Jack Lindquist, the first president of Disneyland, has passed away. He was 89.
Lindquist joined Disney in 1955 and spent his entire career working for the Walt Disney Company. He came to work to help Disneyland as the advertising manager two months after the park opened. He continued to work with advertising for the next 38 years at Disney. In this capacity he helped create Disney dollars, grad nights, anniversary events, New Years Eve events, commercial tie ins, and so much more. He also championed the development of a second Disney theme park in Anaheim.
In 1990, Jack Lindquist was named the first Disneyland president. He continued in this capacity until his retirement in 1993. After his retirement he was honored as a Disney Legend and also a window on Main Street, USA at Disneyland reads J.B. Lindquist, Honorary Mayor of Disneyland. Visit Toontown and find a Jack-O-Lantern with his likeness in the yard of Goofy’s Playhouse.
Lindquist chronicled his years working for Disney in his memoir, In Service To The Mouse: A Memoir by Jack Lindquist.
Here is his bio from his Disney Legends page:
Jack Lindquist was hired by Walt Disney as Disneyland’s first advertising manager, and eventually played a key role in making the Park a world-famous tourist attraction. From marketing the original “E tickets” to lobbying for Disneyland’s millennial expansion, Jack was involved in nearly every aspect of the theme park.
Known for his relatively hands-off management style, Jack was among the most beloved of Park executives. As Disneyland’s former executive vice president Ron Dominquez once said, “Jack is Jack, no matter where he is or what he is doing. He respects people. He goes out of his way not to be set up on a pedestal.”
Born in Chicago on March 15, 1927, Jack’s family moved to Los Angeles when he was four. A child actor, he appeared as an extra in episodes of the Our Gang series, and, later, danced in the Lucille Ball film Best Foot Forward. After graduating from Hollywood High School, Jack spent two years in the U.S. Air Force and then completed his education at the University of Southern California.
In 1955, while working for a Los Angeles advertising firm, Jack acted as a consultant to one of Disneyland’s original corporate participants. During a meeting at the Park prior to its opening, Jack “fell in love with the place.” One month later, he was working there.
Jack took his first step up the Disneyland corporate ladder in 1965, when he became director of marketing. He later set the course for marketing Walt Disney World and, in 1972, was named vice president of marketing for Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Four years later, he was named vice president of marketing for Walt Disney Attractions; in 1982, he was again promoted to executive vice president of marketing and entertainment for all of the Company’s outdoor recreation activities.
Jack went on to set up the Marketing Division for Tokyo Disneyland, and as executive vice president of creative marketing concepts for Walt Disney Attractions he developed promotional and entertainment ideas for Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. In 1990, Jack was named president of Disneyland, a position he called “the best job in the world!”
During his 38 years with the company, he spearheaded myriad Disney projects, including Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom Club, Disney Dollars, the Disneyland Pigskin Classic, the Ambassador Program, and Grad Nites. He also lobbied for expansion of Disneyland, and the development of a second theme park for Disneyland Resort.
Jack Lindquist retired on Mickey Mouse’s 65th birthday, November 18, 1993. A month later, he was honored with a window on Main Street, which reads, “J.B. Lindquist, Honorary Mayor of Disneyland.” Jack published his memoir, In Service to the Mouse, in 2010.