Walt Disney's right-hand man is in Sacramento for the weekend to chat with fans and sign copies of his recently released book.
During his 54-year career at Disney, Marty Sklar worked as a ghost writer for Walt Disney's personal items and was the lead concept designer for Disney Parks. As an Imagineer, Sklar helped design attractions like "It's a Small World" and parks like EPCOT Center and Disney's Animal Kingdom.
In his book Dream It! Do It! My Half-Century Creating Disney's Magic Kingdoms, Sklar talks about his career as an Imagineer and what it was like to work for Walt Disney. He said he also wanted dispel some rumors that have been circulating about Walt Disney over the years.
The VIP reception Friday night was packed with Disney fans. During the "fireside chat," Sklar talked about the core values of the company that has kept it a success.
"Optimism, Walt was the most optimistic person, we don't have enough of that," Sklar said. "There are too many people that say you can't do that, and we were never able to say no to Walt. He was always a risk taker and always willing to take a chance and we all had to work that way."
Sklar's first job with Disney was to create the Main Street newspaper.
"I went to work two weeks before the park opened and within a month I had to present the concept to Walt himself," Sklar said. "I was 21, hadn't graduated yet and was scared as hell."
Sklar then went on with a small group of Imagineers to create and improve every attraction at the park
"Everybody always worked on everything, but the first one I can remember working on was the 'Enchanted Tiki Room,'" Sklar said.
Sklar will be at Stage Nine Entertainment and Design in Old Sacramento on Saturday from Noon to 4 p.m. to sign books. He was brought to town at the invitation of Doug Lipp, another Disney veteran and author who consults businesses on the Disney way of employee training. Lipp will also be signing copies of his book Disney U.
Fans will also be able to check out some Disney art at the event.