Imagineer & Author Jason Surrell: Celebrating the Haunted Mansion

Imagineer & Author Jason Surrell: Celebrating the Haunted Mansion

It’s Halloween, but any time of the year is a great time to celebrate the infamous Haunted Mansion. We are fortunate to have former Disney Imagineer and author of The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic. We take the time to talk about those Imagineering pioneers who made the mansion a possibility, from Marc Davis, Claude Coates and Rolly Crump, to Ken Anderson, X Attencio, and the original Imagineer, Walt Disney. We’ll talk about what makes this attraction so amazing, and share our favorite moments as well as insights. Join as we celebrate The Haunted Mansion.

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Our Guest: Jason Surrell

Jason Surrell is an author, screenwriter and Creative Director at Universal Creative, with over 25 years experience as a writer, producer and director in the entertainment industry.  For fifteen years, Jason was a Senior Show Writer, Show Producer and Creative Director at Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative design division of the Walt Disney Company. 

Jason wrote and directed the independent feature film, Characters.

Jason Surrell.

Jason’s major theme park credits include Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, creative development of Star Wars Land, New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow Starring Johnny Depp, Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, Raiders of the Lost Jedi Temple of Doom, Symphony in the Stars: A Star Wars Fireworks Spectacular, Star Wars Weekends, The Great Movie Ride, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, The American Idol Experience, Jurassic Park River Adventure and A Day in the Park with Barney, The Magic of Disney Animation and show enhancements to Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion.

Jason speaks of the Madame Leota enhancement at Magic Kingdom. Photo by J. Jeff Kober

Jason is the author of The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic, The Art of Marvel’s The Avengers, The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic, The Disney Mountains: Imagineering at Its Peak, Screenplay by Disney: Tips and Techniques to Bring Magic to Your Moviemaking, Pirates of the Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies and The Art of the Haunted Mansion.  He contributed essays and feature articles to The Imagineering Way, The Imagineering Workout, The Disney Insider Yearbook and Disney Twenty-three magazine.  Jason also wrote for Walt Disney Television’s internationally syndicated television series, Secrets of the Animal Kingdom.

Jason most recently served as the Creative Director for Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, which opened in April of 2017 at Universal Orlando Resort, and the Universal Beijing theme park, the company’s first destination resort in China.  He is currently working on an all-new project at Universal Creative.

There’s Much More Halloween Fun!

Thanks for joining us. Make sure you check out the following:

Disney & Halloween with Jim Korkis

Jim Korkis is our guest as he shares how Disney and Halloween have come together over the decades. We cover all things haunted, from The Tower of Terror to the Haunted Mansion. We talk about the advent of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties, and some of the best Disney villains, shorts and scary moments in the movies. Did you know that The Headless Horseman almost had an attraction when Magic Kingdom opened in 1971? Did you know that there are different versions of the Halloween tree on the Disney Cruise Line? We’ll share all this and more.

Halloween & Magic Kingdom

Fall is upon us and at the Magic Kingdom, that usually means a big salute to Halloween. In the absence of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, we cover what Disney has tried to do to make the holiday succeed during this pandemic. We look at decorations, character cavalcades, food, and merchandise. We also pay homage to those missing pieces this year. All this and more on this Disney at Play post & podcast.

And Stay Tuned, Halloween is not over! We have more to come!

Photo. by J. Jeff Kober.

J. Jeff Kober

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