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January 30

January 30, 1934 – Executive Vice President for Disney Parks and Disney Legend Bob Matheison is Born

BMatheison

“…Bob has created a rich legacy of quality, integrity, and dedication that will continue to benefit the Walt Disney World resort for many years to come.” – Attractions President Judson Green

On January 30, 1934, Bob Matheison was born in Portland, Oregon. He graduated from USC in 1955, majoring in telecommunications, and joined the Army after graduation. He worked at Fort Hood as the chief of the radio-television branch, which kicked off his career in radio broadcasting. In 1960, Matheison scored a job at Disney through a college friend, and became the sound coordinator for Disneyland; he soon worked his way up to become the manager of Guest Relations, assisting production of broadcasts from the park. In 1965, Walt Disney personally tapped Matheison to work with several attractions set to premiere at the 1965 World’s Fair; he would manage the it’s a small world attraction, along with supervising the technical staff for Magic Skyway, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, and the Carousel of Progress. In 1966, Matheison was named the head of the research and development team for the Florida Project (which would eventually become Walt Disney World). While working on this project, he also developed an extensive 13- week training program for executives of the park, which was the forerunner of the Disney Institute corporate training program. In 1969, he was named the director of operations for Disneyland, and took the title to Walt Disney World a year later when sent to set up the new parks operating plan. In 1972, Matheison was promoted to the vice president of operations; in 1984 he was promoted to vice president of Magic Kingdom and EPCOT; in 1987, he reached the position of executive vice president of Walt Disney World. In 1994, after 34 years with the company, Matheison retired. He was honored as a Disney Legend in 1996 for the many hats he wore during his tenure at Disney.

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