Disney Legends – Dorothea Redmond

Disney Legend - Dorothea Redmond

Welcome to those of you joining me from Home is Where the Mouse Is and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 2nd stop on our Magical Blogorail. Today we are discussing some of the Disney Legends we admire.

“Her watercolor sketches were extraordinary placemaking,” Marty Sklar once said. “They expressed the concept so beautifully you felt you had already ‘been there’ in her restaurants and shop interiors, Walt’s suite for New Orleans Square, or along the promenade in Epcot’s World Showcase.”

When it comes to Disney and art one of the first names people think of is Mary Blair. I love her work and murals but I wanted to highlight another woman who’s vision is also throughout the parks, Dorothea Holt Redmond. She began her career at David O. Selznick’s studio and worked closely with directors helping them create the look of their films with her illustrations. “Gone with the Wind,” “The Best Years of Our Lives,” “The Ten Commandments,” “Funny Face,” “Sabrina” and “White Christmas” are just a few of the films she contributed to.

Watercolor of Tara from Gone with the Wind - Image via Cinema Style

Watercolor of Tara from Gone with the Wind – Image via Cinema Style

She also worked with Alfred Hitchcock on seven films, including “Rebecca”, “Rear Window”, and “To Catch a Thief.” Tania Modleski, a USC English professor who is documented the contributions women made Hitchcock’s films says that Redmond “was masterful at working with light and shadow,” and “deserves credit for working with Hitchcock to convey the German Expressionist aesthetic he has been praised for adopting throughout much of his career.” “Casting a Shadow: Creating the Alfred Hitchcock Film,” an exhibit put on at Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills in 2008, also documented Redmond’s collaboration with Hitchcock.

Dorothea began working with Walt Disney Imagineering in 1966. At Disneyland, she helped transform the interior of the Red Wagon Inn Restaurant into the Plaza Inn and the interior and exterior settings of several restaurants and shops in New Orleans Square. She also worked with Walt himself to design the Royal Suite, a private apartment in New Orleans Square above Pirates of the Caribbean for Walt to entertain special guests. Walt passed away before the project was completed and at one time it was the home of The Disney Gallery.

In 2008 the space became the Disneyland Dream Suite. The 2,200 square foot apartment with rooms themed to Adventureland, New Orleans Square, and Frontierland was based on the designs that Dorothea had created. You can check out a tour of the Disneyland Dream Suite at Mouse Planet.

Dorothea also worked with WDI on the Walt Disney World project in Florida. She worked on several projects including Fantasyland, Main Street, and Adventureland. This watercolor of the Enchanted Tiki Room is one of my favorites.

Dorothea Redmond Watercolor

Dorothea Redmond Watercolor – Photo Courtesy of Kagavi

But perhaps her most recognized work are the beautiful murals in the entry passage through Cinderella Castle. The five fifteen by ten foot panels are an abridged version of the story of Cinderella. Artisan Hanns-Joachim Scharff took Dorothea’s drawings and with the help of his wife and daughter, he hand cut and shaped over one million pieces of multicolored Italian glass, real silver, and 14 carat gold.

Cinderella Castle Mural

As a movie and Disney geek, I loved learning about all of the projects Dorothea contributed to. Make sure to take the time to admire these murals on your next visit. It’s a great way to honor someone that brought us so many beautiful places in the Disney Parks.

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Disney Babies Blog.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ Home is Where the Mouse Is – Mary Blair and Yale Gracey
2nd Stop ~ Rolling with the Magic – Dorothea Redmond
3rd Stop ~ Disney Babies Blog – X Atencio
4th Stop ~ My Pixie Dust Diary – Lee Cockerell
Final Stop ~ Disney Nouns – Floyd Norman

Magical Blogorail Blue

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11 Comments

  • Reply Keif Chavera January 11, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    Thank You for highlighting Dorothea Holt Redmond. She was my grandmother, my mother is Lynne Holt Jackson. I am very proud of my grandmothers work. She had a talent that still stands the test of time even today. FYI update she is being inducted to the Art Directors Guild Hall of Fame, at the awards this year January 2016. Again thanks, Keif Chavera

  • Reply CapMagicalMem November 6, 2014 at 7:44 am

    So fun getting to know the legends behind some of my favorite attractions.  Tiki is my absolute favorite!

  • Reply adisneymom October 28, 2014 at 12:03 am

    I have to agree!  I love that Tiki Room watercolor.  I didn’t realize who was behind the Castle mural.  I’ll have to look at it more closely on my next trip!  great info!

  • Reply LisaDiDomenicoCameron October 25, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Dorthea’s watercolors are gorgeous! I am a big fan of the mural in Cinderella Castle and had no idea she helped design it. Thank you for teaching us all about her amazing body of work.

  • Reply DawnCullo1 October 23, 2014 at 3:19 am

    Wonderful article about Dorothea, I had no idea of all the art work she did for Disney. Which is your favorite?

  • Reply DisneyMamaLin October 23, 2014 at 12:12 am

    Dorothea’s attention to detail is incredible. Her paintings and designs simply breathe life. She is altogether under appreciated as a designer and Imagineer. Thank you for bringing her work to life!

  • Reply FrontierlandSta October 20, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Dorothea’s artwork is beautiful! I believe I may have heard her name once or twice, but I was not familiar with her work. I love the mural in the castle! So beautiful!

  • Reply SavingUpDisney October 16, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    I love her art and that mural is incredible. Off to see if they have replica artwork for sale somewhere… 🙂

  • Reply LeeBeatens October 16, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Glad you highlighted this legend! Too often we think only of animators and movie stars when we think of Disney Legends, but this post shows we all need to broaden our field of vision!

  • Reply HeidiPortzlineStrawser October 16, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Her work is incredible.  While Mary Blair’s work is more whimsical and fun, Dorothea’s work is more realistic and beautiful.  They are two very different artists, yet both Disney Legends in their own right!

  • Reply RoeMo326 October 16, 2014 at 8:38 am

    The murals are just gorgeous. It’s funny – when you don’t know a particular artist and you find out the attractions and buildings they designed, all of a sudden it all makes sense. They just have the same feel to them, and that’s certainly true of the Disney sets that Dorothea Redmond inspired.
    Rosanne @ The Disney Point

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