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NEWS: Al Weiss announces retirement from Disney

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We have some news to share today regarding a key member of the Disney team. Al Weiss, former head of Walt Disney World and current President of Worldwide Operations for all of Disney Parks and Resorts, has decided to retire after almost 39 years with the company. Al started off working at Walt Disney World as a teenager and will leave his imprint on so many aspects of our business. Some of the highlights of his tenure include launching Disney Cruise Line, opening Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World and integrating worldwide park operations. Al’s official retirement date will be November 1 of this year. To learn more about Al’s announcement please click on the links below.


Letter to Cast from Al Weiss


Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs shared the following statement:


Al Weiss has made a profound mark on Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and the accomplishments and milestones that encompass his legacy are many. He spent his whole professional life with Disney, literally growing up in the company — and most notably serving as an integral part of Walt Disney World through most of its history. That experience enabled him to have a genuine appreciation for and true understanding of all that our cast do, and all that our guests expect. His relentless pursuit of excellence and his passion for the guest experience are unsurpassed, and have been an inspiration to many.


Letter to Cast from Al Weiss


I thank Al for his decades of service and wish him well as he enters a new chapter in his life.




Fellow cast members,


After careful thought and consideration, it is with both pleasure and sadness that I announce after 39 long and wonderful years I will be retiring from The Walt Disney Company. Thanks to all of you who have been part of my unforgettable career with this amazing company.


I began my time with the Walt Disney World Resort as a teenager doing “z runs” in Magic Kingdom park. After many years and much hard work, I am proud to finish my career as president, Worldwide Operations, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. There are very few companies like Disney that give individuals an opportunity to grow and develop so much in their careers. Disney is truly an organization that promotes from within and allows our talented cast members to follow their dreams.


Over my long history with Disney, I have seen the opening of so many exciting things: theme parks, resorts, attractions, shows and now even cruise ships. I have had the great pleasure and honor to work beside such great talent and leadership, and I feel confident the company will continue to thrive and do magical things for many years. The best is yet to come …


While I will miss the great people, exciting projects and stellar vision of Disney, I am very excited to begin the next chapter of my life. I will not miss my weekly Monday morning commute to California, but I will look forward to spending time with family, grandchildren and friends and traveling this great big world in which we live.


Thank you for almost four decades of fun, challenges, good times and bad. Most of all, I thank you for the magic that I know each of you and Disney will continue to create for our cast and guests every day.


It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.

~Walt Disney


Best wishes and God bless,


Al Weiss

President, Worldwide Operations

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Edited by jedimaster1227
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The head of the Walt Disney Co.'s global theme-park division promoted pair of Central Florida executives Tuesday, in a management shakeup triggered by the departure of another senior official.


Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs appointed Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton to the new post of president of operations in the U.S. and France. Crofton will maintain her current responsibilities as president of Disney's Orlando resort — a position she has held since 2006 — but will also assume oversight of Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., and Disneyland Paris.


"Meg's strong leadership abilities and broad experience make her the perfect person to lead resort operations in our established markets in the United States and Europe," Staggs wrote in a memo to employee.


The move is an extension of the company's "One Disney" initiative, in which it has been merging functions and responsibilities between its various resorts. Staggs also added Crofton to his executive committee — the inner circle of executives reporting directly to Staggs — in a move he said is designed "to continue the great work of sharing best practices and leveraging our operational expertise across our properties."


At the same time, Staggs tapped Karl Holz, the president of Disney Cruise Line and the Adventures By Disney tour business, to take on oversight of Disney Vacation Club, the company's time-share business. Holz will also join Staggs' executive committee.


"Karl will be responsible for creating consistent and engaging guest experiences as they expand to new markets and destinations outside the berms of our theme parks," Staggs wrote in his memo. "These operations are an important driver of growth in our segment and a critical part of our efforts to build upon and broaden Disney's reputation for delivering magical experiences to our guests, both inside and outside the berm."


Both Crofton and Holz had previously reported to Al Weiss, president of worldwide operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Disney announced last month that Weiss, 57, was retiring after 39 years with the company. Weiss gave up his leadership position immediately, though he will remain in an informal role until the fall.


Staggs eliminated Weiss' position.


A number of other top Disney parks executives who had reported to Weiss will now report elsewhere. Both Disneyland President George Kalogridis and Disneyland Paris President Philippe Gas will report to Crofton, while Disney Vacation Club President Jim Lewis will report to Holz.


Jeff Vahle, executive vice president for facilities operations services, and Erin Wallace, executive vice president for operations integration, will report jointly to Crofton and to Bill Ernest, president of operations in Asia, which includes Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disney and the soon-to-be-built Shanghai Disneyland. Kevin Lansberry, senior vice president of revenue management and analytics, will now report to Wallace.


Staggs also merged sales and marketing divisions, with Leslie Ferraro, previously senior vice president of global marketing, becoming executive vice president of global marketing and sales. Randy Garfield, executive president of worldwide sales and travel operations, will report to Ferraro.

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Oh cool. Now Disneyland can have the same amazing quality as WDW.


I don't understand why the company keeps promoting people who don't understand the service industry. If you cut costs to turn a bigger profit, customers will see the declining quality of the product and flee. It already started to happen at WDW. DL has been doing exceptionally well though, but only because they actually partake in capital investments to improve their product.


Micechat has already begun to protest and spread the word... they are terrified (like many others) that DL will go right back into the Pressler era. Let's all hope DL will stay untouched by this new change in management.


If not, you'll find me at Universal and Tokyo Disneyland.

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^ It's funny how people take Micechat's word as gospel. Getting a fair assessment of corporate Disney from them is like getting a balanced assessment of Obama from a Rush Limbaugh forum or something. A lot heresy gets thrown around and personal opinion morphs into "fact". Seriously, WDW doesn't partake in capital investment? Hahaha. Come on man.

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^ Personally I don't care for WDW since I don't live in FL anymore. I know they're adding onto FL and building a new hotel, but Animal Kingdom is still lacking rides after a decade, Hollywood Studios is thematically confused and in certain aspects embarrassing. I'm just saying compared to DL or even Tokyo DL, WDW doesn't really strive for amazing quality.


And I don't take Micechat's or any fan sites word too seriously, I'm just reporting what I've read.

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