How would you like to live at Disneyland? Sounds pretty enticing, doesn’t it? Well, many moons ago, Mr. Ron Dominguez did just that. This is the exciting and unusual story of “Mr. Disneyland.”

The name Ron Dominguez may not ring a bell. Yet, he is a Disney Legend, both literally and figuratively. His sudden passing on January 1, 2021, has left a hole in the hearts of true Disneyland fans, far and wide. On a positive note, it has sparked a resurgence and has helped to bring his name into the limelight once more.

Known to many as “Mr. Disneyland,” Ron Dominguez spent over 30 years working for The Walt Disney Company until he finally retired in 1994. However, his journey with Disneyland started long before his tenure with the company. In fact, his journey with Disneyland began before Walt ever dreamed up the happiest place on earth!


Ron Dominguez’s maternal grandparents moved to Orange County in 1884, where his mother, Laura was born in Anaheim in 1898.


Born August 10, 1935, Ron Dominguez and his family lived on the property that would someday become Disneyland. The family inherited it from Ron’s grandfather.

Pablo Dominguez Jr., Ron’s grandfather, was the son of Pablo Dominguez and Felipa Yorba (granddaughter of Don Bernardo Yorba, one of the wealthiest and best-known of the Yorba family). Widowed in 1895 with five children, Felipa Yorba-Dominguez continued to farm the family rancho and died in 1944 at age 92.

Throughout his childhood, Ron Dominguez attended Anaheim High School and the University of Arizona, where he studied business administration.


The Dominguez residence was originally located directly across from where Pirates of the Caribbean and Cafe Orleans are situated today.

Walt Disney purchased the Dominguez’s home and orange grove, along with land owned by several other families. In order to make way for Disneyland, the Dominguez family moved out in August 1954. Due to the massive contraction that surrounded them, their departure left them walking in and out of ditches and holes!

Later that year the Dominguez home was transported backstage (between Main Street, U.S.A. and Tomorrowland, which is now present-day New Orleans Square) to operate as administrative offices.


You know the saying, “You can never go home?” Well, apparently those rules do not apply when it comes to Ron Dominguez. In fact, he not only went home… he worked there, too!

Four days prior to the opening of Disneyland, Dominguez was hired as a Disneyland ticket taker. Within just one year, he had worked on every attraction and was named temporary supervisor of Main Street, U.S.A.

Funnily enough, he even worked as an actor, portraying the infamous role of Davy Crockett on the Keel Boats. Donning a coonskin cap and all, he was one of the most sought-after photo opportunities within the entire park. However, he was a bit adverse to the attention and he eventually requested to be transferred. Nevertheless, it would be just one more notch upon his Disneyland Cast Member belt. Soon, he would prove there was no Matterhorn Mountain he could not climb!


In 1957, Dominguez was promoted to the Assistant Supervisor of Frontierland, followed by Supervisor of Adventureland.


In 1962, he was the manager of Tomorrowland, eventually moving on to manage the entire West Side of Disneyland. He continued to make a lasting impression on all of his superiors and worked his way up the ranks.


In 1970, Ron was appointed Director of Operations.


In 1974, he was named Vice President of Disneyland and Chairman of the Park Operating Committee.


Dominguez became Executive Vice President of Walt Disney Attractions, West Coast, in 1990. His remarkable relationship with the City of Anaheim is credited with paving the way for Disney California Adventure.


Finally, after a spectacular 39-year career with The Walt Disney Company, Ron hangs up his Mickey Ears and humbly retires.

In honour of his retirement, there was even a Ron Dominguez coin. This particular coin was pressed in advance, on zinc cents, for distribution at his retirement event. For a limited time only, coins could be pressed backstage by Cast Members.

Also given to guests of Mr Dominguez’s Retirement in honour of his membership, an homage to The Order of the Red Handkerchief.


Alas, retirement could not keep him away from his childhood grounds. In 2015, Dominguez was honoured during a pre-parade cavalcade at Disneyland.


He was also given a window on Main Street, U.S.A., one of Disney’s absolute highest honours! His name appears in an array of several Disney greats, such as Roger Broggie, Tony Baxter, The Sherman Brothers, Rolland (Rolly) Crump, Marc and Alice David, Fess Parker, and Elias Disney.


Sadly, on January 1st, 2001, Ron Dominguez passed away.

According to the Disneyland Alumni Club Facebook post, Dominguez is survived by his wife, Betty, and three children from a previous marriage, Sheryl Ralston, Steve Dominguez and Ronald K. Dominguez Jr, as well as his grandchildren.


Ron was known for being friendly, a real people person, and a natural-born leader. He could often be found taking time out of his busy day to guide a fellow Cast Member or assist in shaping up-and-coming leaders. Throughout his lifetime, he dedicated countless hours of service to local organizations, a true testament to his good nature and love of his hometown.

“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 in a statement to D23. “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.”

Despite my somewhat obsessive knowledge of The Walt Disney Company’s history, Ron Dominguez’s remarkably impressive story is one that I had not been familiar with prior to his passing. While we respectfully know very little about him, we cannot ignore his great contribution to a place we hold so near and dear to our hearts. If not for the hard work and dedication of Disneyland’s original Cast Members, we would not have the gold-standard parks we have come to know and love today.

In addition, I would be remiss if I did not point out the following fact. Ron climbed up the ranks throughout his entire career, not unlike Rolly Crump, Tony Baxter and several other Disney Legends before him. There is something so “rags to riches” and classic “Americana” about that, don’t you agree? It gives others faith that no matter how humble or merger their beginnings may be, “if you can dream it, you can achieve it.” This endless possibility is baked into the very fibre of Disology. It is part of what makes just the thought of it so overwhelmingly inspiring.

I have always believed that Walt, despite his untimely passing, continues to inhabit Disneyland after all these years. You can just imagine his kind yet gimlet eyes gazing over the park as guests arrive and depart, seasons come and go, and Imagineers dream up new experiences for ladies, gentlemen, and children of all ages. It’s comforting to know that the founder of the feast is somehow, someway, still seated at the head of the table. Now, I would like to add “Mr. Disneyland” to that star-studded lineup of angels that keep an eye out from up above the happiest place on earth.