Late Disney Legend Harrison “Buzz” Price was honored with a window on Main Street, U.S.A., on the morning of Tuesday, April 9, 2013. The Dapper Dans provided a fitting musical tribute, and Mickey Mouse made a special appearance to help unveil Buzz’s window, a truly special honor at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs, Disneyland Resort President Michael Colglazier, and David Price, son of Buzz Price, celebrate this special honor.
Buzz, who worked for the Stanford Research Institute, was called upon by Walt Disney to determine the most suitable location on which to build “The Happiest Place on Earth.” In 1953, Buzz went right to work analyzing traffic patterns, climate conditions, tourism trends, and potential revenue streams for the proposed wonderland set to be completed by July 1955. Buzz was faced with quite a challenge, and when he asked Walt where he would like to build Disneyland, Walt’s only response was, “You tell me.”
But like so many who worked with Walt . . .
. . . Buzz helped make the impossible a reality.
He was able to select the ideal location for what would be known as Disneyland and went on to become a trusted advisor and personal friend of the creative visionary. “Dad knew how to distill information and turn the mathematics into a form that was easily understood and digested,” says David Price as he reflects on his father’s work. “And he could do it with humor, wit, and intelligence.”
Recognizing Buzz’s wisdom and dedication to his work, Walt encouraged him to form his own consulting company. In 1958, Buzz founded Economics Research Associates, and the organization went on to conduct more than 100 studies for Walt and his brother Roy O. Disney during their lifetimes. In addition to the projects that guests are familiar with today, Buzz and his colleagues also worked on such unrealized attractions as the Mineral King Ski Resort in California as well as additional entertainment projects for Palm Springs, Niagara Falls, and St. Louis.
In 1963, the Disney brothers tasked Buzz with an even bolder mission: recommend the best location in Florida for an “East Coast Disneyland” (which became the Walt Disney World Resort).
“Although most people thought that would be Miami, Buzz said that the Orlando area was the key,”
. . . says friend and Disney Legend Marty Sklar. “It was where tourists crisscrossed the state, by car, and passed through on their way south to the Miami area.”
In the decades to come, Buzz assisted with feasibility and site selection studies for dozens of projects including Tokyo Disneyland. Later in life, Buzz shared that he had conducted more than 3,000 such analyses for various companies during his lifetime.
Outside of the Disney organization, Walt personally entrusted Buzz to help manage the future of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), and Buzz remained a loyal trustee of the school for many years.
In 1994, Buzz received a lifetime achievement award from the Themed Entertainment Association—an award that has since been renamed the Buzz Price Thea Award. Imagineer Kim Irvine was the first to receive this award after it was renamed. Although he never worked directly for the company, Buzz was named a Disney Legend in 2003. He passed away August 15, 2010. “Buzz Price created the pathway for many talents, young and old, to follow and achieve new wonders,” Marty remembers. “Walt knew how to pick them, and Buzz sat very close to the throne of the ‘King of Disneyland!'”