ALICE ESTES DAVIS

SHE DEVELOPED COSTUMES FOR Walt Disney. She was employed to develop costumes for films, television, and theme parks.


Alice Estes Davis (born March 26, 1929) is an American costume designer. She is most famous for her work with Walt Disney, who employed her to develop costumes for films, television, and theme parks.[1] She was married to Marc Davis, a Disney animator and Imagineer. Alice was named a Disney Legend in 2004.


In 1963, Walt came to Alice with a rather novel assignment – assisting artist Mary Blair in designing the costumes for the Audio-Animatronic children of Walt's 1964/1965 New York World's Fair attraction "it's a small world". Alice researched the different cultures and regions being represented and translated the attire customs into over 150 different costumes. [3] Her other work for the Fair included the period-specific costumes for the General Electric Carousel of Progress.

During the "small world" project, Alice established an AA figure costume manufacturing area, quality control system, and refurbishing techniques at WED Enterprises in Glendale, California. These systems and techniques are still used today by Imagineers and maintenance staff at the Disney theme parks worldwide.

In 1965, Alice says she "went from sweet little children to dirty old men overnight". Walt assigned her to create the costumes for the AA characters that would inhabit the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. Alice created 47 different costumes – each one period-specific to the 17th and 18th centuries but still had a "Disney flair" to them. Pirates of the Caribbean opened in 1967 and remains a Disney theme park favorite to this day. Because of her versatility, she also designed the costumes for the Mission Control AA figures in the revamped Flight to the Moon attraction the same year as Pirates.

Following Marc's lead, Alice retired from WED in 1978, but still consults on various projects for The Walt Disney Company, such as Pixar's "Up". In order to solve a central question of that film, "What are the most important things in life? – the "Up" filmmaking team turned to their oldest acquaintances and relatives, mining their memories for stories. The influences included the legendary Disney animator Joe Grant (who died in 2005) and Disney costume designer Alice Davis."[4] She also makes appearances at Disney-related events and fan meet-and-greets.

Her marriage to Marc ended with his death in 2000.