Disney Research Fellow and Imagineer Lanny Smoot has been inducted into The National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Smoot is making history as the first Disney Imagineer to receive this honor. He’s also only the second Walt Disney Company employee since Walt Disney to earn the recognition.
During Smoot’s 45-year career, he has been a theatrical technology creator, inventor, electrical engineer, scientist, and researcher. The innovator has amassed a collection of over 100 patents, 74 of them created during his 25-year stint at the Walt Disney Company.
Before working at Disney, Smoot was talented.
After graduating with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Columbia University, Smoot developed multiple innovations, such as video-on-demand technology, video conferencing, and specialized television for remote locations, to name a few.
Smoot has been integral in creating some of the most technically advanced special effects at Disney theme parks and experiences. Some examples of these special effects include Madame Leota’s floating in the Séance Room at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, Disney Live Entertainment’s extendable lightsaber, the Magic Playfloor interactive game experience on the Disney Cruise Line, and the Fortress Explorations adventure at Tokyo DisneySea.
“As a life-long inventor, I am excited, delighted, and humbled to be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame,” Smoot told Disney Parks. “To be included alongside my childhood hero, Thomas Edison, and my lifelong role model, Jim West — the electret microphone inventor- is 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.”
Smoot’s accomplishments have earned him several awards and honors, including three Thea Awards from the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) for his work on attractions like Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Kim Possible: World Showcase Adventure, and the Ghost Post experience. In 2020, the creator earned the esteemed title of TEA Master for his extensive experience in theatrical technology.
With this Hall of Fame honor, Smoot continues to pioneer forward-thinking developments, hoping to reshape Disney one magical idea at a time.