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Weiss Wash

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Disney released a statement today that Al Weiss, the President of Worldwide Operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, is stepping down from that post which he has held since 2005. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Weiss’s resignation will be effective immediately although he will officially remain employed with the company until November 1st.

Weiss, who is only 57, has been employed with Disney for 39 years. Most of us on the east coast know Weiss from Walt Disney World, where he was that resort’s president during its long decline from 1994-2005.

What’s intriguing is that Weiss will not be replaced. The Sentinel reports that his position is being eliminated and, according to Disney Parks Chairman Tom Staggs, the parks operations division will receive a new operating structure in the upcoming weeks. This is rather big news, and I look forward to seeing what they have in mind. It’s obvious that there’s some driftwood in the operations structure from the top to the bottom, and a housecleaning would certainly be welcomed by many fans (assuming, of course, that the new structure is staffed with capable people). It’s a shame that former Disney executive Matt Ouimet was announced as the new head of Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. just two days ago; Ouimet is frequently hailed as “the man who saved Disneyland”, and many fans have long hoped that he would return to the fold.

So what does this all mean? Time will tell. I’m very interested to see what this new organizational structure is.

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8 comments to Weiss Wash

  • I’m pretty sure this is Oimet’s second job since leaving Disneyland so hope still remains. KEEP HOPE ALIVE PEOPLE!!

  • WC

    Is that Fusilli Al he’s holding up?

  • RO93461

    It’s Soundsational.

  • I should add that I feel like there’s *gotta* be a bigger story here, so if anyone wants to tell me what in the sam hill is going on they should totally email me.

  • Adam

    The word I’ve been hearing from informed insiders seems to be “De-Rasuloing.” It sounds like with this corporate restructuring, Staggs is particularly interested in folding this One Disney mentality to a close, and Weiss’ retirement is merely the first visible sign of that.

    One can only desperately hope that this is true…

  • RO93461

    If I had to guess, I’d say that Staggs has had some time to access the landscape and probably thinks things have gotten stale (Can’t say Staggnant). More than Rasulo, it’s the 39 years and the good ol’ boy network. Staggs shook up the Fantasyland thing, so why not those who made those choices? If they are not replacing him, then it’s a “leaner meaner” thing too. No facts here, just guessing.

  • Mark W

    Adam, if what you say is true, this might be the best news for Parks and Resorts in a LONG time… I hope and pray you’re right.

    Eddie, about the good ol’ boys network – I was under the impression that in ’94 they made a deliberate effort to weed out the “old school” managers through forced retirement and buyout programs, and this is when a bunch of new managers and executives took over. New managers and executives that quickly set about dismantling WDW with extensive cost-cutting. I’d gladly have back some of the truly “good ol’ boy” managers if it would mean a return to pre-1994 maintenance/quality levels. I was under the impression that most of the current management were yes men groomed by Weiss/Rasulo and so while it may be a “good ol’ boy” network, it’s only from the last 17 years or so. You’re obviously much more an insider than me so I’m sure you have info I don’t, but that’s the story as I’ve heard it. Any corrections/clarifications there?

    Regarding “what in the sam hill is going on,” unless Staggs feels the need to forcibly de-Rasulo, it’s most likely that Al just no longer needs/wants to work, and C-level management is using this opportunity to cut some costs, isn’t it? Occam’s razor and all that.

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