There aren’t many people whose careers include roadside service on a superhighway, bobsledding on the mighty Matterhorn, piloting a launch down mysterious jungle rivers, setting sail with bloodthirsty pirates, and preparing astronauts for their space adventures. Chuck Abbott did all those things and more, though, during his 36 years as one of Disneyland’s foremost Attractions Hosts.
Chuck entered the Disneyland on-ramp on August 10, 1955, as a ride operator on Autopia. “In the days when there was no track, and cast members had to be quick on their feet to avoid a collision with oncoming guests,” he once recalled.
Chuck made his way around the attractions of the young Park, “working wherever I was put,” he said.
Although Chuck worked directly with Walt Disney Imagineering on the Pirates of the Caribbean during its planning and construction, and was made opening foreman for the attraction in 1967, Chuck maintained that his most memorable moment at Disney was meeting his future wife, Norma, who also worked at the Park.
In 1969, Chuck was named “Foreman of the Year” at the Matterhorn. In 1977, he was foreman for the opening of Space Mountain, and returned to the Matterhorn for the big rehab and reopening of the attraction in 1978. During the course of his career, Chuck also served as foreman of the Submarine Voyage, Jungle Cruise, the now-defunct Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland, and many other attractions.
In 1987, Chuck conceived and initiated the cast member seeing-eye dog fund, which became a highly successful volunteer group.
Chuck’s outside interests included travel, camping, and fishing. Those who worked with Chuck recall how much they enjoyed his sense of humor, and how deeply they respected his dedication and work ethic, and his comprehensive working knowledge of the attractions.
He was a member of Club 55, a group of original Disneyland Cast Members, named for Disneyland’s inaugural year. In 1991, Chuck retired after 36 years with the Park, and moved to Utah, where he passed away on July 7, 2003.