Wonders of Life pavilions for Epcot Center.

Few individuals have had quite the impact on themed entertainment that Rolly Crump has given us. He will be missed by fans.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.