17 August 2021

Walt Disney World 50 for 50: McRivet

I have had some phenomenal opportunities in my life thanks to the Gazette. One of which is the ability to talk to people I really have no right to talk to for projects I had very little right to be on. One of those moments was during the time I was writing for Celebrations Magazine and was working on the history of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Submarine Voyage. For this piece I actually had the immense pleasure to speak with Imagineer George McGinnis.
He was brilliant, and funny, and I could have sat and listened to George’s stories for days. In all seriousness, we talked about the larger picture of Walt Disney World, he shared stories about other Imagineering legends, and got in to gritty little details of the attraction for me. I would have loved to pick his brain about Horizons, but I was trying to stay on topic for the brief time we had, and I never had another opportunity to speak with him. My favorite moment, however, came in an exchange where I had asked him about the limitations of building the attraction’s Nautilus submarines and in the middle of his response George provided what he probably thought was a throwaway detail about how he got his nickname, but which I found immensely wonderful.
George McGinnis: “As concept designer I had no limitations placed on me. But near the end of my effort, I heard a clue to my doing too much detail. Dick Irvine President of WED hailed me in the hall one day, ‘McGinnis are you glossing the goose over there.’ Meaning over at Roger Broggie's Engineering where Bob Gurr and I had our offices. Apparently, Roger had been talking with Dick.
“When I finished with the design, the project was handed to Bob to do the field supervision in Florida during construction. I was new and had no experience with field work. I made one trip to Florida on the subs to explain my drawings on rivet layout.

“Thereafter I was called McRivet.”

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