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Disney Legend Carl Bongirno Passes Away at Age 86

Carl Bongirno

Disney Legend Carl Bongirno, a financial leader throughout Disney Parks history, has passed away on March 5, 2024, at age 86.

His Disney Career

Born in Pueblo, Colorado, in 1937, Bongirno held multiple degrees in business and accounting, and joined The Walt Disney Company as a chief accountant and controller for what was then the Disney-owned Celebrity Sports Center in Denver in 1963.

Later, his first step into the worlds of the Disney Parks was a four-year stint as a treasurer for WED Enterprises (now known as Walt Disney Imagineering)..

Bongirno was part of the highly secretive “Project X,” which would later become the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

“We bought 30,000 acres without anyone knowing,” Bongirno told his hometown newspaper, The Pueblo Chieftain. “Our people went there under assumed names and would take indirect flights.”

Carl Bongirno

A year after Walt Disney World opened to the public in 1971, Bongirno became vice president of finance and treasurer of the resort.

He was not only responsible for all financial matters, but he also had overall responsibility for all service activities, including wardrobe, warehousing, transportation, laundry, and even the Disney telephone company.

During his time with The Walt Disney Company, Bongirno served as the President of WED/MAPO during the design and construction of both EPCOT and Tokyo Disneyland.

The two parks opened within six months of each other – EPCOT on Oct. 1, 1982 and Tokyo Disneyland on April 13, 1983.

Carl Bongirno

Bongirno stepped back from business activities, due to health reasons in September 1987, and served for a couple of years as a special adviser to Walt Disney Imagineering.

He retired from The Walt Disney Company in late June 1989, and in 2007, he was named a Disney Legend.

Bongirno is survived by his children, Cara (Bret) Griebenow and Chris (Tiffany) Bongirno; and grandchildren, Ryan, Anthony, and Jordan.