SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t seen “Chapter 13,” you may want to avoid reading this post until after you’ve seen it.
UPDATE 12/1/2020: This post has been updated to include more of Wing T. Chao’s career highlights.
- Former Walt Disney Imagineering executive Wing T. Chao has a cameo appearance in The Mandalorian episode “Chapter 13,” which premiered today on Disney+.
- He became a Disney Legend in 2019 alongside Jon Favreau, the series creator of The Mandalorian.
- In his Disney Legend Awards acceptance speech (video below), Chao said: “My mother always wanted me to be a movie star. For years I’ve been hoping that Disney would make a kung-fu architect movie.”
- Earlier today, Mike Celestino published a review of the episode where he described a location in this episode as “A walled city right out of a samurai movie.”
- In “Chapter 13,” Wing T. Chao plays Governor Wing who tries to lead his people to safety from Magistrate Morgan Elsbeth’s rule.
- This episode marks the debut of Wing T. Chao’s acting career, credited with his full name Wing Tao Chao.
- See below for more information about Wing T. Chao’s incredible Disney career.
- The entire Laughing Place team congratulates Disney Legend Wing T. Chao on the fulfillment of another dream come true.
Wing T. Chao’s Disney Career Milestones:
- Wing was inspired by Walt Disney from a young age and made his first visit to Disneyland while studying architecture at University of California, Berkeley. Wing went on to receive his second masters degree program at Harvard, but had his sights set on a career with Disney.
- Over the course of 37-years at Disney, Wing T. Chao held several titles including Vice Chairman of Development for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Asia Pacific and Executive Vice President of Master Planning, Architecture & Design. In these roles, Chao oversaw the design and development of Disney's parks and resorts worldwide businesses worth over $12 billion dollars.
- As a master planner, Wing T. Chao’s desire to immerse Guests in Disney 24/7 included the implementation of uniquely Disney touches that continue to surprise and delight Guests to this day. When you notice a subtle character detail throughout a resort, you have Wing to thank for the smile on your face.
- Wing T. Chao always enjoyed collaborating with the talented in-house artists at Walt Disney Imagineering and world renowned architects including Frank Gehry, Robert Stern, Jaquelin Robertson, Michael Graves, Philip Johnson, César Pelli, Robert Venturi, Graham Gund, Charles Gwathmey, Robert Siegel, Antoine Predock, Peter Dominick, Helmut Jahn, Arata Isozaki, and Charles Moore.
- At the Walt Disney World Resort, Wing T. Chao contributed to the creation of the property including the Disney Marketplace (which grew into Disney Springs), Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (a AAA 4-Diamond recipient that has been replicated in Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong), Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and Disney Vacation Club properties.
- Resort destinations at the Disneyland Paris Resort helped Walt Disney Imagineering establish itself as a team of master architects with projects led by Chao that include The Disneyland Hotel, Newport Bay Club, Hotel Cheyenne, Hotel New York, Disney’s Sequoia Lodge, Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe, and the Disney Village.
- All four current Disney Cruise Line vessels were designed under Chao’s leadership: the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, and Disney Fantasy. The design of each ship is a tribute to the golden age of transatlantic voyages while also revolutionizing the way cruise ships are designed and built.
- Wing Chao oversaw the master planning of the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, including the theme park’s location and design and construction of its two resorts, the Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel.
- Other Disney destinations that include Wing T. Chao’s touches include the Disneyland Resort, Tokyo Disney Resort, Shanghai Disney Resort, and Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii.
- Residents of two beautifully planned communities, Celebration near Walt Disney World and Val d’ Europe near Disneyland Paris, enjoy the parks of living in award-winning planned communities thanks to Wing T. Chao and his team of designers.
- Cast Members also experience Chao’s work in exclusive buildings like Team Disney on the Burbank Studio Lot (with the Seven Dwarf columns) as well as Team Disney Anaheim, Team Disney Orlando, the Walt Disney World Casting Building, and Walt Disney Imagineering’s current headquarters in Glendale.
- To recap, Wing T. Chao’s leadership has impacted a total of 36,000 hotel rooms, 180 restaurants, 2 million square feet of retail space, 3 million square feet of entertainment space, 4 cruise ships, and more!
- In addition to being named a Disney Legend in 2019, Wing T. Chao has also been awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award by the American Institute of Architects, was named an honorary senior fellow by the Design Futures Council, the Legend Award by Contract magazine, the Pioneer Award from the Americas Lodging Investment Summit, and an honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management by Johnson & Wales University among others.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.