What began quietly with a job swap between Hollywood Studios VP Rilous Carter and Epcot VP Dan Cockerell has now exploded into a full Disney Parks management shake-up. In the days following, Walt Disney Parks and Resort president Al Weiss “retired” after 39 years with the company, prompting Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Tom Staggs to announce that the position would not be filled. Now, the plans become clear…
Walt Disney World president Meg Crofton now finds herself as president, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, U.S. and France. No longer is she only president over Disney World, but now over the Disneyland Resort & Disneyland Resort Paris as well. Crofton has been president of Walt Disney World since 2006 and has been with the company for over 30 years.
Karl Holz, president, New Vacation Operations and Disney Cruise Line, will take on a new leading role for Disney Vacation Club, in addition to maintaining roles at Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney and Aulani.
What does this change mean for the Disney Parks and Resorts during this time of rapid expansion? Probably good things. Disneyland Resort & Disneyland Resort Paris have not been sound in theme park operations. Basic crowd for control for parades & shows at Disneyland are a nightmare, the way shops and restaurants are operated are appalling, and on too many occasions I have seen hourly cast members handle guests in the most un-Disney ways. Upkeep of the parks is no better in California either, I have seen my share of ride breakdowns and missing/non-working effects on the west coast. As for Disneyland Paris, the recent boost in funds for park upkeep are no doubt coming from management shake-ups there.
Some fans are heralding this as the beginning of another dark age for the Parks and Resorts, which is probably a little overdramatic. Under this management, Florida and California are seeing the biggest construction projects in their history and Disneyland Paris is slowly turning the corner on two decades of under performance. Without a doubt, the future of the Parks and Resorts will be announced at the D23 Expo, projects that will take us beyond Cars Land and the Fantasyland Expansion. I think only at that point can we judge if the direction is for better or for worse.
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