Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down. Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger has just fulfilled the wishes of many a Disney theme park fan by moving Disney Worldwide Parks and Resorts Chair Jay Rasulo out of his position. He will be changing places with Disney CFO Tom Staggs effective in the new year.
Many a finger has been pointed in Rasulo’s direction when it comes to fans unhappiness with the theme park divisions direction. (Of course, some of those same fans are not so quick to give accolades when things go right.) He was often accused of not being interested in the parks to the point of avoiding any travel to them. The focus on DVC over regular resorts, the disasterous run (DCA, Paris Studios, Hong Kong Disneyland) of small theme parks with little themeing over immersive parks favored by the fans, and the general decline of the dining experience at the parks have all be laid at the feet of Rasulo’s policies. I’m not sure how fair any of that is.
As for Staggs, to be honest, I don’t know much about his views on Disney’s theme parks division. But I’ve found his handling of the corporate financial conferences to be masterful. To me this move is roughly the equivalent of Eisner putting Wells in charge of the theme parks, a move which I’m sure would have pleased many fans. So there is hope here.
Quotes from Bob Iger and Tom Staggs at the Orlando Sentinel.