Map of areas where Joe Lanzisero has worked on projects
Seattle, WA Burbank, CA Anaheim, CA Orlando, FL - Golf Bahamas Orlando, FL - Parks Miami, FL Buenos Aires, Argentina Cadiz, Spain Paris, France Pappenburg, Germany Venice, Italy Tokyo, Japan - Disneyland Tokyo, Japan - DisneySea Fukuoka, Japan Hong Kong Singapore Guangzhao, China Zhuhai, China Seoul, S. Korea Doha, Qatar Denver, CO New Orleans, LA

Seattle, WA

Disney Fair mockup drawing

The Disney Fair - March ’95 to October ‘96

Concept Director, Art Director and Show Producer

I worked along with Attractions Entertainment and WDI Business Development to create a totally new Disney entertainment experience.  I created the entire visual look and feel of the event, designing all facilities, stage setting and costumes (for Attractions Entertainment), interactive elements and merchandise venue elements.  Working as my own Show Producer, I drove the design, production and installation of the entire event in just 6 months!  Although, deemed a financial failure by the company, the creative component of the event received higher than theme park ratings in independent exit polls.  With lessons learned, we transformed The Disney Fair into DisneyFest Asia

Burbank, CA

Disney Animation Studios building

Walt Disney Feature Animation - June '79 to May '87 

After graduating from the Disney Character Animation Program at Cal Arts (I was in the first graduating class of the now world-renowned program where we were taught by Walt's "Nine Old Men"), I began working at Walt Disney Feature Animation.  At Feature Animation, I worked as an animator, director, storyboard artist, and as a visual developer.

1982 - Fun with Mr. Future (Short) (assistant animator)

1985 - The Black Cauldron (assistant effects animator)

1986 - The Great Mouse Detective (character animator - as Joseph Lanzisero)

1987 - Sport Goofy in Soccermania (Short) (supervising animator)

Anaheim, CA

Entrance to Roger Rabbit cartoon spin ride in Anaheim

Disnyeland - March '91 to January '94

Concept Designer, Art DIrector, Show Producer

Roger Rabbit Cartoon Spin
- The Roger Rabbit ride was the second phase of Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland.  I led the concept, design, production, and installation of this first interactive dark ride ever done at Disneyland.  Besides introducing the first interactive ride vehicle, the attraction is filled with a number of unique features and innovations.  We successfully mixed black light with white light (later used extensively on the Indiana Jones ride), developed a new "soft sculpture" look for the AA figures and introduced a number of new special effects.  It was also the first dark ride to utilize "Wild Fire" black light fixtures, now a standard in the Industry.

Working as both show producer and art director, I delivered the ride under budget and ahead of schedule.  The ride is considered one of the most unique and creative dark rides ever, and has been written up in numerous publications.  It has been featured on the Discovery Channel, "E" Entertainment, CBS This Morning, and on the BBC. 

Mickey's Toontown
- Concept Director, Art Director and Spiritual Leader

I led the team that created the first all new land at Disneyland since Bear Country opened in the mid-70's. Toontown was the first totally interactive theme park land, filled with all original ideas and concepts.

In just under 22 months, we concepted, designed, produced, and built 3 rides, 5 interactive character houses filled with various activities and attractions, 3 food locations, 2 merchandise locations and area development.  The land has won a number of design awards and has been the subject of numerous television pieces.  For my part, I believe what I brought to the project was the spirit of Disney storytelling taught to me by Walt's old masters.  I truly believe Mickey's Toontown stands as one of WDI's best examples of Disney visual storytelling.
I now hold 8 U.S. Patents for designs included in this project.

: '88 to '89 

Show Designer

Critter Country
- I designed all of the critter houses, critter benches, graphics, statues, and area development that transformed Bear Country into Critter Country at Disneyland Anaheim.

Orlando, FL - Golf

Entrance to Fantasia Golf, Mickey Mouse plant fountain.

Blizzard Beach Miniature Golf (Winter Summerland): 1998 - 1999

Concept Designer

Along with Kevin Rafferty and Robert Coltrin, I developed the concept and design of a new 36-hole mini-golf for Walt Disney World.  I produced all concept and show set drawings, as well as working in-field art direction.  The course has been recognized as one of the most original and innovative mini-golf experiences.  Trade magazines have called it “the best miniature golf in the world”. 

Fantasia Gardens Mini-Golf
: March '95 to April '96 

Concept Director, Art Director, Show Producer
I led the design team that partnered with the then Disney Development Company and Michael Graves Architects to design the first mini-golf course for Walt Disney World.  I did all character concepts and show set drawings and watched over production of all show elements.  This project was singled out as an example of how WDI & DDC could partner with positive results.  Fantasia Gardens has exceeded all financial expectations and is still considered one of the finest miniature golf courses (as written up in numerous trade publications).


Castaway Cay island, ship parked at pier

Disney Cruise Line: 2009 - 2017

Portfolio Executive

Castaway Cay - Led the overall design of elements added to accommodate the Dream and Fantasy. These included:

Project List

Luxury Cabanas

Spring-a-Leak water play area

Cookies 2 Dining

New Teen Area

Island wide Graphics - Improved overall graphics 

Summer Freeze Tropical Drink kiosk featuring Olaf - Most recent work on the island
New Island “Project Chicken” – Led the Master Plan and design of the potential new island

Orlando, FL - Parks

Donald Duck's boat at Walt Disney World

Disney World: December ’97 to April ‘98

Concept Designer

Winnie the Pooh Ride – I lent my expertise to this design team in character design, staging, and ride layout.

Disney World: Spring '96 

Concept Designer

Mickey's Toontown Fair - Designed the new Donald's boat and helped adapt many of the Disneyland Toontown concepts to the Florida project.

Disney MGM Studios
- September '89 to May '90 

Concept Designer

Muppet Movie Studios -  Although never fully realized (mostly because of the passing of Jim Henson), we designed an entire "new land" for the studio.  My design for the whimsical Muppet Fountain in the courtyard fronting Muppets 3D made it to the field.

Typhoon Lagoon
: '87 to '88 

Show Design

Typhoon Lagoon -I designed the entire Kiddie Pool area, all themed signage park-wide, the Pier entrance to Shark Reef and gags, props, and dressings that appear park-wide.  I also designed a teen area, which was cut from the final scope, although many of the activities were later used at Blizzard Beach. 

Tiki Show - I worked with Kevin Rafferty on the original re-concepting of the Tiki Bird Show.  The basic show concept we came up with then became the basis for the current show re-do.

Miami, FL

Disney Cruise Lines ship in Miami

Disney Cruise Line: 2009 - 2017

Portfolio Executive

Since 2009 I’ve led the overall creative design for the entire Disney Cruise Line experience including the design of 2 new ships, dry docks on the existing ships, and enhancements and improvements to Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island.

Project List

Disney Dream Cruise Ship - Led the overall design of the entire ship. I infused the ship with brand-defining elements, adding story and whimsy to the entire guest experience, including

Turtle Talk Show w/ Crush in Animators Palette

Enchanted Portholes

Aqua Duck Story and Character overlay

Mid-Ship Detective Game

Enchanted Art Program

Directed all media for the above and Skylines Bar

Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship
- Led the overall creative design for the entire ship. Reworked and enhanced many of the designs based on learning from the Disney Dream. Improved or added the following: 

Satellite Falls - came up with the concept and design

Muppets Detective Game - Directed concept

Europa Adult District - Concepted and directed design of the area

The Aqua Lab and Funnel Puddle - Added new water features to the upper decks

Added specialty character elements ship-wide

Project Triton
- Started initial design work on a new class of ships incorporating our learning’s from the entire fleet and looking ahead to create a new level of state-of-the-art cruise ships.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires aerial shot of park

Disney Festival Argentina: November ’96 to April ‘97

Concept Designer, Show Producer

I worked with our partners at Consumer Products to develop concepts and designs for a new entertainment experience in Buenos Aires.  Although it has yet to be realized, we have done important groundwork identifying entertainment products for an alternative world market.

DisneyFest II:
November ’97 to May ’99 

Concept Director

Developed concepts and designs with Disney Entertainment Projects for a possible second-generation Disney touring experience for Asia, South America or Europe.

Cadiz, Spain

Disney Cruise Line ship at dock in Cadiz

Disney Cruise Line: 2008 - 2017

Portfolio Executive

Dry Docks - Have overseen the dry dock work on the entire fleet starting in 2008. The most significant being:

Project List

The “re-imagining” of the Disney Magic including:

All new Children’s Areas featuring the first Marvel experience for WDP&R

All new Adult Area - I personally designed the Fathoms Night Club

New Staterooms

Twist and Spout & the Aqua Dunk - Re-designed the entire upper decks adding 2 new slides

and the Aqua Lab Water Play Area

Currently leading the design of the dry docks for both the
Dream and the Magic which will include one of a kind elements such as:

New Star Wars area for children

New Sugar Rush themed candy and Ice Cream Parlor

Re-design of the Adult areas

New upper deck water features including Satellite Falls to the Dream

Paris, France

Disney Haunted Mansion in Paris

Disneyland Paris

Concept Director

Little Mermaid Ride - Although never built, the designs and concepts for this unique dark ride shaped the later development of attractions at The Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and Tokyo DisneySea. 


Show Designer

Phantom Manor (Haunted Mansion) - I did concept design that helped shape the storytelling. 

Fantasy Land - I also helped design some of the character shops in Fantasyland.

Pappenburg, Germany

Disney Cruise Line ship exiting building in Pappenburg

Disney Cruise Line - August ’95 to September ’99

Concept Director, Art Director, Production Designer, Show Production
Disney Dream & Disney Fantasy

I partnered with Disney Cruise Lines in 1995 and was part of the original WDI Concept team. Tasked to help with the development of the entire cruise experience, I specifically led the design of the children’s spaces. Working with DCL and Child Play Consultants we developed the largest (more than 10,000 sq ft) most unique children’s spaces on any cruise ship.

I also worked as both Art Director and Production Designer interfacing with vendors in Ireland, England, Italy, Florida, Texas and California (Tujunga) on the production of props, sets, figures, and miscellaneous items ship-wide:

I also led the WDI design of many specialty elements throughout the ship, including ESPN Icons, themed light fixtures, themed pool slide support, and miscellaneous props and dressings.

I art directed the final installation of these elements on board the ship in the shipyard in Venice, Italy.

Venice, Italy

Disney Cruise Line ship in Venice, Italy

Disney Cruise Line - August ’95 to September ’99 

Concept Director, Art Director, Production Designer, Show Production
Disney Magic & Disney Wonder

I partnered with Disney Cruise Lines in 1995 and was part of the original WDI Concept team.  Tasked to help with the development of the entire cruise experience, I specifically led the design of the children’s spaces.  Working with DCL and Child Play Consultants we developed the largest (more than 10,000 sq ft) most unique children’s spaces on any cruise ship.

I also worked as both Art Director and Production Designer interfacing with vendors in Ireland, England, Italy, Florida, Texas and California (Tujunga) on the production of props, sets, figures, and miscellaneous items ship-wide:

I also led the WDI design of many specialty elements throughout the ship, including ESPN Icons, themed light fixtures, themed pool slide support, and miscellaneous props and dressings.

I art directed the final installation of these elements on board the ship in the shipyard in Venice, Italy. 

Tokyo, Japan - Disneyland

Minnie and Mickey Mouse in Kimonos, Tokyo Disneyland


Creative Director: 1999 - 2001

Portfolio Executive: 2001 - 2010

For almost 20 years I worked on and off on Tokyo project until I got my full-time assignment starting in 1999. It was the start of a long and fruitful run. I pretty much touched just about every land and attraction in one way or another. Specifically:

Project List

Monsters Ride and Go Seek - Along with Kevin Rafferty and Robert Coltrin came up with the concept for this unique one-of-a-kind interactive ride based on Monsters Inc.

Tiki Room Re-do with Stitch - Added the popular Stitch character to the tired Tiki room. Led the concept and design.

Space Mountain re-do
- Led the design of a Coke sponsored overlay

Philarmagic - Led the design and adaptation of this popular attraction into an existing facility in Fantasyland.

Cinderella Castle walk through and meet and greet - Led the concept and design of the interior 

Castle Cinderella experience.

Pirates Enhancements - Led the concept and design of the Jack Sparrow overlay to the very popular Pirates attraction.

Nightmare Before Christmas Overlay to Haunted Mansion
- Implemented the most involved of any of the Nightmare Haunted Mansion overlays.

Emporium/MO2 re-design - Worked with OLC to completely redesign most of Main Street including; The Emporium, The Confectionary, The Toy Shop and other ancillary shops.

Coke activation - Worked with our alliance partners and Coke to come up with one of the most successful activation programs in any Disney park. Our Coke vending experiences have become a model for our parks worldwide.

In June ’99, I took over the responsibility of day-to-day design direction for all of Tokyo Disneyland.  This includes the development of new attractions, enhancement and improvements to existing attractions, overseeing S.Q.S. and Design Services activities, as well as actively maintaining a Master Plan program. Upon accepting the assignment, I was tasked with following through to opening those projects that were nearing completion:

Winnie the Pooh Hunny Hunt Ride

Enchanted Tiki – Re-Do

Theater Orleans Entertainment Facility in Adventureland

Installation of TDS Preview Center in the TDL Gallery

Bon Voyage Merchandise Shop

Under my direction, my teams have initiated the following projects:

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters

We proposed and sold to OLC, an adaptation of the popular WDW attraction for introduction to TDL in '04.  Our TDL design is also being used for Hong Kong Disneyland, for which I am also serving as the Buzz Lightyear Creative Leader.

Planet M - Redesigning existing merchandise shop to upgrade fixtures and lighting, and to add Buzz Lightyear elements to synergize with adjacent ride.

Tokyo Disney Monorail Station 

New Victorian train station at TDL Main Entrance.

Cinderella Castle Forecourt Enhancement - New viewing and entertainment infrastructure for area in front of Cinderella’s Castle.

Emporium Re-Do - Redesigning three existing shops into a single Grand Emporium merchandise location.  We are combining the current Emporium with the Main Street Clothiers and the Cinema to create a new flagship store for TDL.

Master Plan - Have developed the first truly park-wide comprehensive master plan for TDL.  Based on this Master Plan work, OLC has asked us to develop two concepts as possible 130 million + “E” attractions for introduction in 2005.  The first is an adaptation of the popular Soarin’ attraction from DCA to be included in an all-new “Hollywood Heights” area of the park.  The other is a coaster-based attraction with a Tarzan theme for the Adventureland area of the park.

Small Projects

Disney Gallery - Designed and produced 6th Gallery to open October 1, 2001.

Sponsor Graphic - working with OLC Sponsor Affairs to introduce new sponsor identification into a number of attractions.

SQS/Design Services support.

Besides the day-to-day duties on TDL, I was continually asked to lend my services for brainstorming and design consultation.  I’ve recently helped out on brainstorm/design for the following:

"Bugs Area" for DCA.

"Limo Ride" re-concept for DCA.

"Journey into Imagination" - re-work.

"Small World with Disney Overlay" initiative.

"Focus on Safety" initiative.

Toontown – Tokyo Disneyland - July ’95 to April ’96 

Concept Director

Directed the adaptation of Mickey’s Toontown from Disneyland for Tokyo Disneyland.  I led the master planning, working with OLC, as well as designing many new elements unique to the Tokyo version.

SQS - WDI - Tokyo Disneyland: '89 to '93 

Between 1989 and 1993, I traveled three times a year to Tokyo Disneyland to do Show Quality reviews.  I helped TDL establish a greater understanding of Disney storytelling and show awareness.

Splash Mountain/Critter Country - Tokyo Disneyland

Concept Director, Show Designer

I led the concept and design team adapting Disneyland's Splash Mountain, and developing an entire new land at Tokyo Disneyland.  We improved and expanded the original ride concept, designed the largest enclosed fast-food restaurant in any Disney part at the time, a juice bar, merchandise area, and wrapped it all in one of the most story-rich environments in a Disney park.  The ride and the land continue to be among the most popular at TDL.  Most of our designs and concepts were later adapted for WDW Splash Mountain.

Tokyo Disneyland Enhancements: '87 to '89 

Show Designer

Country Bear Theater, Peter Pan Flight, and Mickey Mouse Musical Review - Designed new facades and pre-shows.

Tokyo Disneyland Adventureland -
Master planned Adventureland, which included a new entrance and pre-show to the Jungle Cruise, a new train station, and development of the Coral Landing food court. 

Tokyo, Japan - DisneySea

Aerial shot of Tokyo DisneySea

Tokyo DisneySea - February '94 to April '95 

Concept Designer

I was a member of the original concept team that developed all the concepts, layouts, and designs, which formed the foundation for all future development of Tokyo DisneySea.  

Mermaid Lagoon
and Arabian Coast.  I was personally responsible for the conceptual development and design and helped shaped the direction and look of these lands.  Even though I left the project after 13 months, most of my concepts remain as part of the opening park menu. 

Tokyo Disney Sea:
2001 - 2010

Portfolio Executive

In 2001 I took on the role of Creative Executive for Tokyo Disney Sea and the entire Tokyo Disney Resort. Working with my OLC partners I led the transformation of TDS and the entire resort into what is now the most successful theme park and resort in the world.

Project List

Raging Spirits - Came up with the concept and led the design of this totally original looping coaster.

Waterfront Park
- Lead the concept and design of the unique multi-use venue.

Tower of Terror
- Came up with the re-concept for the popular elevator drop attraction, and lead the design and implementation.

Duffy the Bear - Few people know that I was the force behind the development of the Duffy the Bear brand. I personally came up with the backstory and drew the storybook that I personally presented to OLC President Kagami-san. The rest is history.

20 Thousand Leagues re-do
- Took one of the lowest-rated attractions in the park and added an interactive story overlay that enhanced quest appeal.

Sinbad re-do - Led the design on the complete re-do of the Sinbad attraction transforming it from a glooming, poorly focused experience to an upbeat “Disney Story” with music by Alan Menken

Fortress Interactive - Leonardo’s Challenge - Took an underutilized area of the park and created

an original interactive guest experience.

Mickey and Friends Meeting Trail – Led the concept and design of the first Mickey and Friends meet and greet inside TDS.

Duffy Meet and Greet - Led the concept and design of the popular character meet and greet.

Aladdin’s Flying Carpet - Led the concept and design of this variation on the “Dumbo” ride, adding unique features like the first “waterless” fountain.

Midway Mania and Trolley Park - Personally came up with the concept of the Trolley park setting in order to convince OLC that we could give Midway Mania context in TDS. I then lead the concept and design of this ride and area.

SQS and Design Services - Worked with and lead our local design office and OLC in the design of countless re-habs and seasonal events.

Fukuoka, Japan

Sunset skyline shot of Fukuoka, Japan

Disney Fukuoka Project: 2006 - 2007

Creative Executive

I led the concept and design for the first non-traditional Disney themed guest experience. While this project was never realized (OLC got “cold feet”) it was recognized by our peers for cracking the code on a non-theme park Disney experience.

Disney English Club
: 1997 - 1999

Concept Director, Show Producer, Art Director
Worked with Consumer Products Japan to create a totally new business line, Disney-themed English language schools for children.  We designed and developed the hard classroom systems.  I led the development of concepts and hard designs for these English language schools.  I also designed all the visuals that set the tone for the entire project.

Hong Kong

Mystic Point Hong Kong image of the manor at sunset

Hong Kong Disney Resort: 2007 - 2015

Creative Executive

Since 2007 I led the design and master planning for the entire resort. Projects Started and completed under my direction and during my tenure include:

Project List

Mystic Point and Mystic Manor - led the design of this totally original land and attraction. Pushed the envelope to create the TEA awarding-winning Mystic Manor that has been recognized industry-wide for its originality and breakthrough storytelling techniques.

Grizzly Gulch and the Big Grizzly Coaster - Led the design of this original land and state-of-the-art coaster.

Toy Story Land - Led the design and adaptation of the second installment of this guest favorite.

It’s A Small World
- Finished the design and installation of the first Small World to incorporate Disney Characters and Music, a concept I developed for the company.

Art of Animation and Animation Academy
- Led the design of this Main Street attraction. I even worked with cast members to teach them how to “draw Mickey.”

Iron Man Experience - I led the concept and design of this first Marvel attraction in a Magic Kingdom park. I personally directed the film and media for the entire experience.

Explorers Lodge Hotel - Led the concept and design of the first hotel fully designed by WDI.

Fairy Tale Forest - Led the concept and Design of this new attraction.

New Hub Restaurant - Lead the concept and design of this new table service restaurant.

Toy Story Expansion
- Led the initial design and development of the expansion to Toy Story Land including Midway Mania and an all-new companion attraction.

SQS and Design Services - Have worked with/ and lead the local teams on small projects across the resort.


Singapore skyline shot with Merlion Fountain

DisneyFest I: December ’96 to May ’99 

Concept Director, Show Producer, Art Director

I led the team that adapted the original Disney Fair, modifying show concepts and designs for touring in Asia.  Scope of work included many new items designed in concert with our partner, Consumer Products, with whom we have built a strong working relationship.  I also oversaw the field installation of the project in Singapore.   Although the company chose to close down the event after traveling to Taipei, China, they acknowledge the “learning’s” that helped with the early planning of Hong Kong Disneyland. 

Guangzhao, China

Chimelong Paradise in Guangzhao, China

Chimelong Safari Park
Chimelong Paradise

Zhuhai, China

Chimelong Ocean Kingdom entrance with giant manta ray in Zhuhai China

Chimelong Ocean Kingdom through Zeitgeist Design & Production

Seoul, S. Korea

Concept artwork for CJ K-Pop Entertainment Park in Seoul, S. Korea for the Hettema Group

CJ K-Pop Entertainment Park: Through the Hettema Group 

Doha, Qatar

Concept artwork of Qatari Quest in Doha for the Hettema Group

Qatari Quest: Through the Hettema Group 

Denver, CO

Guest experience concept sketch for the Denver Airport for the Hettema Group

Denver Airport: Guest experience through the Hettema Group

New Orleans, LA

Production of jesters for a museum project in New Orleans

Museum Development: through the Kern Company