If you’ve visited Walt Disney World and stepped inside of one of their iconic resorts on the monorail line in the last 30-40 years, then, you’ve probably met Richard Gerth. Richard is a lovable man who stood outside of the front entrance of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa as the greeter who would welcome everyone with a smile and kind word. On Thursday morning, sadness trickled through the Disney community as word had been confirmed of his passing.
Just a couple of days ago, it was reported on a fan page for Richard Gerth – Grand Floridian Greeter that he had fallen ill. Going through all of the comments and information on a post made by the page, he had contracted pneumonia and was actually taken to hospice some time at the beginning of this week.
Social media started buzzing as news of his failing health began to make the rounds and numerous Disney fans started wishing him well and hoping for the best. Unfortunately, the illness was too much and ultimately resulted in his passing which happened sometime after midnight on Thursday.
The fan page made an official announcement with confirmation from members of Richard’s family. One thing of note is that his passing was said to be a “graceful transition” as he was surrounded by his family during his final moments.
Richard Gerth was 92 years old at the time of his passing and he had worked as the greeter of Disney’s Grand Floridian since 1991. Over that span, he assisted close to 4,000 brides as they said their vows and welcomed likely hundreds of thousands of guests as they went on their happy way through vacation.
A video posted on the official Facebook page of the Disney Vacation Club showcased an interview with Mr. Richard Gerth in which he spoke of his storied career. In the video, he speaks of the way he landed the job and how it became a huge part of his life.
For those who have visited Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, they’ve often seen guests chatting with him as many make a special trip to the hotel just to see him. He has actually watched many children grow up from babies to toddlers and even into adults with their own kids.
Last year, Hurricane Irma hit the Central Florida area and while many were concerned with their own homes and safety, their attention also turned to Richard. When the word has made its way out that he was dealing with damage to his home and belongings, numerous guests and Disney fans banded together to offer him any assistance they could.
Walt Disney World may be full of magic and characters that you see in the cartoons and animated movies, but it’s also not complete without people such as Richard Gerth. For more than three decades, he stood in almost the exact same place outside of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort to welcome guests and let them know they were “home.” Things just won’t be the same after his passing, but everyone who had the honor to meet him has had their lives made better.