Disney Legend Bob Mathieson passed away this morning from a brain hemorrhage. Bob, who started at Disneyland in 1960 as a sound coordinator, helped open WDW as top man in Operations. He retired as Executive VP of WDW in 1994. pic.twitter.com/uAoLkWMdTD
— David Koenig (@davekoenig) January 6, 2020
We’re sad to share the news that Disney Legend Bob Mathieson has passed away. A 1955 graduate of University of Southern California, Bob used his Telecommunications degree in radio until a friend lured him to Disney in 1960 where he started as a Sound Coordinator at Disneyland. The role worked with anything related to audio that came over the speakers in the park including attractions and area music.
Walt Disney personally selected Bob to manage the four attractions at the New York World’s Fair in 1964. In this new role, he had to work with New York personalities and train them to give guest service the Disney way. Having essentially lead the Disney operation on the East Coast, Bob returned to California with essential knowledge for Walt’s next big venture, “The Florida Project.”
In preparation for what would become Walt Disney World, Bob used Walt’s Colorado Celebrity Sports Center as a training ground for the Walt Disney World executive team. As Director of Operations for Walt Disney World, Bob Mathieson played a critical role in getting the resort up and running. To best prepare for the new resort, Bob created a relocation policy for the company for Cast Members being sent from Anaheim to Orlando, something Disney never had to consider before.
Bob quickly rose through the ranks at Walt Disney World assuming the position of Vice President of Operations in 1972, Vice President of both Magic Kingdom and Epcot in 1984, and Vice President of Walt Disney World in 1987. He retired from the company in 1994.
Bob Mathieson is celebrated with a window on Main Street, U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom that reads:
“Community Service Recruitment Center
Quality, Integrity & Dedication”
Inducted as a Disney Legend in 1996, Bob’s memory should be celebrated by any Cast Member who has ever worked at the Walt Disney World Resort and any Guest who has ever visited. Without the contributions and dedication of Bob Mathieson, Walt Disney World would not be the vacation destination we all know and love today.