Disney Legend and former chairman of Disney International Jim Cora has passed away at the age of 83, according to the Orange County Register.

  • Cora passed away on Sunday, March 21 after a brief hospitalization at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange.
  • He began his Disney career at Disneyland in 1957, where he served as a part-time attractions host polishing 3D glasses at the Mickey Mouse Club Theater.
  • Cora credits Walt Disney for the rise in his career as the company’s founder promoted him into a training and development role.
  • Cora implemented the “Disney Way of Leadership” program at the Magic Kingdom with the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971.
  • He was later named director of operations for Tokyo Disneyland after the opening of the park in 1983, before being promoted to Vice President of Walt Disney Productions Japan.
  • Cora would later handle the master planning and site research for Euro Disneyland, now known as Disneyland Paris.
  • In the 90s, Cora handled creative direction for Tokyo DisneySea and went on to retire as chairman of Disney International in 2001, after 43 years with the company.
  • He was then named a Disney Legend in 2005.
  • In his retirement, Cora volunteered with Taller San Jose Hope Builders and served on the board of directors of St. Joseph Hospital in Orange.
  • Cora’s memoir, “Not Just a Walk in the Park: My Worldwide Disney Resorts Career,” will be published later this year.
  • He is survived by his wife, daughter and her husband, son and his wife, two grandchildren and his brother and sister.

What they’re saying:

  • Disney Parks chairman and former Disneyland resort president Josh D’Amaro: “Very few people have a Disney legacy that reaches as far and wide as Jim Cora. His dedication to bringing Disney magic to people around the world was only matched by the passion he exuded throughout his career and for the many years that followed. I always loved hearing Jim’s thoughts about our business. He was one of our last connections to Walt Disney and he will be missed dearly.”
  • Cora’s son, Jim: “As I talk to his colleagues and friends, I’m finding that so many people are telling me, ‘He was like a dad to me, too.’”