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Meet the Disney female trailblazers behind some of your favorite attractions

"Women have always been a driving force behind many of our most treasured theme park experiences," Disney Parks wrote in its blog.
Credit: Disney

ORLANDO, Fla. — Some of the pioneers behind your favorite Disney rides and attractions were women making a name for themselves at a time when the workforce was heavily male-driven. 

For Women's History Month Disney paid tribute to their efforts saying, "women have always been a driving force behind many of our most treasured theme park experiences."

Each woman is considered a trailblazer "who shaped the theme park industry and paved the way for the women and girls who followed in their footsteps," according to the Disney Parks Blog.

We're taking a look at the contributions of six "Women Behind the Magic" that worked to bring the Disney theme parks we know today to life.

Mary Blair

Blair got her start with Disney in the 1940s where she contributed to the company's theme park and film industry. According to Disney, her work served as a "catalyst" due to its ability to bring modern art to life. 

Her eye for color and innovation shaped the business for three decades and helped spark one of the theme park giant's most iconic attractions, "It's a Small World."

Disney says her "childlike art style" and design were the force behind the attraction's appearance in the 1964-65 New York World's Fair.

"Walt personally chose Mary for her natural artistic abilities along with her whimsical eye to conceptualize the attraction, and her love for playful colors and shapes made her the perfect choice," Disney Parks wrote in its blog.

Blair's other contributions can be seen in murals, attractions and exhibits spanning the parks in California and Florida.

Credit: Disney

Harriet Burns

Burns was the first woman hired by WED Enterprises, now known as Walt Disney Imagineering, to design and build some of Disneyland and Disney World's original attractions. 

She worked alongside her male counterparts wielding saws, lathes and sanders while maintaining, the now outdated, dress requirements for women. According to Disney, Burns was expected to wear fully styled heels and dresses daily. 

The attractions she helped bring to life include Sleeping Beauty Castle, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Pirates of the Caribbean, Carousel of Progress and the Haunted Mansion.

Burns is also credited with designing the first attraction in Disney's history to feature audio-animatronics technology when she designed the singing birds of "Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room," according to the theme park.

Credit: Disney

Alice Davis 

Recruited at the New York World's Fair to help bring Disney attractions to life, Davis made her mark when it came to the styling and costuming of "fan-favorite" animatronics. 

According to Disney, during her time with the company, she was the "brains and vision" behind more than 150 costumes for the audio-animatronic children in "It's a Small World."

She also worked on figures used in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

Credit: Disney

Dorothea Redmond

Redmond joined Disney in 1964 as a painter and illustrator. Her interior and exterior designs helped bring the Red Wagon Inn Restaurant, Fantasyland, Adventureland, and the restaurants and shops in New Orleans Square to life. 

Disney also added that her original drawings for an in-park residence for Walt Disney to host visiting dignitaries were used for inspiration in the creation of 21 Royal in its California park. 

Credit: Disney

Doris Woodward

Ever travel around EPCOT's World Showcase pavilion? You can thank Woodward for that. 

Disney says the designer and art producer joined its team in 1979 where her "visionary perspective" and "creative candor" helped several of the country pavilions become a reality. 

She also lent her expertise to Disney's Animal Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and the Shanghai Disney Resort.

Credit: Disney

Kathy Mangum

Getting her start working in merchandise as a college student at Disneyland, Mangum grew to become an Imagineer that helped transform Disney parks all across the globe.

Her list of projects includes various work on Seas with Nemo and Friends, Typhoon Lagoon, Disney's Blizzard Beach, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and Carsland.

Magnum spent her final years with the theme park overseeing the creative portfolios and strategies for major Disney staples before retiring, according to Disney. 

Credit: Disney

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