Move ‘Em! Shake ‘Em! Manage ‘Em!

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The recent changes in the entire “Disney Parks and Resorts” management structure has brought about some interesting additions and repositioning in Walt Disney World management. From the Orlando Sentinel:

The number two executive at Walt Disney World is being bumped up to run newly merged resort functions between Orlando and Anaheim, Calif.

Erin Wallace, who has been the senior vice president of operations at Disney World since August 2006, moves to the new position senior vice president of operations integration/line of business for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Disney announced the move Thursday, one day after unveiling a broad restructuring of its U.S. theme parks designed to consolidate operations between Disney World and Disneyland. The company, which has been hit hard by a sharp drop in consumer spending, will cut an undisclosed number of jobs in the coming weeks as part of the streamlining.

In her new role, Wallace will oversee a series of combined functions at Disney’s domestic parks. They include merchandise development, entertainment and imaging, attractions, lodging, animal programs and environmental initiatives.

Wallace, 49, has been with Disney for more than 23 years. She began in the resort’s industrial engineering department, and her assignments have included vice president in charge of the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s flagship theme park.

Wallace will report to Al Weiss, president of worldwide operations at Disney’s parks and resorts division.

Disney also said Thursday that it has named Dan Cockerell to run Epcot, the second-busiest of Walt Disney World’s four theme parks. Cockerell, previously a general manager in the Magic Kingdom, succeeds Jim MacPhee, who will now oversee special projects at the Orlando resort.

Each of the vice presidents overseeing individual theme parks will continue to report directly to Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton. So will MacPhee and the executives in charge of Downtown Disney, golf operations, sports facilities and transportation.

Crofton will continue to report to Weiss.

At the same time as it combines operational functions at its U.S. parks, Disney is also consolidating real-estate and business development functions into one unit and all of Walt Disney Imagineering, the company’s attraction-design arm, into another unit.

The goal, a Disney spokesman said, is to develop “a three-pronged team” within Disney’s parks division, with one charged with developing new initiatives such as new parks and expansions, another with designing and building the infrastructure, and the third with running day-to-day operations.

Disney’s parks division, which accounts for more than a quarter of the Disney Co.’s total revenue, has taken other streamlining steps. Last week, the division announced that Disney Cruise Line and the Adventures by Disney packaged-tour business would be merged into a single department “focused on operating the businesses that take the Disney brand to new places.”

About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]