Roland Crump was honored in September 2004 with the Disney Legends Awards. This award recognizes outstanding individuals who have been instrumental in creating the magic of Disney films, TV, Imagineering, animation and music.

To get a handle on this spirited, multi-talented Disney designer, think: Leonardo DiVinci's Universal Man. A true original, even among Imagineers, Rolly drew forth genius in others. Concept designer John Horny observed, "Rolly has a knack for bringing out the best in others. Trusting their talent, he encourages artists to push their creativity to the limits. It's a rare creative person who can let others run with the ball." Show writer Jim Steinmeyer added, "The idea is king with Rolly. It doesn't have to be his vision, as long as it works."

Born in 1930 in Alhambra, CA, Rolly took a pay cut as a "dipper" in a ceramic factory to join Walt Disney Studios in 1952 with little more than six Saturdays of art instruction at Chouinard Art Institute. Intent on learning all aspects of the business, he took advantage of Disney's open-door policy, wandering into departments and observing the work of sculptors, animators and designers. During this time, Crump not only honed his artistic skills, but gained a strong belief in his own abilities. "Walt taught me to be confident about myself. I learned not to be intimidated by any project." To help pay his family's bills, he built sewer man holes on the weekends. He served as an in-between artist and later, assistant animator, contributing to Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, 101 Dalmations, Sleeping Beauty and others.

In 1959, he joined show design at Walt Disney Imagineering. There he became one of Walt's key designers for some of Disneyland's groundbreaking new attractions and shops, including The Haunted Mansion, Enchanted Tike Room and Adventureland Bazaar. Rolly served as key designer on the Disney attractions featured at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, including It's a Small World, for which he designed the Tower of the Four Winds marquee. "It still brings tears to my eyes when I see  people coming out with a smile. I am really proud of the fact that I was part of the team that built It's a Small World." When the attraction moved to Disneyland in 1966, Rolly designed the larger-than-life animated clock at the entrance, which sends puppet children on parade with each quarter-hour gong.

After contributing to the initial design of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida and developing story and set designs for NBC's Disney on Parade in 1970, Rolly left the Company to consult on projects including Busch Gardens in Florida and California, the ABC Wildlife Preserve in Maryland and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus World in Florida, among others.

He Returned in 1976 to contribute to EPCOT Center, serving as project designer for The Land and Wonders of Life pavilions. He also participated in master planning for an expansion of Disneyland until 1981, when he again departed to lead design on a proposed Cousteau Ocean Center in Norfolk, VA and to launch his own firm, the Mariposa Design Group, developing an array of themed projects around the world, including an international celebration for the country of Oman. His work included theme parks in Tokyo and the Gambling Hall of Fame in Las Vegas. He also designed restaurants in Denver.

Rolly Crump "retired" from The Walt Disney Company in 1996, but don't believe it. He's still breathing life into original ideas at his home in Fallbrook, CA. Even a quick glance around Rolly's home will tell you that you are looking at the living space of an artist. On walls painted in shades of terra cotta, yellow, green and blue hang Japanese kimonos, African masks and Oriental art. The library is dotted with his paintings of legendary entertainer Josephine Baker. In the TV room, an Indian canopy of vibrant hue and pattern covers the ceiling. Crump's home isn't a surprise when you consider his working life. Most of his days are spent tending to his 20-acre farm in Rainbow, making sure weeds are pulled and the avocado trees are well-watered during the summer. He continues to paint and sculpt papier-mâché figures and use his artistic expertise to benefit the local charity group Rally for Children.