Birthplace: Chung King, China
Position: Senior Vice President, Disney Design and Development
Wing T. Chao is responsible for the master planning, architecture and design of Disney real estate such as theme parks, resort hotels, retail centers, restaurants, recreation facilities, entertainment centers and offices in Florida, California, Paris and other locales worldwide. Chao has completed over 100 projects whose total investment is approximately $6 billion.
Despite his success Chao regrets he didn’t study medicine and become a doctor.
Chao was born in Chung King, China in May, 1944 and moved to the U.S. to pursue his education. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from University of California Berkeley and a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard. As a freshman he washed pots for Berkeley’s College Women’s Club. Two years later, he was working for William Liskam Architect in San Francisco.
In 1972, Chao joined Disney at Walt Disney World in Florida where he was instrumental in the master planning of Lake Buena Vista Communities. Two years later he moved to WED Enterprises in Glendale, California where he was responsible for the planning of Epcot Center and the transportation systems to complement it. In 1992, Chao received the Asian American Architects/ Engineers Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award.