Beloved Grand Floridian Greeter Richard Gerth Has Passed Away

This post may contain affiliate links; please read the disclosure for more information.

Richard Gerth, famous Disney cast member of the Grand Floridian, passed early this morning. He was 92.

Mr. Gerth greeted guests and assisted over 3,500 brides at the resort since 1991. In 2013, Richard was presented with the Walt Disney Legacy Award – the highest award any Disney cast member can receive.

“I went over to casting with a number the Grand gave me,” Richard recollected in an interview with the Disney Vacation Club about starting his career. “She put it in the computer and said, “Richard, you got the job.” I never filled out an application.”

For almost 30 years, Richard interacted with guests and, to some, became as much an important stop as Splash Mountain or Spaceship Earth. Some families would come by with their children and take a picture every year to show how they’d grown in comparison to Gerth.

“The children are now coming to think I’m a grandfather,” said Richard. “Your whole life is built on how you act to other people. I’m overjoyed every time I come here (the Grand).”

Please share your memories of Richard in the comments below.

(C) Nathan and Jensey Root of Root Photography – www.rootweddings.com
(C) Disney

Note: Header image (C) Kristi Woody – @waltkristiworld

I don’t know about you, but there are times when planning a Disney vacation can be overwhelming! There are so many options, where to stay, when to go, is this the best price. So, I want to introduce you all to Cindy Minor and the team at Small World Big Fun. They will help you plan your Disney vacation for FREE. Contact them today!

About the author

Nathan Hartman

A sunshine state resident, Nathan is an avid Disney parks wonk as well as a university film professor.

Twitter: @somestuffisaid

57 Comments

Click here to post a comment
  • Richard was the “face” of the Grand Floridian and Disney! He was always welcoming and our stays at the Grand was not complete without seeing him. May he rest in peace! WDW should dedicate a memorial plaque or statue in his honor in front of the GF.

  • My kids have grown up with him being at the Grand. What a wonderful man. They need a statue of him outside. He will always represent The friendliness of the Grand Floridian.

  • Man, that is sad. Richard was the kindest guy and was a prime example of what a Cast Member could and should be. Never stayed at the resort, but every time we ate there or stopped by, we always got to talk to him. He was like everyone’s grandad. I also always forgot to take a picture with him until just a few months ago, I got one. I’m glad I did. Rest in Peace, good sir.

  • What a lovely man, he always commented on my husband and I holding hands saying how he loved to see couples holding hands.

  • Richard would come out and cheer for us at the marathon every year. He was such a joy. He is Disney World <3

  • The absolute epitome of a WDW cast member. Only met him when we went to the GF for a meal. What a gent – welcomed us in and asked how we’d enjoyed our meal on the way out. Don’t worry though, i’m sure St Peter will be wanting you to help him out with the M&G duties at the pearly gates.

  • Richard you will be sadly missed. My grown kids remember you from this time they was very small. I am sure the Grand Floridian cast members are all morning your loss today.

  • Richard’s GRAND soul brought so much personality to the Grand Floridian, he will be irreplaceable. Please consider placing a statue of him out front? I just suggested that Wolfeboro, NH do this as well. My only consolation is hoping that he is reunited with his wife as I recall he missed her terribly. We should all aspire to be more like Richard!

  • We are very sad to hear of the passing of dear Richard Gerth of the Grand Floridian. The two times we stayed there, Richard was there to greet us and take pics and give us advice. It was like visiting family! He defined what the Grand Floridian was all about by his gracious and friendly manner! He will be sorely missed. Prayers and condolences to his family and also for all of us his heartbroken friends. Godspeed Richard…..💔

    • I agree, Disney icon. I knew I was “home”‘ seeing his smiling face when coming to the Grand first as a child, then throughout the years into adulthood with my own children. He served his 40+ years as a cast member exceptionally well.

  • We had the honor to meet Mr Gerth at the Grand Floridian. He made you feel like the most important person he has ever met! Such wonderful and outstanding gentleman. Our condolences to his family, friends and all who cherished his genuine and true acts kindness and love.

  • RIP and God bless you Richard Gerth…You embodied what’s great about Walt Disney World and left a wonderful legacy for others to follow!

  • We have known Richard since 1984 when we first visited WDW. We have been back 27 times and we always have to look for him on every trip. He WILL be missed.

  • For me, Richard was a highlight of my yearly vacations.
    Recently, we had spoken about bringing back the “roasted chestnuts” tradition for The Grand.
    I will dearly miss his smile and welcoming personality.
    G-d Bless you Richard

  • My mother and always made sure to stop and say hello to him everytime we visited. Such a sweet man with a smile for everyone will truly be missed.. walking into the grand will never be the same. I love the idea of a statue of him

  • RIP Mr Richard!!! We loved seeing you, and we’ll see you again one day!! 💜🙏💜

  • We stay at the Grand Floridian every year and see Richard when we are there. This is so very sad to hear he passed away. May he be in eternal peace. :(

  • I was luckily enough to have Richard help me on my wedding day in 2013. Truly one of the highlights from my day. I’ll miss seeing him when we visit the Grand.

  • Ruchard was always the high light of our trips to Disney World over the past 30 years. Heaven has just received the best angel greeter for those who will enter heavens doors. Rest in peace Mr. Richard. Grand Floridian won’t be the same without you😇

  • Richard and my Mom were great friends when she worked in fashion, at the Grand. Mom has been gone 14 years now but I always tried to greet Richard when I was at the Grand, he was a good man with a great smile! RIP

  • Richard carried the train of my wedding dress 17 years ago. He had to follow me around all afternoon for so many pictures. We were so fortunate to get to see him 3 years ago again when he greeting guests at the Grand Floridian when we checked in. He was a wonderful man and so sad to not be able to see him when we travel back.

  • Several tears shed today at this loss. My 6yo daughter said it best, “It just won’t be the same visiting without him.”

    • Thank you Richard for the story you shared with me how your Dream came True working for Disney, and I shared with him my dream that I made at the Wishes Fireworks and asked if he thought it would come true ? And Richard’s reply was “ I believe it will but you have to believe my dear and pray about it “. And so,I did and just 1 year later my Dream Came True of moving to Orlando , Florida! 🌴 I went back to see him to tell him the great news! And he said, “ I told you , you must believe this is Disney World where Dreams come True”!! Rest In Peace , dear Richard. God Bless you! MRW

  • We were so happy to stop and see Richard. We took pictures with him and hugged him gently. He was old school Disney at its best. God Bless you Richard. Thank you for sharing and smiling with us. Pennsylvania family.

  • Thank you Richard for the story you shared with me how your Dream came True working for Disney, and I shared with him my dream that I made at the Wishes Fireworks and asked if he thought it would come true ? And Richard’s reply was “ I believe it will but you have to believe my dear and pray about it “. And so,I did and just 1 year later my Dream Came True of moving to Orlando , Florida! 🌴 I went back to see him to tell him the great news! And he said, “ I told you , you must believe this is Disney World where Dreams come True”!! Rest In Peace , dear Richard. Maureen

  • A true gentleman, always made it a point to stop and say hello to Richard, he will be missed.

  • Richard was such a lovely man, he help my wife when we got married at the Grand Floridian, and we was lucky fir our two daughters two meet him when they we 4 and 8. RIP and say hello to Walt

  • Richard was an amazing, and funny guy. Every time I would go to the grand floridian he would always greet us and tell my kids many jokes. God bless him.

  • Our family met him for the first time this year when we stayed at the Grand Floridian. A true gentleman! May he enjoy eternal rest and peace in the Happiest Place Ever!!

  • I am sad to hear of Richards passing, I was in Disney several years ago and had dinner at the hotel and Richard was off and I was disappointed because all the great conversations we have had on all my other visits to the Grand Floridian.I really hope that with all the great comments and memorys’ that everyone has posted ,that WDW will place a bronze statue in front of Richard so he may continue to greet everyone that comes to the hotel.

  • I remember Richard when I worked at the Grand Floridian. He always waved and had a smile. If you were having a rough day, his smile would change my day. He will certainly be missed!!

  • My family and I had the honor of meeting him last September. It was one of the highlights of our trip. He will be dearly missed. Godspeed and prayers to his family and friends.

  • I’m going to miss seeing Richard’s smiling face the next time I visit Walt Disney World. He was an amazingly kind and sweet gentleman and it will be impossible to fill his shoes. I hope his family is comforted during this time of loss.

  • I am sadden to hear about Richard’s passing. Although I did not know him on personal level outside of Disney, I meet him many times over the years from 2003 until this year. The first time I meet him was at my wedding at the Grand Floridian where he was instrumental in helping my bride with her train during the ceremony and other events. We included him in our wedding album. We met him many times of the years and my wife and daughter would take pictures with him in 2012, 2016 and 2017. He was always a joy to see.

  • Will miss his sweet face. God has him in a better place. I had to have as pic with him. He gave me courage to know I can still work at my senior age.

  • My family met Richard two years ago when we stayed at the Grand Floridian on our family vacation! He always had a smile on his face! He shared stories with my children and told us all about his daughter! We were so blessed to be touched by such a kind and loving soul!!! Our prayers go to his family!

  • My heart is broken! We have years worth of pictures with this dear, sweet, GENTLEman! Gods speed Richard, heaven gained an Angel. Blessings to his family and those who worked with him!

  • Richard was the highlight of staying at the Grand Floridian. I am hopeful that some sort of memorial may be placed in his honor there.

  • Richard was Disney. He always had a smile and was incredible. May he rest in peace and start greeting those in heaven with the same special way he did at Disney. He will be missed.

  • I once asked Richard how he could be so happy and enthusiastic all of the time. He looked at me with a smile and said “Well, what’s the alternative?”. I shook his hand, thanked him and think of his philosophy all of the time. Thank you Richard for making everyones’ days a lot brighter!

  • Richard was part of the family. He was there for my daughter’s wedding. When booking the wedding- he was our number one request. He was the one to make it a magical day. Yes! He did. Marqui & Manny Feb. 18, 2014. We will always remember Richard. We took him a photo book with his photos a few days after the wedding. His smile can light up the world. Guest service at the finest.

  • A friend of mine used to drive Richard to work and take him home in the evenings. Occasionally, I would get to ride along when we were in Florida. Having met Richard, and talked with him, I can truly say that he was the “gentleman’s gentleman” and was a great asset to the Grand Floridian staff. He will never be forgotten.

  • To be that loved by thousands of guest or visitors means you touched the lives of many.

  • We visited during Christmas in 2014 and he was there to greet us and offer us warm chestnuts. To us, he was the grand floridian!
    We hope all the smiles and joy he brought greet him every day in ththe great beyond. R.I.P Mr. RIchard

  • We love love loved Richard! A great human. You could feel his love and kindness upon every Grand Floridian visit. He was the first “Disney”picture we would take with the kids every year. We are so grateful to have him in our family photos. What a gift to have known him. We will certainly miss him!

Fantasy Strollers
Lost Bros
TeePublic

Latest Videos