Ron Dominguez, a former executive vice president of Walt Disney Attractions whose family sold 10 acres of Anaheim property to Walt Disney that eventually became Disneyland in the 1950s, has died at the age of 85.
Dominguez died Friday, according to the D23 fan newsletter. No further details were released about his death, and no cause was given.
Dominguez’s family originally owned and lived on the orange grove-covered property that was purchased by Walt Disney for his theme park in 1954.
“Our house was located right about where the entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean and Cafe Orleans are today,” he once recalled, according to D23. “The day we moved out, in August of 1954, we were walking in ditches and holes. Things were popping up around us because construction had to move ahead. They built Disneyland in a year.”
A young Dominguez took a summer job as a ticket taker at the new theme park and later rose through the ranks to hold several managerial positions at Disneyland. In 1970, he was appointed director of operations. Four years later he was named vice president of Disneyland and chairman of the park operating committee, and in 1990 he was named executive vice president, Walt Disney Attractions, West Coast.
“We are saddened to have lost a very dear member of our family, Ron Dominguez,” said Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. “Ron’s contributions to Disneyland are nearly incalculable. He was well-known among the cast and community throughout his tenure at the park and continued to show his support long after his retirement, guiding and mentoring leaders, including me, for decades. I am personally grateful for all that he has done for Disney, and want to express my deepest condolences to his family on behalf of every Disney Parks cast member around the world.”
Dominguez, alternately known as “Mr. Disneyland” and a “native Disneylander” retired in August 1994 after 39 years with the company. In 2000, he was named a Disney Legend, and was given a window on Main Street, U.S.A. He attended 60th anniversary festivities for the Disneyland Resort in 2015.
His survivors include his wife of 41 years, Betty; three children from a previous marriage, Sheryl Ralston, Steve Dominguez and Ronald K. Dominguez Jr,; and several grandchildren.