Claude Coates

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Claude Coates

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Coates began his career with The Walt Disney Company in 1935 after earning a B.A. degree in architecture and fine arts from USC and studying at the Chouinard Art Institute. As a background painter at the Disney Studios, he contributed to the background and color styling of such celebrated Disney film classics as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Pinocchio,” “Fantasia,” “Dumbo,” “Saludos Amigos,” “The Three Caballeros,” “Lady and the Tramp,” “Song of the South,” “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad,” “Cinderella,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Peter Pan.” 

With the dawning of Disneyland in 1955, Coats joined WED Enterprises, now Walt Disney Imagineering, Disney’s master planning, creative development, design, engineering, production and project management subsidiary, responsible for the creation of Disney Theme Parks and their expansion.  A key designer from Disneyland’s inception, Coats created attraction concepts including “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Haunted Mansion,” the Grand Canyon and Primeval World dioramas, and “Submarine Voyage.”

For the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, he added the “Mickey Mouse Revue” to his repertoire, and helped create numerous attractions for EPCOT Center, including World of Motion, Horizons and several World Showcase pavilions. When Walt Disney created show pavilions for the New York World’s Fair 1964-65, Coats was at the center of “Magic Skyway,” “Carousel of Progress,” and “It’s a Small World.” After 54 years with The Walt Disney Company, Coats retired from Walt Disney Imagineering on November 30, 1989.

Honors and awards

1986 Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Award: Golden Award



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