The recent shuffle of executives around the Disney Parks, Entertainment, and Products division predicated by Bob Chapek’s promotion to CEO of The Walt Disney Company means Disneyland and Walt Disney World are both greeting new leaders this morning.
Jeff Vahle, formerly president of Disney Signature Experiences, which includes the Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney, has been named President, Walt Disney World Resort.
Ken Potrock, who had served as President, Consumer Products after spending 20+ years at Walt Disney World in various leadership roles, becomes President, Disneyland Resort.
Jeff Vahle, President, Walt Disney World Resort
Succeeding Mr. D’Amaro as President, Walt Disney World Resort is Jeff Vahle, a 30-year cast member who most recently served as President, Disney Signature Experiences. In his new role, Mr. Vahle leads a team of talented Cast Members —America’s largest single-site workforce—and will be responsible for all facets of business for the resort, including its four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios) two water parks, 28 resort hotels, four golf courses, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and the Disney Springs entertainment-shopping-dining complex.
“With Walt Disney World approaching its 50th anniversary, there could not be a more gratifying time to be selected for this role and to work with the incredible team responsible for creating magical memories for millions of guests each year,” said Mr. Vahle. “I plan to continue to build on the momentum from Josh’s tenure, bringing even more innovative entertainment and experiences to our guests.”
Mr. Vahle will continue to oversee Facilities & Operations Services for Disney theme parks worldwide, responsible for engineering, maintenance, construction, utilities, manufacturing, sourcing and procurement, safety and health, and asset management programs at the Disney resorts around the world.
In his previous role, Mr. Vahle led several key growth businesses for the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products segment and inspired teams around the world to deliver the Company’s unrivaled brand of family vacations. He oversaw Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, Adventures by Disney, Golden Oak, and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa (collectively called Disney Signature Experiences).
Mr. Vahle began his Disney career in 1990 and is a respected senior executive who is committed to driving creativity and innovation, exceeding guest expectations and delivering long-term business growth. During his career with the Company, he has held a series of high-profile leadership roles in operations, engineering, technology and global support services.
At Disney Cruise Line, Mr. Vahle also oversaw the much-anticipated expansion of Disney’s cruise fleet, with the planned delivery of three new ships, all of them showcasing the immersive family entertainment, enchanting storytelling and unparalleled service for which Disney is well known.
In addition to his duties with these high-growth vacation businesses, Mr. Vahle is actively involved in the Central Florida community, currently serving as chairman of the board of directors for Give Kids the World and as a member of the Rollins College Board of Trustees.
Mr. Vahle earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn University and a master’s degree in business administration from Rollins College.
Ken Potrock, President, Disneyland Resort
Ken Potrock, formerly President, Consumer Products and with nearly 25 years at the Company takes the helm at the Disneyland Resort, as President, Disneyland Resort, overseeing two theme parks (Disneyland and Disney California Adventure), three resort hotels and a 20-acre entertainment, retail and shopping district. Mr. Potrock succeeds Rebecca Campbell, who was named Chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and International, for The Walt Disney Company.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to join the remarkable team at Walt Disney’s original park,” said Mr. Potrock. “This Resort holds a special place in the hearts of our Guests around the world – a responsibility that we all take very seriously, and we will continue to build on that foundation by delivering unforgettable experiences, while creating memories that last a lifetime.”
Mr. Potrock joins the Disneyland Resort after more than two decades of leadership experience at Disney Parks. Throughout his career, he has consistently challenged the status quo – enabling a holistic entrepreneurial culture that ensures the unparalleled “Disney Difference” is delivered each day to Guests, consumers and fans.
Mr. Potrock is also well-known for developing, invigorating and transforming numerous Disney properties and businesses to deliver consistent and dynamic growth. Previously he served as the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Disney Vacation Club, the Company’s innovative and fast-growing vacation ownership program, as well as Adventures by Disney, the Company’s award-winning guided group travel business.
In 2015, Mr. Potrock led the dramatic expansion and reimagining of Disney Springs, Walt Disney World’s iconic retail, dining and entertainment district. He was Senior Vice President of Disney Sports Enterprises, where he led the transformative rebranding of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida. Mr. Potrock began his Disney career in 1996 as Vice President, Marketing for Disney Cruise Line, where he helped define and launch the Company’s bold entry into the cruise industry.
Mr. Potrock earned his undergraduate degree in marketing from Washington University in St. Louis and his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
We wish both Jeff and Ken luck as they embark on leading their respective resorts through the new normal and an uncertain future related to elective travel.