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  1. #1

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    The good and the bad about George Kalogridis

    The following is from dlrptoday.com, a website about Disneyland Paris.


    Paris operations chief named Disneyland president

    Tuesday, 13th October 2009 00:21 GMT


    Our resortís own George Kalogridis, chief operating officer for Disneyland Paris, has just been named as the new president of Disneyland Resort in California.


    The coveted position in California opened up after previous president Ed Grier stepped down last week, right on schedule at 3 years into the job.
    For newly-promoted Kalogridis, this also ends a three-year reign. George became Chief Operating Officer (COO, or French title, Directeur Gťnťral Adjoint: Opťrations) for Euro Disney SCA, operating group of Disneyland Paris, back in 2006 after Karl Holz was promoted to Chief Executive Officer.


    In that time, weíve seen new parades, new shows and no less than six new attractions ó including of course, the formidable Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Weíve also enjoyed a renewed focus on the resortís upkeep and details, increasingly wonderful Cast Members, new initiatives like Extra Magic Hours and E-Tickets, and in pure number terms, the most successful years of the resortís life to date.

    Meanwhile, characters have taken over some of the magic of the original park, proper entertainment has been shunned in favour of street dance-alongs, attractions have been forced into reduced operating hours, hotel pools have stayed closed until 3pm, the official website has remained incredibly poor, and progress, generally, at Walt Disney Studios Park has been disappointingly slow and half-hearted. And of course, during his entire run as COO, George Kalogridis would never have seen the front of Disney Studio 1 ó it being flanked first by Chicken Little and Cars advertisements, then later a ďrefurbishmentĒ covering for the past 14 months.

    Overseeing such a large programme of expansion should certainly have set him in good step for the continuing billion-dollar expansion and improvements still ahead at Disneyís California Adventure park, if his time overseeing the opening of that park didnít already ó he was their senior vice president of operations first, from 2000 to 2002. Further back, he has history in Paris as one of the original Cast Members on the pre-opening development team in 1988.

    The past three years have been spectacularly successful for Disneyland Paris, and we can only hope that the incoming COO is somebody who knows exactly what Disneyland should be ó (preferably the Californian or Japanese version, eh?) ó and how to achieve that kind of quality more consistently in Paris.

    Euro Disney SCA have yet to announce a replacement.

    UPDATE (01:46 GMT) ó The OC Register ďAround DisneyĒ blog has just posted an exclusive Q&A with George Kalogridis, with several interesting comments on the similarities between the California and Paris resorts and some operational tricks learnt in Paris. Hereís an excerpt:
    Q. What have you learned from other resorts and your previous stint here that you can bring to the new job?
    A. Probably, the one thing thatís most interesting is Disneyland Paris and Disneyland California are the two sites that are the most similar. Both have two theme parks, resort hotels and a retail-entertainment center. Both are in an urban environment. Secondly Ö in the last three years, Iíve opened a new major attraction each year in my time in Paris. So, I think I also have very recent experience opening a big new attraction. I see the same opportunity here.

    Q. What lessons did you learn from the similarities of Disneyland and Disneyland Paris?
    A. I think the dynamic of guest visitors and whether or not they choose to cross over to the other park and what makes them choose to do that. Itís an interesting dynamic. Thereís no recipe for it. But itís a big issue as to how you operate. I think we had some learning in Paris. For example, turning the direction of the parade made a big difference in terms of the crush exiting to get to the other park. Again, itís not that itís the right thing or the wrong thing here, but itís learning. Ö I think the Paris site and this site are the only ones where guests can walk between two parks without a mode of transport.

    Q. How do you see your role with guests?
    A. I hope, first of all, to be able to meet many of them. Ö My job has to make sure everything is in place for everyone to take care of the guests and the product.

    Q. As Orange Countyís largest employer, how do you see your role in the community?
    A. Itís obviously an important role. Ö I think my experience tells me that weíve got great relationships with the government, the city and the county and Iím confident that they will continue in the future.
    And some good news for Disneyland Resort fans (and MiceAge columnists) ó George states very specifically that ďIím in the parks and hotels more than Iím not. Iím a visible person. [...] My goal is to be very visible. And in my time with the company, thatís always proven to be something thatís doable.Ē
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  2. #2

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    Re: The good and the bad about George Kalogridis

    Whats the Bad?

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    Re: The good and the bad about George Kalogridis

    France?

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    Re: The good and the bad about George Kalogridis

    When I said 'bad' I was refering to the paragraph saying:

    "Meanwhile, characters have taken over some of the magic of the original park, proper entertainment has been shunned in favour of street dance-alongs, attractions have been forced into reduced operating hours, hotel pools have stayed closed until 3pm, the official website has remained incredibly poor, and progress, generally, at Walt Disney Studios Park has been disappointingly slow and half-hearted. And of course, during his entire run as COO, George Kalogridis would never have seen the front of Disney Studio 1 — it being flanked first by Chicken Little and Cars advertisements, then later a “refurbishment” covering for the past 14 months".
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  5. #5

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    Re: The good and the bad about George Kalogridis

    Give this guy a break. He just started the job and already some of you are looking for the "bad" in him. Geez, is the glass always half empty for some of you guys?

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    Re: The good and the bad about George Kalogridis

    Quote Originally Posted by mac81962 View Post
    Give this guy a break. He just started the job and already some of you are looking for the "bad" in him. Geez, is the glass always half empty for some of you guys?

    I don't think people have said anything that would lead to the "half empty" camp yet. People are just making simple observations from the news and press.


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    Re: The good and the bad about George Kalogridis

    ". . .My goal is to be very visible. And in my time with the company, thatís always proven to be something thatís doable.Ē

    That could be read as putting on notice the famously reclusive management corps currently in TDA: "Don't tell me you _can't_ get out there with the CMs and Guests."

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    Re: The good and the bad about George Kalogridis

    Everyone has a history, baggage they carry with them. Past decisions affect future ones.

    Personally, it concerns me that he feels Paris and DLR are "the most similar". Really? The things he cites as his reasoning are anecdotal at best. By the same line of thinking, I could say that DLR and Tokyo are very similar (two parks, hotels, entertainment center, urban area). But they're not. It's dangerous to me to oversimplify the unique attributes of each resort.

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    Re: The good and the bad about George Kalogridis

    I can understand where he's coming from, my impression of the parks is that those two are more similar than the others, but every park is still a different beast. That was the one sentence that raised a tiny red flag.

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    Re: The good and the bad about George Kalogridis

    Quote Originally Posted by engine5972 View Post
    ". . .My goal is to be very visible. And in my time with the company, thatís always proven to be something thatís doable.Ē
    Could this mean that he's going to either:

    a) Create a cardboard cutout of himself and have a cast member move it to a different location each day.

    b) He's going to have a face character made of himself and have them stand at the gates to great everyone

    c) He's going to actually go out and mingle.

    Here's hopeing it's C.
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    Re: The good and the bad about George Kalogridis

    Sometimes when people say things in interviews, it's not exactly what they really mean. It's just thoughts that may seem like a good thing to say but often... it doesn't come out the way we want.

    I'm sure the raised flags are only in our minds. He was just trying to reassure us that he's capable and properly trained for the job... maybe more trained that many presidents we've had in the past. :::cough PRESSLER cough:::


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  12. #12

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    Re: The good and the bad about George Kalogridis

    Quote Originally Posted by engine5972 View Post
    ". . .My goal is to be very visible. And in my time with the company, thatís always proven to be something thatís doable.Ē

    That could be read as putting on notice the famously reclusive management corps currently in TDA: "Don't tell me you _can't_ get out there with the CMs and Guests."
    I really hope he does put them on notice. They need to get out in the parks more often. Even if for just an hour a day. No spreadsheet or report can beat talking to the leads on attractions or lands nor watching how guests react/interact with things.

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    Re: The good and the bad about George Kalogridis

    Quote Originally Posted by OogieBoogie View Post
    Could this mean that he's going to either:

    a) Create a cardboard cutout of himself and have a cast member move it to a different location each day.

    b) He's going to have a face character made of himself and have them stand at the gates to great everyone

    c) He's going to actually go out and mingle.

    Here's hopeing it's C.
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