Former Disney Imagineer, Bob Baranick, had plans in mind for a project called “Whirligig Woods” that closely resembled a theme park like Disney World. This was to be based in the Chapel Hill area of North Carolina, with 21 acres of bought land in Alamance County. Baranick says this of the project, “We’re not building Disney World, but we’re putting that kind of effort and quality into it.” The land was being described as a VIP experience, because it was small and tucked back into the woods.
But, with the lack of investors, the project started to fall apart. “I was dedicated to the project being a high-quality family experience. North Carolina and the local community deserves that. To build something less, with fewer funds, would not have been the right thing to do,” Baranick said. Yet, he stills holds out hope that he can one day bring something to North Carolina, or as he puts it, “a sincere family entertainment experience.” Until that day comes, he’s going to hold onto the land and protect the natural landscape.
Baranick helped with the design of Disneyland in California and Epcot in Walt Disney World. According to his website, he also helped in the designs of iconic attractions like The Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean. In an interview published last year, Baranick called his time of 15 years with Disney Imagineering a “short stint,” but had some of his proudest moments with them, “I had a short stint with Walt Disney Imagineering for close to 15 years. I feel privileged because I got to work on some really good things with them. It was neat being there during the Eisner-Wells “renaissance” where we really felt like the future was ahead of us. And we had all these fun things, and (Eisner and Wells) were very open to them. That’s how we were able to get Indiana Jones off the ground, that took several years of time while we were working on Disneyland Paris, which is probably something that I’m most proud of.”