March 3rd, 2024

Dick Nunis, who helped expand Disney’s theme park ambitions around the globe, dies at age 91

By The Associated Press on December 13, 2023.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Dick Nunis, who helped expand The Walt Disney Company’s in-person entertainment ambitions from a single theme park in California to locations around the world during a four-decade career with the entertainment giant, has died. He was 91.

Disney said in a statement Wednesday that Nunis died in Orlando, Florida, surrounded by family. It gave no cause of death.

Nunis began his career at Disney in 1955, training future employees of the soon-to-open Disneyland in Anaheim, California, alongside Walt Disney, who was the father-in-law of Nunis’ college friend, Ron Miller, an eventual company CEO. By the time Nunis retired in 1999 after 44 years at the company, he was chair of Walt Disney Attractions, overseeing a theme park empire that spanned around the world, from Florida to France to Japan.

“What started as a summer job training future Disneyland employees would ultimately become a storied 44-year career at Disney,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in the statement. “Dick took the values and philosophies he learned directly from Walt and incorporated them into everything he did at Disney.”

Nunis helped Disney open what would become the roughly 25,000-acre (10,000-hectare) theme park resort outside Orlando, Florida, known as Walt Disney World. He also consulted on plans for Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris while serving on the Walt Disney Productions Board of Directors.

Nunis is survived by his wife Mary, three children and six grandchildren.

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