He retired in 1994. He was inducted into Disney’s “Legends” ranks in 1999. And on this Christmas Eve, at age 93, Charlie Ridgway ascended to the happiest place beyond earth.

He helped coordinate media coverage of the opening of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in 1971, along with the openings of Epcot, what is now Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. For more than 40 years, if you were in the media and covered Disney, you knew Ridgway and his unmatched personality.

From staging the last photograph of Walt at Disneyland to directing the October 15, 1971 LIFE magazine cover showcasing the entire Magic Kingdom Cast, Charlie’s efforts have found their way into countless newspapers, journals, books, and photo prints. Charlie’s publicity work surrounding the openings of EPCOT Center, Disney-MGM Studios, Disneyland Paris, and other parks around the globe have been nothing short of legendary. He will be missed!

photos: © Disney Parks

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