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  1. #1

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    How Much power does John Lasseter really have at the DLR?

    I hear a lot of people mention John Lasseter name all over the resort and here on miceage but how much power does he have at the Disneyland Resort if any?

    or do they ask for his input on certain attractions?

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    Re: How Much power does John Lasseter really have at the DLR?

    Well he's WDI's principle creative advisor, which in and of itself it pretty impressive. However he also reports directly to Bob Iger instead of WDI's chief creative officer, which gives him substantial power in that he is closer tied to the people in the Walt Disney Company which make the financial decisions regarding which projects are green lit. This arrangement was made during the Pixar/Disney as one of the concessions by Disney.

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    Re: How Much power does John Lasseter really have at the DLR?

    ^ Sorry, but... no. John has no ties with (or power over) "the people in the Walt Disney Company which make the financial decisions." In matters of the parks, John works for Bob and John advises WDI, period. John is able to leverage his position with Bob to call creative shots as long as Bob permits it (which is to say, as long as John's work doesn't blow the bank and keeps making the Company money), but Bob owns the lever. Creatives do not call financial or strategic shots at WDC.
    "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
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    Re: How Much power does John Lasseter really have at the DLR?

    ^True, but that's not what I said. I said he was closer tied to the people who make financial decisions (but never that he was one those people). And this is true, that fact that he reports directly to Iger makes it so that he has much more sway (being a kind of WDI whisper in Iger's ear compared to the majority of WDI executives that are very far removed from the company's power structure) than an average WDI executive. Iger and the board of directors may pull the leaver, but I assure you if they (the board of directors and Iger) are looking to spend (and thus make more) money in the parks and have a table of WDI potential projects to choose from, Iger's going to go to Lasseter first for his opinion and give no doubt more sway to it than a random creative exec.

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    Re: How Much power does John Lasseter really have at the DLR?

    As of right now he has pretty much unlimited pull within the resort. Not only is he chief creative officer in WDI he only answers to Iger, the CEO and final decision maker in the company.

    Denying his position is confusing to me.

    BTW Lasseter answering to iger was actually part of the pixar/disney deal.

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    Re: How Much power does John Lasseter really have at the DLR?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirton View Post
    Denying his position is confusing to me.
    I don't think Mr. Wiggins is trying to deny his position, but arguing that financial executives have final and highest power at the Walt Disney Company. While this is true, and a substantial amount of financial play is involved with any decision not including any additional creative imput, I would still say Lassester has they highest creative authority in WDI and having such a direct line to the financial power structure (via him working directly for Iger) would put him in a place of highest power for a creative executive.

    However still, there is merit to the fact that Disney has unfortunately arranged itself like a true business (when it should be in fact a creative and entertainment endeavor) and creative call must be okay'ed by the financial powers and that the bottom line (and in particular the stock holders) unfortunately come first.

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    Re: How Much power does John Lasseter really have at the DLR?

    Well finances usually dictate what can and cannot be done, even walt was victim to this fact, but the billion dollars that was just dropped on DCA (thanks in large part to lasseter) is proof that money really isn't an object when passion and creativity have control.

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    Re: How Much power does John Lasseter really have at the DLR?

    Quote Originally Posted by TTN View Post
    ^True, but that's not what I said. I said he was closer tied to the people who make financial decisions (but never that he was one those people). And this is true, that fact that he reports directly to Iger makes it so that he has much more sway (being a kind of WDI whisper in Iger's ear compared to the majority of WDI executives that are very far removed from the company's power structure) than an average WDI executive. Iger and the board of directors may pull the leaver, but I assure you if they (the board of directors and Iger) are looking to spend (and thus make more) money in the parks and have a table of WDI potential projects to choose from, Iger's going to go to Lasseter first for his opinion and give no doubt more sway to it than a random creative exec.
    My bad, now I get what you're saying. My only note is that in general, the power and influence that John has in regard to Disney parks is enormously overestimated on these boards. John isn't "the closest thing to Walt," because in the post-Eisner Disney Company there is no position for a Walt, or anyone like him. The Disney executive team hires creatives to execute on the long-and short-term plans for the Company, to the goals that the executives decide, and within the timeframes and the budgets that the execs greenlight.

    Creatives at the Disney Corporation are essentially wrists for hire -- in the case of John, an extremely talented, influential and (at this time) bankable wrist, but a wrist nonetheless. By virtue of the Pixar acquisition he can be a key contributor to what the Company develops for its parks, but his position is not as a mover and shaker, nor as a long-range planner or visionary. That's not a comment on John, but on the fact that the Company simply isn't structured that way, nor does its internal philosophy allow it.
    "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
    Disney may have finally found the grail. You don't need
    imagination or art. All you need is a brand."

    - Neil Gabler


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    Re: How Much power does John Lasseter really have at the DLR?

    True, but in Walt's day finances were only considered to just keep the company alive. More often than not the company barely turned a profit until Walt's later years, basically floating along with Walt's creative whims. I'm often surprised Roy didn't die first with all the stress Walt no doubt put him under trying to keep the company's head above water! But, the company created great things since it spent no expense on the art form it was trying to perfect. In a sense finances were only a limiting factor, not a driving factor.

    Today the Walt Disney company is primarily driven by the bottom line and the increase in quarterly profits from quarter-to-quarter. Such large investment as DCA are seen to executives as an investment which will eventually pay off in the form of increases in profits (as already seen by DCA attendance this is working). No doubt what they have created at DCA is a great creative project, but it was underscored by a wish for DCA to not just be the "plus 1" park people added on to there tickets for a little extra or spent a few hours in, but instead be a money maker all to itself.

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    Re: How Much power does John Lasseter really have at the DLR?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirton View Post
    As of right now he has pretty much unlimited pull within the resort. Not only is he chief creative officer in WDI he only answers to Iger, the CEO and final decision maker in the company.

    Denying his position is confusing to me.

    BTW Lasseter answering to iger was actually part of the pixar/disney deal.
    I think the issue is that, mostly in the other thread, you seem to be coming across as trying to argue that Lasster's position of power is de jure when it is more de facto. He does not officially have the power to make the creative or financial decisions on these projects. He also not in charge of Walt Disney Imagineering, in either manner, because he is not involved in all projects. His position is that of a sort of dream job. He gets to give his input on the projects he wishes to involve himself and is not required to be involved with or oversee the other ongoing projects. What he has is a large amount of influence since Disney needs to justify the massive amount of money they spent to get him back into the Company.

    Elsewhere there have been reports that the relationship between Iger and Lasseter is getting strained. At some point Iger even apparently got cold feet and wanted to scale back Cars Land, only dropping the idea when Lasseter threatened to quit.

    I think after Cars Land, his involvement may lessen. The man does a lot between his actual responsibilities at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. Combined with a wife who is concerned that he is putting his health at risk by stretching himself so much, I would not at all be surprised if he does start to do less to spend more time with his family (and in this case its not a polite way of saying kicked to the curb) and vineyard.

  11. #11

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    Re: How Much power does John Lasseter really have at the DLR?

    I would agree with most of that wiggins, as it is a different company. The difference is that Lasseter has his hand in so many facets of the company and the influence (like in the case of Iger and Roy) where he has become the closest thing to Walt. He isn't just a powerless idea man. When he wants something in the parks, there isn't much standing in his way, and that's how he wanted it when he structured the deal with disney.

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    Re: How Much power does John Lasseter really have at the DLR?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
    Creatives at the Disney Corporation are essentially wrists for hire -- in the case of John, an extremely talented, influential and (at this time) bankable wrist, but a wrist nonetheless. By virtue of the Pixar acquisition he can be a key contributor to what the Company develops for its parks, but his position is not as a mover and shaker, nor as a long-range planner or visionary. That's not a comment on John, but on the fact that the Company simply isn't structured that way, nor does its internal philosophy allow it.
    Yeah, this is unfortunately true, generally speaking, and I agree that Lasseter's power is over exaggerated. I thought (although I don't know, so feel free to fill me in if you do) that following the Pixar acquisition Lasseter was placed in his current position for a substantial amount of time under contractual agreement (I would assume this would mean they can't fire him, which would give him a slight head up in influence since they can't just easily drop him like yesterday's garbage). Of course in the case of WDI, since he's just an advisor, even if they can't fire him they could always ignore him, but with Disney studios, since he is the creative head of that division I feel that he might have more autonomy than someone that could be fired on a whim. But then again I might be wrong about his ability to be fired to moved.

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    Re: How Much power does John Lasseter really have at the DLR?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirton View Post
    He isn't just a powerless idea man. When he wants something in the parks, there isn't much standing in his way, and that's how he wanted it when he structured the deal with disney.
    Definitely John is not a powerless idea man, but when he wants something in the parks, he has to sell it to Bob. And John didn't structure the Pixar deal, Pixar and Disney executives did. John had input.


    Quote Originally Posted by TTN View Post
    But then again I might be wrong about his ability to be fired to moved.
    John would have to bomb bigtime, with big bucks, and more than once, to get anywhere near that position. Even then, I can't imagine him being fired or moved for cause -- the traditions of this screwy town being what they are, people "leave voluntarily" for various reasons.

    John has his detractors and supporters inside like anyone else. But he's an outrageously good story man, and in a business that makes everyone a little crazy (and makes most people a lot crazy), he's about as sane and goodhearted as you're going to find on that level in the hierarchy -- and as passionate about giving the audience a good show.
    Last edited by Mr Wiggins; 06-26-2012 at 10:11 PM.
    "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
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  14. #14

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    Re: How Much power does John Lasseter really have at the DLR?

    Lazy you're making a lot of assumptions about what the Chief Creative Adviser of WDI does. All of my observations are made from the facts of Lasseter's deal, position, and work produced. In his position he's overseen hundreds of changes, from how the parks are upkept to entire new lands. His position isn't just sitting in an office drawing things or coming up with ideas. He actually oversees and advises WDI projects, although i think he's been a bit consumed with the DLR (which is what we are talking about). He's been involved for a long time, even helping with the design of Pirates Lair, not that is winning any favor points. Al even mentioned that he basically has moved into the resort, even after the opening of Carsland. I think he's going to be here for a while, but we'll see.

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    Re: How Much power does John Lasseter really have at the DLR?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirton View Post
    Lazy you're making a lot of assumptions about what the Chief Creative Adviser of WDI does. All of my observations are made from the facts of Lasseter's deal, position, and work produced. In his position he's overseen hundreds of changes, from how the parks are upkept to entire new lands. His position isn't just sitting in an office drawing things or coming up with ideas. He actually oversees and advises WDI projects, although i think he's been a bit consumed with the DLR (which is what we are talking about). He's been involved for a long time, even helping with the design of Pirates Lair, not that is winning any favor points. Al even mentioned that he basically has moved into the resort, even after the opening of Carsland. I think he's going to be here for a while, but we'll see.
    Nowhere did I insinuate that he is "just sitting in an office drawing things or coming up with ideas." Overseeing and advising is a different concept from actually being in charge. In practice the may look like being charge, but there is a subtle different that can be quite meaningful.

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