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Former Disney Executive Howard Roland Has Passed Away at 88

Howard Roland

Former Disney Executive Howard Roland, who had a role in the making of the original hotels at Walt Disney World, has died at age 88.

His Disney Career

Howard Roland was working for Sheraton Hotels in 1968 when he contacted Roy O. Disney about a job with the under construction Walt Disney World.

“Everything about the project was so interesting,” he recalled to the Disney Parks Blog. “I addressed the letter to Roy because it was the only name in the company I had.”

Roland was hired on by John Curry, Disney World’s first hotel executive, and was assigned the monumental task of bringing the iconic Contemporary Resort and Polynesian Village Resort to life.

Howard Roland
Roland (center) as the Big Bad Wolf at a Disney employee training and orientation, Disneyland 1969.

With detailed engineering plans from U.S. Steel Corporation and grand visions from WED Enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering) in hand, Hhe worked to make the designs a reality.

His early duties with the company also included acting as a liaison between Disney and U.S. Steel, a manufacturer for Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Roland worked on many other high-profile projects afterwards including the opening of EPCOT and Disneyland Paris.

When he retired from The Walt Disney Company in 1995, Roland was vice president of purchasing and construction contracts.

Howard Roland

Howard Roland was honored by the company with a Main Street window at Magic Kingdom, above Casey’s Corner restaurant and facing Cinderella Castle.

He is survived by his wife, three sons, and three grandchildren.