The longtime Windermere resident was handpicked by Walt to take several attractions to the New York World’s Fair. He later helped bring the Disney magic to Florida.
Bob Matheison was legendary with The Walt Disney World Company, long before he officially received the Disney Legends Award, given to employees who have made a significant impact on the company legacy. Matheison — who left his own legacy with the company during his 34 years of service — died Sunday, Jan. 5, at the age of 85.
Matheison started his career with The Walt Disney Company in 1960 when he was offered a job as sound coordinator at Disneyland in California. In 1965, he was selected by Mr. Disney to be part of the team that took It’s a Small World, Magic Skyway, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and the Carousel of Progress to the New York World’s Fair.
During his 34 years with Disney, Matheison worked in many different departments and steadily rose through the company’s ranks.
After heading the research and development team in California for a new theme park in Orlando called Walt Disney World, Matheison and his family moved to Central Florida. He received several promotions; in 1987, he was named executive vice president of parks for Walt Disney World.
He retired in 1994 after 34 years with The Walt Disney Company.
Outside of Disney, Matheison served as president of the Florida Citrus Sports Association and director of the Orlando Area Chamber of Commerce. For years, it was his voice that announced all the plays at the Warrior home football games at West Orange High School, in Winter Garden.
He leaves behind a wife, three children and 10 grandchildren.