Disney Imagineer Lanny Smoot Shares His Story This Black History Month

by | Feb 6, 2022 | WDW Blog, WDW News

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Celebrate Black History Month with Disney Imagineer Lenny Smoot, who in his decades-long career has received more than 100 patents that have helped make Disney Parks the most incredible places on Earth.

We all know that Imagineers have one of the coolest jobs in the world, but Lanny Smoot has by far one of the coolest of the coolest . As a 24-year veteran of Walt Disney Imagineering, Smoot is a Disney Research Fellow, which is the highest level of technical achievement at WDI.

“My mindset is to create things that are fun, entertaining, often surprising, and, hopefully, a bit ahead of their time,” Smoot said. “At Disney, I can work on cutting-edge technologies that are designed to make people happy. What’s not to like?!”

Disney Imagineer Lanny Smoot Has 102 Patents

One of Smoot’s biggest accomplishments is the 102 patents (and counting) he has received from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. That’s the most patents of anyone to date at The Walt Disney Company. Smoot’s patents include unique special effects that created Madame Leota’s floating head inside a crystal call in the Séance Room in the Haunted Mansion.

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Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

“Some ideas that we create won’t ever be seen by guests,” Smoot explained. “We pick the best of our technologies to finally roll out, and we’re constantly inventing, and constantly trying to live up to Walt’s dream – that our work will never be done as long as we have guests to entertain.”

And thank goodness for people like Smoot, who dedicate their professional careers to making new technologies and advancements designed to make our experience at Disney Parks around the world the most magical they can be.

Encouraging Students to Enter STEAM Fields

In addition to being a mighty impressive member of WDI, Smoot works to encourage students, especially students of color, to enter a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math) field when it’s time to choose a profession. That includes a stint as a judge for a recent Innovation Challenge for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) as part of Disney on the Yard.

“We need to give young students – especially Black students and people of color – experience in these fields,” Smoot said. “The Walt Disney Company is digging deeply into this by making sure that we mentor diverse young people, and I’ve done that many times myself.

Disney Imagineer Lanny Smoot’s contributions are worth celebrating any day of the year, but it’s particularly apt to spotlight him during Black History Month.

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Written by Catherine Hiles

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Catherine Hiles is a mom of young kids and therefore an avid Disney+ watcher. While it's her kids who request Disney soundtracks to play in the car, she often finds herself driving solo while belting out "Into the Unknoooooooooooown!" She also enjoys eating and running, although not at the same time.
Catherine Hiles

Written by Catherine Hiles

Catherine Hiles is a mom of young kids and therefore an avid Disney+ watcher. While it's her kids who request Disney soundtracks to play in the car, she often finds herself driving solo while belting out "Into the Unknoooooooooooown!" She also enjoys eating and running, although not at the same time.