Disneyland pays tribute to Tower of the Four Winds during Pixar Fest – Orange County Register

A whimsical landmark set up for Pixar Fest at the Disneyland entrance pays tribute to Disney Legend Rolly Crump and his Tower of the Four Winds kinetic sculpture built for the It’s a Small World attraction at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.

Disneyland crews are putting the finishing touches on the Pixar festival landmark in the esplanade between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure ahead of the seasonal event beginning on Friday, April 26. A smaller version of the Pixar sculpture has been installed in Disneyland at Christmas Tree Point at the foot of Main Street U.S.A.

The Pixar Fest landmark’s arching white supports, featuring images of Wall-E, Merida, Mater, Russell and Ember above a massive Luxo Jr. ball, recall the look and design of Crump’s Tower of the Four Winds.

Crump, who died in 2023, is best known for his work on It’s a Small World, Haunted Mansion and the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland.

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The first time many Disney fans met Crump was in 1964 when he demonstrated his Tower of the Four Winds model during an episode of “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.”

Walt Disney (Right) stands with project designer Rolly Crump next to a model of the "Tower of the Four Winds" that was later part of an attraction entrance at the World's Fair in New York. (Disney)
Walt Disney (Right) stands with project designer Rolly Crump next to a model of the “Tower of the Four Winds” that was later part of an attraction entrance at the World’s Fair in New York. (Disney)

Walt Disney wanted a visual marquee to draw World’s Fair visitors to the Small World attraction that was housed in an otherwise plain building and asked Crump to create a kinetic sculpture as a marquee.

The Tower of the Four Winds was built quickly and over-engineered to withstand heavy winds — robbing the original design of much of its delicacy. The 12-story-tall tower of mobiles and propellers weighed 200,000 pounds and cost $200,000.

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“I hated it. I was really unhappy with it,” said Crump, according to the Disney History Institute. “It was something that was really special to me, as far as being a kinetic sculpture.”

Walt liked it and thought the public would love it.

Fairgoers marveled at the 100 spinning, swiveling and oscillating elements along with the animal carousel that included giraffes, camels, reindeers, llamas, horses, elephants, donkeys, flying fish, butterflies, bees and winged dragons.

The Tower of the Four Winds became a popular fair landmark and Crump ultimately acknowledged he had been looking at his passion project through the critical eyes of a designer.

Crump got his start at Disney’s animation studio in 1952 working as an in-betweener animator on “Peter Pan,” “Lady and the Tramp,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “101 Dalmatians.”

His big break came when a playful propeller exhibit Crump set up in the studio library caught Walt’s eye. In 1959, Crump moved to WED Enterprises — the precursor to Walt Disney Imagineering — to help bring to life the new Disneyland attractions the boss was dreaming up.

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