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  1. #151

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    Re: Rumor: Is Tony Baxter being shown the door?

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974 View Post
    The saddest thing to me is that the man who developed the template for what a 21st century take on a MK-style park should be won't be part of the new resort in Shanghai. Not because he can't still do amazing work ... but because the company that employs him doesn't care.
    As I said earlier this is not just Disney. Major corporations in this country see their employees as expendable and don't care about how long your service to the company or the great things you have done. If they want you gone' You are gone. Things ain't the same way they used to be and it's very sad.

  2. #152

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    Re: Rumor: Is Tony Baxter being shown the door?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustysage View Post
    Marty got shown the door because his name was all over the failure of DCA. Guests thought it looked cheap and didn't want to pay Disney prices for it.
    There are plenty or reasons for Marty's quick retirement but I question DCA being the final "nail" so to speak. He managed to piss off the fans a few times both past and present (Small World Letter anyone?). But this brings up the question of fan "power". How much lobbying power do fans actually have when the online communities in general are a small fraction of Disneyland's attendance? I'm not picking a fight, I'm just saying there is far more under the surface of his retirement then the simple "DCA was a mess" excuse.

    It should be obvious to all of you reading this thread that there are factions within the Disney Company. And that certain folks are airing their dirty laundry and trying to promote an agenda. It has always been that way. Even in the days of Walt. Creative folks are classic drama queens. And current pressures in the company have highly placed folks across the company at each others throats as everyone fears for their jobs.
    This drives to the heart of the matter. The levels of uncertinty remind me of the various comments in the years following Walt's death. Jim Hill did a nice writeup on it when covering the history of WRE. The difference between "now" and "then" is that now the internet has provided a simple way to leak information. The credibility of the individual leaking doesn't matter with an anonymous leak as most rumors catch fire almost from the moment they are posted. Those leaking could be anyone, with any agenda, and often I see a LOT of bias on the leaks posted here in the forums. I am in the unique position of knowing several "camps" and I am well aware of the underground "campaigns" sometimes waged on sites like Micechat. One can only imagine what would have possibly "leaked" in the WED and early WDI days.

    I don't envy Al. He definately has his hands full trying to sort through and verify everything. I've heard for a while that many think it is just time until Tony's ax falls. In several instances he has been pitted directly against John Lasseter (Disney's current "golden boy") and with each "loss" is a loss of respect from those above him. It is very possible that John may have the primary influence in Tomorrowland's makeover... to me that is writing on the wall.
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


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  3. #153

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    Re: Rumor: Is Tony Baxter being shown the door?

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974 View Post
    Again, I'm trying to figure out what Tony does these days to justify his salary (making fanbois get hot and bothered doesn't count, sorry). Not to me or anyone here. But to TWDC. A rehab of Mr. Lincoln, a few new effects for Snow White ... they don't justify much of anything to the penny pinching folks in Burbank.
    My guess would be a contract that is well written in his favor. It might well be cheaper for Disney to marginalize him with small projects and let the clock run out versus buying him out of his contract.

  4. #154

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    Re: Rumor: Is Tony Baxter being shown the door?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by WDW1974
    The saddest thing to me is that the man who developed the template for what a 21st century take on a MK-style park should be won't be part of the new resort in Shanghai. Not because he can't still do amazing work ... but because the company that employs him doesn't care.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dustysage View Post
    I absolutely agree. Though I'm not sure he wanted to be part of HKDl or SDL. Those are shoestring projects. It is career suicide to be involved with those projects. Remember how much Tony was (and still is) blamed for the expense of DLP and its under-performance? Imagine what will befall those who Shepard Shanghai to its inevitable lackluster opening (at least if they don't get big bucks from Tokyo Land Company).
    I dunno. I think Tony craves importance. That's why it's been so sad to see him rendered so impotent. Now, I also don't think he'd have accepted HKDL being built as was, so who knows? I'm still convinced the park would have been terrific if they hadn't cut 60% out after announcing it. As for Shanghai, I have a very strong 'feeling' that OLC will indeed be a part of it (makes sense for them, for Disney and for the Chinese) and I strongly believe you'll see a park that's far closer to DLP at opening than HKDL was.

    Tony never should have been 'blamed' for anything. Euro Disney struggles at opening had to do with many factors, certainly spending so lavishly on the park was one ... but it was tiny compared to overbuilding resorts, not taking cultural differences serious enough and greatly overestimating Europeans desire to buy Mickey tees, Tink hoodies, and assorted plush!

    And opening during a huge economic downturn in Europe too!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustysage View Post
    And I don't think that Tom is immune as you believe. There are things that I won't post here which lead me to believe that he is worried as well. And it is probably a good thing for all those guys to be a bit worried.
    I don't think he's immune at all, just much safer than Tony, Joe R. or Eric. He has a big salary ... ego too. But handing him control over DLR on top of DLP generally tells me he's safe for the immediate (2-3 years at least) future.

    I don't hate the dude like some fanbois seem to ... I just don't get the idea he is a big talent. Writing is his biggest talent ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustysage View Post
    And I LOVE your "Pass the Pixie Dust" sig. Brilliant!
    Thanks ... it's old ... I don't post here very often these days, so I thought I'd resurrect it.

    ~Pass the Pixie Dust!~
    Last edited by WDW1974; 08-02-2010 at 08:38 PM. Reason: Forgot to mention recession in early 90s

  5. #155

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    Re: Rumor: Is Tony Baxter being shown the door?

    Quote Originally Posted by RCT3 View Post
    Broadway, do you realize that the person who founded D23 is a bigger Disney Fan than you are and probably will ever be?

    If you're goign to look at things so cynically, why do you even bother to waste your time being a Disney fan?
    When someone creates something with passion and vision, which then gets taken over by corporate strategists, the results are usually NOT what was initially intended.

    And, if REAL DISNEY FANS can’t be cynical about issues that directly concern them, then WHO CAN???

  6. #156

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    Re: Rumor: Is Tony Baxter being shown the door?

    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalFan View Post
    If you don't like the way Disney is going now, then don't be a Disney fan.l
    Disney was established because they set standards of quality, creativity and integrity that drew people to it. Telling them to take a hike if some corporate executive decides to ignore what made the company a success in the first place is NOT rational.

    The whole intent of any successful company is to build a base of fans who continue to want their products. You can't maintain success if you snub your nose at them.

  7. #157

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    Re: Rumor: Is Tony Baxter being shown the door?

    Quote Originally Posted by bfdf55 View Post
    Disney was established because they set standards of quality, creativity and integrity that drew people to it. Telling them to take a hike if some corporate executive decides to ignore what made the company a success in the first place is NOT rational.
    Exactly. "Disney, love it or leave it" is another variation of "if you criticize Disney, you can't love it," and "how can you love Disney if you criticize it?" They are valid as expressions of personal emotion from those who feel threatened, defensive or angry that a beloved icon is being maligned, but fallacious as arguments in the debate about the decline of quality of a multi-billion-dollar Corporation.

    The irony is that for over two decades, the real attacks on the quality standards and soul, that generations have beloved as "Disney," has come from within the Disney Corporation itself.

    Last edited by Mr Wiggins; 08-02-2010 at 10:27 PM.
    "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
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  8. #158

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    Re: Rumor: Is Tony Baxter being shown the door?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
    The irony is that for over two decades, the real attacks on the quality standards and soul, that generations have beloved as "Disney," has come from within the Disney Corporation itself.
    If you listen closely to his speech, I think Animatronic Lincoln forsaw this!
    it's a sale of candy and a sale of plush, it's a sale of toys and disney stuff
    there's so much that we sell, that it's time we tell, it's a plush plush sale!

  9. #159

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    Re: Rumor: Is Tony Baxter being shown the door?

    Quote Originally Posted by bfdf55 View Post
    Just as has been pointed out on other threads, DISNEY DOES NOTHING FOR THEIR “FANS” UNLESS THEY CAN MAKE MONEY.

    D23 was ENTIRELY developed in order to tap into the “fan” money that the likes of NFFC, online web sites and other sources are “taking away from Disney”. If they didn’t think they could make BIG money (pin trading, beanie babies, Disneyana Convention, etc.), there’s no way that Disney would be involved in D23.
    Well technically they did let everyone in free on their birthday and that didnt cost them anything and was for there fans. Also you get free buttons at disneyland, a free new ballon if yours pops or deflats regardless if it was bought that day...interesting story our ballon deflated on our last day leaving and we didnt even have admittance into the park and a lady still let my wife into the park (for free) and go change out her ballon...they also have free entertainment in DTD....sorry to derail but i saw this and just had to make my statement.

    Disney isnt evil, they are just a company and by nature companies have an evil reputation in todays world.

    As for Tony being shown the door i agree with Flynn a while back that he could take a paycut...I mean it worked for the Miami Heat.

    Also and I am just pulling this out of left field but we still have a third gate that could go up maybe Tony? We still have expansions? I know the DLR is small in comparission but if Iger and Tom and everyone and their grandma want to show Disneys true strength it starts with the Disneyland Resort so the Disneyland Resort is going to need some strong (multiple) guys there overseeing the resort....IMHO of course.
    "I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known."-Walt Disney

    Hope I was helpful!

  10. #160

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    Re: Rumor: Is Tony Baxter being shown the door?

    Quote Originally Posted by bfdf55 View Post
    Disney was established because they set standards of quality, creativity and integrity that drew people to it. Telling them to take a hike if some corporate executive decides to ignore what made the company a success in the first place is NOT rational.
    Well stated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
    Exactly. "Disney, love it or leave it" is another variation of "if you criticize Disney, you can't love it," and "how can you love Disney if you criticize it?" They are valid as expressions of personal emotion from those who feel threatened, defensive or angry that a beloved icon is being maligned, but fallacious as arguments in the debate about the decline of quality of a multi-billion-dollar Corporation.

    The irony is that for over two decades, the real attacks on the quality standards and soul, that generations have beloved as "Disney," has come from within the Disney Corporation itself.
    Precisely what this thread is all about, isn't it?

    Pushing senior executives too quickly out the door who helped create those quality standards and soul is solid proof of those attacks from within. Ditching the legacy in favor of bolstering short-term profits is often short-sighted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lore View Post
    If you listen closely to his speech, I think Animatronic Lincoln forsaw this!


    Quote Originally Posted by d.N.d. View Post
    Well technically they did let everyone in free on their birthday and that didnt cost them anything and was for there fans. Also you get free buttons at disneyland, a free new ballon if yours pops or deflats regardless if it was bought that day...interesting story our ballon deflated on our last day leaving and we didnt even have admittance into the park and a lady still let my wife into the park (for free) and go change out her ballon...they also have free entertainment in DTD....sorry to derail but i saw this and just had to make my statement.

    Disney isnt evil, they are just a company and by nature companies have an evil reputation in todays world.

    As for Tony being shown the door i agree with Flynn a while back that he could take a paycut...I mean it worked for the Miami Heat.

    Also and I am just pulling this out of left field but we still have a third gate that could go up maybe Tony? We still have expansions? I know the DLR is small in comparission but if Iger and Tom and everyone and their grandma want to show Disneys true strength it starts with the Disneyland Resort so the Disneyland Resort is going to need some strong (multiple) guys there overseeing the resort....IMHO of course.
    I don't even know where to begin with this.

    The "free birthday" promotion was loss-leader, or as wiki describes it, "a product sold at a low price (at cost or below cost) to stimulate other, profitable sales." Disney did this deliberately to pump up attendance in the hopes of also pumping up sales inside the parks.

    Free balloons are cheap and an easy way to hand out those pixie-dusted warm fuzzies to help strengthen lasting positive impressions, especially at the end of the day when visitors are more likely to remember it long-term. (You certainly did.)

    I know where you can get ten-to-one odds on Disney being evil. Simply a matter of where you're at on the corporate food chain.

    And as for any Imagineering executive voluntarily taking a pay cut to save their careers... no one even knows if Tony would be open to that, should the possibility ever arise. Personally, I can't imagine him doing so, given how hard he worked to reach that level of executive compensation in the first place. (Plus, those olive trees don't fertilize themselves, you know.)

    But more importantly, I can't imagine Disney even making the offer, to Tony or any other senior executive past a certain age and/or salary. As I stated previously, the overcompensation excuse is simply that, an excuse to usher someone out the front door. It's a Catch-22 situation which deliberately by design has no viable solution. "You make too much money, but you wouldn't be happy doing the job for less. So, you're out."

    It's not a genuine business dilemma. It's a no-win fallacious argument designed to give cover to the chicken shyte business leaders who are too cowardly to admit their true motivations. They know what they're doing is garbage, but they're forced to comply or else become a termination target themselves. The voluntary pay cut scenario is a myth being perpetuated mostly by defenders of corporate greed and out of control offshoring of American jobs. In reality, it doesn't exist at all.

    And regarding multiple Imagineers managing the DLR... those days will soon be history. The third park is years away from getting the green light, and DCA won't be getting Phase II additions for years to come. Expansion inside DL will probably happen after 2012, but it won't be anywhere near the same scope or size of DCA's changes and additions.

    In truth, the DLR is just too small compared to the other Disney parks and resorts to warrant more than one Imagineer to oversee its creative direction. Given that the other Disney parks are being managed by only one Imagineer per resort (save for Rohde and DAK), it doesn't make any fiscal sense for Burbank to single out Disneyland to be managed by only one Imagineer.

    Burbank does not need to demonstrate its "true strength" by singling out Disneyland for special treatment. Disneyland is the original park, situated closest to "ground zero" of the entertainment industry, and attended mostly by local AP holders who keep the coffers flowing, even in tough economic times. Disney doesn't need to keep Tony Baxter around to work on small special refurb projects; having Fitzgerald assigned as portfolio manager, with Lasseter hovering nearby as creative advisor, is enough for one little park.

    But pushing Tony out the door completely, IMHO, is stupid. There is so much experience and enthusiasm he can instill and inspire in the younger generation of Imagineers through teaching and mentoring. Losing Tony through early retirement would be an immeasurable loss. Giving him Marty's old position as Imagineering Ambassador would be another way to nurture Disney's legacy and keep it from withering away. It all goes back to strengthening that long-term fan base which bfdf55 referenced earlier. Tony would be instrumental in this regard as P&R's goodwill ambassador.

    Replacing Tony as creative exec of DL wouldn't be the end of the park. But kicking him to the curb would be a huge loss for the Mouse.
    "Dope smoking insects and reckless driving always work." -- Cousin Orville

  11. #161

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    Re: Rumor: Is Tony Baxter being shown the door?

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy View Post
    Replacing Tony as creative exec of DL wouldn't be the end of the park. But kicking him to the curb would be a huge loss for the Mouse.
    I do not think Disney sees it that way at all with any of its Imagineers. The way the company is moving, they do not need a creative force. They only need a team that can sign off on building what was already created and designed by people at the studio.

    One fear I have about the success of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is that it may convince Disney that it does not need Imagineers, in the traditional sense. The involvement of the set design team from Warner Bros. could potentially just get Disney to have set designers do double duty and just translate their set designs to the theme park environment. Technical work, such as engineering and architecture could much more easily be outsourced.

  12. #162

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    Re: Rumor: Is Tony Baxter being shown the door?

    Quote Originally Posted by lazyboy97O View Post
    One fear I have about the success of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is that it may convince Disney that it does not need Imagineers, in the traditional sense. The involvement of the set design team from Warner Bros. could potentially just get Disney to have set designers do double duty and just translate their set designs to the theme park environment. Technical work, such as engineering and architecture could much more easily be outsourced.
    I know that various factions inside Burbank have been toying with the idea of switching WDI to the Uni Creative outsourcing model for the past several years, which is what you basically described. For whatever reason, Glendale execs have always been able to defeat it. But now with so many old school types leaving the company, it makes me wonder if the UC model won't gain support again, and finally be implemented. And if that's the direction Disney wants to take, then I could see the relevance of Dusty's earlier comment about Fitzgerald being concerned for his future, and lacking immunity to any impending changes.

    If the UC model is seriously being considered for Imagineering again, then Tony wouldn't be the only creative exec in jeopardy of losing his job. Anyone not actively working on the design phase of a new project would be at risk, especially those with high salaries and, uh, advancing years, like Tom Fitzgerald, Eric Jacobson, and Joe Rohde. Very few execs remain at Uni Creative since their massive downsizing several years ago, so it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect the same type of restructuring for Imagineering.

    It never occurred to me that this might be the source of Imagineering angst lately. Excellent observation, lazyboy.
    "Dope smoking insects and reckless driving always work." -- Cousin Orville

  13. #163

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    Re: Rumor: Is Tony Baxter being shown the door?

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy View Post
    I know that various factions inside Burbank have been toying with the idea of switching WDI to the Uni Creative outsourcing model for the past several years, which is what you basically described. For whatever reason, Glendale execs have always been able to defeat it. But now with so many old school types leaving the company, it makes me wonder if the UC model won't gain support again, and finally be implemented. And if that's the direction Disney wants to take, then I could see the relevance of Dusty's earlier comment about Fitzgerald being concerned for his future, and lacking immunity to any impending changes.

    If the UC model is seriously being considered for Imagineering again, then Tony wouldn't be the only creative exec in jeopardy of losing his job. Anyone not actively working on the design phase of a new project would be at risk, especially those with high salaries and, uh, advancing years, like Tom Fitzgerald, Eric Jacobson, and Joe Rohde. Very few execs remain at Uni Creative since their massive downsizing several years ago, so it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect the same type of restructuring for Imagineering.

    It never occurred to me that this might be the source of Imagineering angst lately. Excellent observation, lazyboy.
    Can you provide any insight as why Imagineering has been able to hold off on becoming much more like Universal Creative?

  14. #164

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    Re: Rumor: Is Tony Baxter being shown the door?

    Quote Originally Posted by lazyboy97O View Post
    Can you provide any insight as why Imagineering has been able to hold off on becoming much more like Universal Creative?
    I wish I could, but I have no idea why it hasn't happened.

    It was a main topic of chatter several years back, before the Pixar acquisition was announced in Jan 2006. Several net celebrities were certain that the massive re-org and downsizing of Imagineering was on the horizon, in late 2005, but nothing actually materialized. Instead, we've seen a steady loss of Imagineers one by one instead of in one fell swoop, which began in earnest after Don Goodman became President in 2000. Even though the management of P&R was restructured in 2007, with some folks like Goodman taking new positions, and others like Bruce Vaughn being promoted, nothing like the UC major downsizing has occurred.

    Perhaps Disney has decided to achieve the same end goal more slowly over time, instead of quickly with one gigantic layoff like Uni did. It wouldn't surprise me to see more creative execs being escorted out the door, between now and the completion of DCA's Phase I in 2012. Other than the new Shanghai park, MK's Fantasyland expansion, and the three additional lands to HKDL, there's nothing truly major on the horizon for the Disney parks.

    Given their cost-cutting mindset these days, why would Disney continue to permanently house so many high-maintenance Imagineers, with the wide availability of creative and experienced former Imagineers such as the Kirks, Eddie Sotto, Rick Rothschild, et al, who would gladly work as contractors and consultants on new projects? I don't understand what the benefit is for Disney, in spending millions of dollars every year for so many VPs, Sr VPs, and Exec VPs to manage just one small business unit out of the entire corporation.

    Maybe the Uni Creative model is finally heading for Imagineering, now that Potter has proven so successful.
    "Dope smoking insects and reckless driving always work." -- Cousin Orville

  15. #165

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    Re: Rumor: Is Tony Baxter being shown the door?

    This sounds like the exact opposite of the formation of WED, doesn't it? Didn't most of the original Imagineers start in Hollywood?

    The day there are no more Disney Imagineers will be a really, really sad day.

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