I’m sitting in my office thinking about how
much I have enjoyed working with the people who make up this Company. I
am about to pack up 21 years of pictures, books and letters and other
Disney memorabilia from around the world that hopefully my great
grandchildren will not sell on eBay. In the meantime, I will use these
objects to trigger fantastic memories of my two decades sitting under
the roof supported by the seven dwarfs in the Team Disney Building.
learned so much over all these years from my partnership with you, from
how to build theme parks to how the evening news is put together, from
building an animated movie to building a legitimate theater on 42nd
Street, from the revitalization of the 100 Acre Wood to the build-out
of the thousands of acres of swamps and beet farms and landfill of
Florida, Paris and Hong Kong, and even learning what a World Series
ring looks like. I even finally learned the precise relationship of
Huey, Dewey and Louie to Donald Duck. But I never really learned how to
master reading a TV teleprompter. There is still time.
1984, there was plenty of room in my brain to acquire this much-needed
knowledge. At my first speech on the first day on the Burbank lot, at
the old gazebo, I met my first cast member, Angela Philo, and asked
what department she was in. Her response, "BVD." "Wow," I responded, "I
didn’t know Disney owned an underwear company."
And it was in
search of knowledge during those first few weeks that I met almost
everybody who worked for the Company, 28,000 at the time, and learned
that this iconic institution had the most dedicated and talented and
enthusiastic group of people I had seen since I left camp as a staff
member for the last time in 1964. There are now 129,000 of us, diverse,
unique, and of course proud to be creating the magic.
to thank all of you for your good spirits, your fantastic pride and
sense of duty working for this wonderful company. From what we do on
the big and little screens to how we program our radio and television
stations, from what we do on ESPN and all our worldwide cable channels
to how we treat our guests in our parks, nobody does it like you. From
how we develop our consumer products to how we imagine our attractions,
from how we design our computer-generated worlds to how we envision our
business strategies, nobody does it like you. And from the growth of
our architecture to the management of our financial and legal lives,
from our publishing and music operations to our emerging Internet
opportunities, from every morning until every next morning, nobody does
all of this as well as you. And you do it all over the world.
Company, which I so love, is poised for a tremendous future, with
superb management at all levels, entrusted to the brilliant and steady
Chief Executive Officer, Bob Iger. I want to thank everybody for
letting me share a piece of your lives for two decades.
I leave Disney with less hair than I had when I arrived, I do know
creative inquisitiveness never ages or tires. I feel as optimistic as I
did on Oct. 1, 1984.
By the way, I have since learned that BVD stands for Buena Vista Distribution.
Good luck, and go see Chicken Little.