We are saddened to share the news that Disney Legend Alice Davis has died at the age of 93. Best known for her work on audio-animatronic costumes as a Walt Disney Imagineer, Alice was inducted as a Disney Legend in 2004 and was a constant fixture on the Disney fan convention circuit.
A talented artist, film maker, and pioneer at Walt Disney Imagineering. Alice met her future husband when studying at the Chouinard Art Institute where he was an instructor. She began her career designing women’s lingerie and undergarments working for one of Hollywood’s biggest stores and then moved into fashion design with a keen eye for fabrics and an expert pattern maker.
Alice Davis Joins Disney
Her first work for Disney was designing a costume to be used in the filming of live-action reference footage for Briar Rose in the upcoming animated movie Sleeping Beauty. Her future husband Marc, who was animating Briar Rose, remembered her as a student and wanted her to create a specific pattern.
After that Alice worked on other live-action movies for Walt Disney before Walt recruited her for the Imagineering team who was working on projects for the 1964 World’s Fair, which included the it’s a small world attraction.
Davis famously did the costume drawings and cut the fabric patterns for “it’s a small world.” She was also instrumental in the costumes created for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” lifesize animatronics.
It was a new artform full of challenges. Just think about having to dress a figure with feet bolted to the floor. We recommend you google the story about the time Walt Disney was going through a mockup of the iconic auction scene in Pirates of the Caribbean and one of the pirates Davis was finishing up dressing had an inappropriate malfunction.
In her work at WDI, Davis helped create the forms and procedures that would ensure show quality costumes at all the Disney parks. It was also important to Davis that other women were recognized for their talents and included in projects at Imagineering.
Alice was married to animator and Imagineer Marc Davis for 44 years. Close friends say their marriage was the stuff of which great stories were written and their home looked like a museum with their mutual artwork and various items on display from their travels.
After much lobbying from fans inside and outside the company Alice was finally awarded a window on Main Street at Disneyland in May of 2012, right next to her husband’s.
A tremendous talent, genuinely caring person, and a pioneer in the world of movies and theme parks. Alice Davis will be cherished and loved by her fans for all time.