Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

Disney streamlines Parks & Resorts

New roles created, others eliminated

Walt Disney has announced that it wants to deliver a “one-Disney” experience at its parks and resorts by simplifying its operating structure. “These changes are essential to maintaining our leadership position in family tourism and reflect today’s economic realities,” highlights Jay Rasulo (pictured), chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Earlier this year the company invited a number of its executives in the US to take early retirement and said it would make lay-offs compulsory if enough names did not come forward.

According to Rasulo, the changes continue a reorganisation begun four years ago and are already reaping rewards for Disney guests: “In 2005, we transformed our organisation to match consumers’ expectations: ‘one-Disney,’ regardless of how or where they experience our products. We’ve already seen innumerable benefits. Prime examples of our successes are the establishment of many maintenance and safety practices, holiday castle lighting that began in Paris and expanded into our other theme parks, the speed with which we integrated the High School Musical shows into our parks around the world, and the simultaneous openings of Toy Story Mania at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s California Adventure.”

A new global business development team led by executive vice-president Nick Franklin will combine the existing development functions of business and real estate development. The team will be responsible for driving growth by working with existing businesses on their development strategies, while also exploring new business opportunities around the globe.

Walt Disney Imagineering under the leadership of Bruce Vaughn, chief creative executive, and Craig Russell, chief design and project delivery executive, will be reorganised into a single practice, merging resort development with attractions and entertainment development worldwide. Al Weiss, president of worldwide operations, will lead the work of merging the operating infrastructure at Walt Disney World in Florida and the Disneyland Resort in California to create a single domestic organisation and “back-of-house” operation. In the coming weeks, other functions will be reviewed.

In a memo Rasulo acknowledged the challenges inherent: “Organisation changes require difficult decisions, including the elimination of some roles. These decisions were not made lightly and we know this will be a challenging transition. The people affected are our friends and colleagues, and they have made valuable contributions.”

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