Legendary Disney Imagineer Inducted Into National Inventors Hall of Fame

in Disney, Disney Parks

Walt Disney Imagineering logo

Credit: Disney

Legendary Disney Imagineer Lanny Smoot is being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, only the second member of the Disney Company to be granted the honor after Walt Disney himself.

Disney Imagineer Lanny Smoot holding his hands to light
Credit: Disney

According to a press release from the Walt Disney Company, Lanny Smoot will enter the National Inventors Hall of Fame on May 9, along with 15 other inductees. Smoot has worked for Disney for almost thirty years and is currently a Disney Research Fellow and a member of Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development; over the decades, he has filed 74 patents for his work with the House of Mouse.

Related: The Winding Path to Becoming a Walt Disney Imagineer

Even more impressively, Lanny Smoot has filed over 100 patents over the course of his career, making him one of the most prolific Black inventors in the history of the United States. Disney describes him as a “theatrical technology creator, inventor, electrical engineer, scientist, and researcher.”

Disney Imagineer Lanny Smoot working on circuitry
Credit: Disney

Among his many contributions to the Walt Disney Company are inventing the Magic Playfloor interactive game on the Disney Cruise Line, giving Madame Leona the ability to float at Disneyland Haunted Mansion, Tokyo DisneySea’s Fortress Explorations adventure, Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel’s virtual and interactive koi ponds, devising the extendable lightsaber used by Disney Live Entertainment for various Star Wars experiences, and many more.

lightsaber carrying case plastic bag
Credit Left: DIsney Credit Right: Kate H.

Lanny Smoot said of his induction: “I was honored and humbled at being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. With all of the inventing greats, however, I caught a true lump in my throat when I realized that I was only the second person at The Walt Disney Company being presented with this honor, and the first person was Walt Disney himself.”

Related: How to Become a Disney Imagineer

The Disney Imagineer had been previously honored by the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2022 as part of the “Breaking Barriers: Honoring Extraordinary Black Inventors” exhibit. Smoot has also been honored with the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame Inventor of the Year in 1996, three Themed Entertainment Association Thea Awards, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office Inventor of the Month in 2022.

Disney Experiences Chairman Josh D’Amaro said, “At Disney Experiences, we’re committed to world-class storytelling, creativity, and innovation in everything we do, and Lanny Smoot embodies every one of those ideals. As Disney’s most prolific inventor, Lanny continues to amaze all of us with his artistic ingenuity, technical expertise, and endless imagination.”

Congratulations, Mr. Smoot!

What’s your favorite contribution from the great Disney Imagineer? Let’s hear them in the comments below!

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