Disney Legend Renie Bardeau, Iconic Disneyland Photographer, Dies at 86

Renie Bardeau, Chief Photographer at Disney from 1975 to 1998, passed away on January 4th at 86 years old due to kidney failure complications related to COVID-19. He was best known as the photographer of some of Walt Disney’s most iconic Disneyland portraits.


Bardeau’s illustrious career began at Disneyland in 1959, covering the opening of the Tomorrowland expansion. He was promoted to Disneyland’s Chief Photographer in 1968, before becoming the Walt Disney Company’s Chief Photographer in 1975. He retired in 1998, and was honored as Disney Legend and with a Main Street Window at Disneyland the following year.

Courtesy of Renie Bardeau and the Orange County Register

Perhaps Bardeau’s most iconic photo is this shot of Walt Disney walking the grounds of Disneyland in 1964, entitled Footsteps. The Disneyland Resort issued the following statement in the wake of his passing:

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We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Renie Bardeau, who will long be remembered for some of the most iconic Disneyland photography ever published.

Courtesy of Renie Bardeau and the Orange County Register

His most memorable work also stretches to this iconic portrait of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse aboard a Disneyland Fire Department car. As it happens, this was the final picture taken of Walt Disney at Disneyland before his 1966 passing.

Bardeau is survived by his daughter, son, stepson, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

  1. Renie was great. He was never the chief photographer for the entire company, though. He told me he did not shoot at the studio because they only used union photographers, and Imagineering had their own photographers. Renie was the chief photographer only for Disneyland. You also stated that he was named a Disney Legend, but sadly, despite being well-deserved, he was never named a Disney Legend. It’s very nice that you paid tribute to him on your website. He was a great guy.

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