Lanny Smoot Is The Second Person From Disney, Only After Walt Disney Himself, To Be Inducted Into National Inventors Hall Of Fame

Lanny Smoot Is The Second Person From Disney, Only After Walt Disney Himself, To Be Inducted Into National Inventors Hall Of Fame | Photo: Courtesy of Walt Disney Imagineering ©Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Lanny Smoot Is The Second Person From Disney, Only After Walt Disney Himself, To Be Inducted Into National Inventors Hall Of Fame | Photo: Courtesy of Walt Disney Imagineering ©Disney Enterprises, Inc.
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Disney Research Fellow and Imagineer Lanny Smoot will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. This recognition highlights his significant contributions to the brand’s most popular attractions.

The Disney Parks Blog states that Smoot is the first Disney Imagineer to receive the prestigious honor and the second person at the Walt Disney Company inducted into the institution. The first was Walt Disney, honored posthumously in 2000 for inventing the multiplane camera to produce modern animation.

Smoot boasts an impressive 45-year career with Disney Experiences. Throughout his tenure, he has worn multiple hats as a theatrical technology creator, inventor, electrical engineer, scientist and researcher. His remarkable journey led him to create over 100 patents, with 74 of them invented during his impactful 25-year stint at the Walt Disney Company, as reported by Disney Parks.

“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,” Disney Experiences Chairman Josh D’Amaro said in a statement. “As Disney’s most prolific inventor, Lanny continues to amaze all of us with his artistic ingenuity, technical expertise and endless imagination.”

Smoot has been pivotal in shaping iconic special effects and technical marvels at Disney theme parks globally. His contributions include Madame Leota’s ability to float in the Séance Room at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, the cutting-edge extendable lightsaber featured in Disney Live Entertainment and the Magic Playfloor interactive game experience on Disney’s Cruise Line.

Over the years, Smoot has received countless awards and honors for his inventions with the Walt Disney Company and Disney Experiences. His interest in innovation and technology began after earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering at Columbia University, per Disney Parks. He later worked for Bells Lab and Bells Communication Research, where he specialized in the early development of video-on-demand technology, video conferencing and specialized television systems.

Smoot was excited to be recognized by the Walt Disney Company alongside a few of his “childhood heroes.”

“As a life-long inventor, I am excited, delighted, and humbled to be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame,” Smoot said. “To be included alongside my childhood hero, Thomas Edison, and my lifelong role model, Jim West — the inventor of the electret microphone, is both exciting and humbling. And as someone who’s had the privilege of working at The Walt Disney Company, it’s especially meaningful to know that Walt Disney himself is also an inductee.”

The National Inventors Hall of Fame will be held on Wednesday at Walt Disney Imagineering’s campus in Glendale, California.