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erin wallace

Disney Parks operations executive Erin Wallace departs

MyMagic+ Takes the Guest Experience to a New Level with MagicBands

One thing Disney theme park fans love to complain about is decision by spreadsheet (or as Disney author Kevin Yee famously says “declining by degrees”). The idea that there’s someone backstage with a formula and a red pen saying, you have to cut, cut, cut because some random number wasn’t met and you end up with death of the guest experience by a thousand small cuts instead of one or two large ones. Like a frog in a pot of water, by the time you notice the end is near, it’s too late to jump out.

Wielding the spreadsheet is the moment when Disney is most like a business and least like something magical. Erin Wallace, executive vice president of operations strategy, planning, and revenue management for Walt Disney Parks and resorts, was in charge of that whole process. As such, she often became the subject of flames from the fans.

Whether Wallace deserved those critiques or not, is an open question. She answered to someone (for a long time the also departing Meg Crofton and more recently Parks chair Tom Staggs) and was subject to meeting the overall goals of the company. The company is doing remarkably well right now, but how will it work in the long term, well that remains to be seen.Read More »Disney Parks operations executive Erin Wallace departs

Promotions Shake Up Disney Parks & Resorts under Tom Staggs

In a long internal memo today, Tom Staggs made official the organizational shakeup everyone knew was coming after Staggs took over the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division. It’s nothing earth shattering, but it does flatten some of the levels of hierarchy that were said to have frustrated Staggs since he took over.

In short, current WDW president Meg Crofton expands to oversee all the domestic parks and the two parks in France. Karl Holtz, who a few years ago was rumored to be leaving Disney, is instead adding DVC to his DCL and Adventures by Disney responsibilities. Leslie Ferraro becomes executive vice president, Global Marketing and Sales combining those two closely related departments and Erin Wallace, executive vice president, Operations Integration also adds revenue management to her desk. The move also creates a new executive council under Staggs.

While Staggs’ reorganization did not cut any of the deadwood certain segments of Disney fans wanted to see go, I believe the general movement here is a good one. It will allow for efficiencies where they need to exist and independence, with oversight, as required for the parks. Combining marketing and sales is a no-duh in my book, they are both measured by the same final metrics (butts in beds and asses through the gates), so unifying them is good. The only move that looks questionable to me is giving the extra power of revenue management to operations. However, they are the yin and the yang of theme park operations. Having one person keep a close eye via her myriad of spreadsheets and minions (and I mean that in the nicest possible way), could be very positive.

Let’s keep a watch on this for the next 3-year planning cycle and see if there really is any improvement. Meanwhile, the pressure is kicked up a notch for these people to get things done or they too could be reorganized right out of a job.

The full text of Tom Staggs’ announcement is below the jump:

Read More »Promotions Shake Up Disney Parks & Resorts under Tom Staggs