Legendary Disneyland Photographer Renie Bardeau Has Passed at the Age of 86

Renie Bardeau was a legendary Disneyland photographer who captured iconic moments during his 40 years of employment.

©Renie Bardeau

Bardeau’s work includes the famous “Footsteps” photo of Walt
Disney walking through Sleeping Beauty Castle. He also captured the recognizable photo of Walt and Mickey in a fire engine just months before Disney’s death. Orange County Register has reported that Renie Bardeau has passed at age of 86 in his retirement home in Glendale, Arizona.

The revered Disneyland publicity photographer died of kidney failure after recently contracting COVID-19. His incredible work and passion for Disneyland will be immortalized for years to come. It’s estimated that he took around 100,000 photos of Mickey Mouse alone.

Walt and Mickey on the Fire Engine ©Renie Bardeau

He shot images of famous figures like Japanese Emperor Hirohito, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Sen. Robert Kennedy, astronaut John Glenn, Elizabeth Taylor, Cary Grant, and John Wayne. The image below is one of his first pictures. It shows Nixon and his family cutting the ribbon for the newly opened Tomorrowland.

©Renie Bardeau

Bardeau became interested in photography at a young age and built his own lightbox camera. He later became employed at Disneyland while still in school. Disney released the statement in honor of the photographer,  “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. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time.”

Footsteps ©Renie Bardeau

Renie Bardeau worked closely with Walt Disney and would tell stories about him to others. He told a story during an interview about eating breakfast at the former Hills Brother Cafe on Main Street. “In comes Walt and asks me if he could sit down, so immediately a waitress comes over and asks, ‘Can I help you, Mr. Disney?’ Walt says, ‘Yes, but remember, I am Walt. There is only one Mr. in Disneyland and that’s Mr. Toad.’ ”

Renie Bardeau Receiving his Main Street Window ©Ygnacio Nanetti, The Orange County Register

Renie Bardeau’s work is deeply loved by Disney fans worldwide and we’re grateful for what he has produced over the years.

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One Reply to “Legendary Disneyland Photographer Renie Bardeau Has Passed at the Age of 86”

  1. Renie was a great photographer and an even greater person. I was a newspaper photographer in those days and getting an assignment at Disneyland and working with Renie was always a treat.