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crazy4wdw
05-23-2007, 07:20 AM
Disney shuffles Imagineer team's execs

Scott Powers | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted May 23, 2007

A shake-up of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts creativity team puts more emphasis on technology and new vacation experiences both in and out of Disney's theme parks.

Officials on Tuesday confirmed several changes in Walt Disney Imagineering -- the Disney arm that dreams up and designs everything from Walt Disney World thrill rides and shows to themed restaurants. They include a new partnership at the top featuring research and development guru Bruce Vaughn and design master Craig Russell. Vaughn was promoted last week to chief creative executive, and Russell to chief design and delivery executive.

"The leadership team of Walt Disney Imagineering will ensure that our parks, resorts and other venues continue our tradition of imagination and innovation," Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo wrote to Disney executives in a memo last week. "Bruce Vaughn and Craig Russell are the right blend of talent and experience for WDI."

Former WDI President Don Goodman becomes the new executive vice president for resort development. He and Wing Chao, executive vice president of master planning, architecture and design, will oversee development of Disney's real estate on and away from Disney World, Disneyland and other Disney resorts.

Tom Fitzgerald, who served temporarily as a top WDI administrator, will resume oversight of show development, story integration and what Disney calls its "blue sky" brainstorming process, as executive vice president and senior creative executive.

Robert Iger, chief executive of parent company Walt Disney Co., has emphasized a corporate commitment to emerging technologies. Vaughn's background in research and development labs helps address that commitment, said Leslie Goodman, Disney Parks and Resorts senior vice president for worldwide public affairs.

Rasulo has pledged expanded and new efforts to spread Disney experiences beyond theme parks, with such options as more Disney Cruise Line and Adventure by Disney vacation packages and new themed hotels or Disney entertainment districts in new markets. The new WDI organization also addresses that commitment, Goodman said.

"We are in the immersive experience business; it's no longer the parks and resorts business," she said.

Scott Powers can be reached at spowers@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5441.

mrsR123
05-24-2007, 09:44 PM
"We are in the immersive experience business; it's no longer the parks and resorts business," [Leslie Goodman] said.



sigh

Nom
05-25-2007, 07:44 AM
"We are in the immersive experience business; it's no longer the parks and resorts business," [Leslie Goodman] said.



sigh

I think that quoted line is a good thing- what I always loved about pre-mid 90s wdw was that it was a totally immersive overal vacation experience. Then things started to go downhill in service, maintenance and the quality of new attractions. This shake-up will hoepfully address the issues of the better new attractions being added- at least part of the puzzle for reinstating a WDW vacation as an immersive experience.

The only red flag in the article for me is the emphasis on outside-of-park vacations. I just hope that they don't put too much of their resources against that when they are really needed in the parks!

TheRustyScupper
05-25-2007, 09:04 AM
Rasulo has pledged expanded and new efforts to spread Disney experiences beyond theme parks, with such options as more Disney Cruise Line and Adventure by Disney vacation packages and new themed hotels or Disney entertainment districts in new markets. The new WDI organization also addresses that commitment, Goodman said.

1) Rats.
2) Would have like to see more attention to the parks.

mrsR123
05-25-2007, 10:21 PM
The only red flag in the article for me is the emphasis on outside-of-park vacations. I just hope that they don't put too much of their resources against that when they are really needed in the parks!

But see, that's just it. This won't be about the parks.

Instead we're going to see the Wilderness Lodge plunked outside Yellowstone's borders. (With exorbitant prices and buses to visit the national park without actually experiencing it, or duplicating services available locally at better prices.)