Three visitor attraction veterans – Tony Baxter, Greg Hale and Mats Wedin
– have been inducted into the IAAPA Hall of Fame, regarded as the highest and most prestigious honour in the industry.
Tony Baxter started his career in 1965 as an ice cream scooper at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
In 1970, he became a Disney Imagineer and assisted in the opening of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Snow White’s Adventure attractions at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
He was also instrumental in creating the master plan development for Disneyland Paris and a number of individual, groundbreaking Disney attractions, such as Star Tours, which is based on the Star Wars movie franchise. He was also creatively involved in several pavilions at EPCOT.
When he retired in 2013, he was named a “Disney Legend” and the company honoured his career and work by dedicating a stained glass window on Main Street, U.S.A. that same year.
Another Disney veteran, Greg Hale joined Walt Disney World as manager of electrical and electronics engineering, beginning a three-decade career that has had a lasting impact on amusement ride safety around the world.
In 2002, Greg became the first vice president and chief safety officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and today continues to lead a global team of ride design, operations, and maintenance professionals focused on innovation, safety, and accessibility for guests around the world.
He is a prolific inventor, and his name is on more than 80 patents worldwide, including the innovative Disney FASTPASS service.
Recognised as one of Europe's theme park visionaries, Mats Wedin entered the attractions industry in 1988, while looking for a new professional challenge.
He joined Liseberg amusement park in Gothenburg and, within five years, he was promoted to CEO.
Under his leadership and guidance, the park added innovative rides and attractions that transformed the guest experience.
Wedin also became a global ambassador for the industry, chairing the IAAPA International Council and helping to lead the evolution of IAAPA Expo Europe (formerly the Euro Attractions Show) and expanding IAAPA’s presence in Europe.
The trio were inducted into the Hall of Fame during IAAPA's Virtual Education Conference this month.
“The IAAPA Hall of Fame celebrates industry-changing leaders and we are proud to induct these leading edge innovators into the Hall,” said Michael Collins, 2020 chair of the IAAPA Hall of Fame and Archives Committee and, senior partner, Leisure Development Partners.
“Tony Baxter, Greg Hale and Mats Wedin are inspiring examples to everyone in the industry. They embody the ingenuity, creativity, passion, and leadership the attractions industry is known for and their contributions leave a lasting legacy,” said Collins.