Harrison “Buzz” Price, the research economist who conducted thousands of feasibility studies for theme parks, museums and zoos – including Disneyland – passed away on August 15 at the age of 89.
Price, an engineering graduate of California Institute of Technology, joined Stanford Research Institute after receiving his Masters in Business Administration from Stanford University. He became recognised as the pioneer in the field of theme parks, resort and leisure-recreation project feasibility almost from the day in 1953 that Walt and Roy O Disney chose him “to determine the economic feasibility of the best location a new project.” That project was, of course, Disneyland in California.
Encouraged by Walt, Price formed Economics Research Associates (ERA) in 1958. Ultimately, he conducted 150 studies for the Walt Disney Company, including site and feasibility analysis for Walt Disney World in Florida and Tokyo Disneyland, plus over 3,000 projects for other clients.
“Buzz was the father of our industry of economic consulting,” notes Ray Braun, entertainment practice leader for AECOM Economics (formerly ERA). “He invented the science. He was mentor to me and many of us in this practice. He set the course and paved the way for us.”
After selling ERA in 1969, most of Price’s projects were under the aegis of his own Harrison Price Company, including studies for eight World’s Fairs, Sea World, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios, Six Flags, numerous museums, zoos and many international projects
Born May 17, 1921 in Oregon City, Oregon, Buzz Price grew up in Southern California, graduating from San Bernardino High School before receiving his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cal Tech, and his MBA at Stanford. While attending Cal Tech, he met his future wife, Anne Shaw, who was attending Pomona College. They were married in 1944.
Buzz is survived his wife Anne, four children, nine grandchildren, two great grandchildren and his sister.