What Do Lady Gaga and the Magic Kingdom Have In Common? Michael Curry

Like nearly every company in the world, the Disney Company does not directly control everything that goes into the goods and services it sells.

Disney doesn’t operate farms to create the wheat for flour that goes into Mickey waffles at Chef Mickey’s. Disney doesn’t manufacture the paper plates that serve up delicious chicken in Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café in Tomorrowland.

In the same way, Disney doesn’t create all the puppets you see in its shows and floats you see in its parades.

Sometimes, it hires outside experts to create these things.

The Magic of Outsourcing

Some of the most amazing and magical things you may have seen around Walt Disney World weren’t directly created by Disney Imagineers.

Here are some of the things you may have seen in the parks that Disney didn’t manufacture:

– Maleficent, the fire-breathing steampunk dragon in the Festival of Fantasy Parade at the Magic Kingdom

– Crush, the turtle in Finding Nemo – The Musical at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

– Puppets in the Tapestry of Nations at Epcot

In addition, Disney didn’t make many of the puppets and set pieces for Fantasmic! and World of Color at Disneyland, or The Golden Mickeys stage show on the Disney Dream cruise ship.

Yup, Disney didn’t manufacture any of these items.

Disney didn't manufacture Crush, the turtle puppet in Finding Nemo - The Musical.
Disney didn’t manufacture Crush, the turtle puppet in Finding Nemo – The Musical.

If Disney didn’t make these amazing creatures and props itself, who did?

Michael Curry.

Who’s That?

Michael Curry is a costume and puppet designer who owns and operates Michael Curry Design Inc., a firm located in Scappoose, Oregon. Curry operates out of a 55,000 square foot warehouse with 50 employees. Since 1986, Curry has created puppets and theatrical elements for many different organizations and performers, including the Metropolitan Opera, Cirque du Soleil, London’s Royal National Theatre, and of course the Walt Disney Company.

To Disney And Beyond

Curry has also worked on numerous opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics, as well as creating set pieces for many performers including Cher, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, and yes, even Lady Gaga.

Why would Disney get someone else to create these puppets, floats, and costumes instead of doing it themselves?

Disney didn't create the huge steampunk dragon in the Festival of Fantasy parade.
Disney didn’t create the huge steampunk dragon in the Festival of Fantasy parade.

Even an organization as large as the Walt Disney Company might have a hard time keeping a puppet designer busy full time. By using outside firms, Disney only needs to pay for new work when it really needs it. Disney can bring in the biggest talent on an as-needed basis. Angelina Jolie isn’t on the Disney payroll, but Disney did bring her on for a period of time to star in the live action 2014 film, Maleficent.

By pulling together world-class artists, designers, and technicians – even when they don’t directly work for the company – Disney is able to create the world-class entertainment we all enjoy.

Did you know that Disney doesn’t create everything you see in the parks?