Having read Imagineer Tony Baxter's "Open Letter", one can't help but interpret this was not an easy decision ... but a personal decision that he was prepared to do for quite some time (& yes, this is my opinion). Will the Walt Disney Co have other Imagineers like Tony Baxter? Yes - because they already have them, but also No - because none of them have as many years within the Company as Tony Baxter (which afforded him the rightfully deserved clout). If this is Tony Baxter's retirement? Has has earned it (along with a Window on Main Street).
As Walt Disney Theme Park Fans, we have two choices -
Bicker amongst ourselves here online (if the Walt Disney Co is aware of the disappointment this news brings, let them sweat over publishing the "damage control" for the public to digest)
Make our feelings known offline (if you can afford to join D23, as well as attend D23 Conventions? please stop kissing a r s e and start asking "real questions")
Either path you take, the next time you visit a Walt Disney Theme Park, wear a TEAM BAXTER t-shirt (would anyone like to volunteer creating them?). Having a photo opportunity with Walt Disney Theme Park Management? Wear that TEAM BAXTER t-shirt proudly (and make sure Management sees it). I have to say that 47 years is a very long time to be working creatively within any Company AND having to adjust to various Management Shifts. I feel that it is true those Imagineers who worked under Walt Disney's guidance valued that experience (Tony Baxter was one of the first 2nd Generation Imagineers who gained a wealth of experience working alongside Claude Coats, Marc Davis, John Hench, etc - whomever is left in Imagineering doesn't have the same knowledge and experience - and to top that? There no longer is a Walt Disney at the Company to guide Imagineers).
I believe that Tony Baxter was the last of the "Imagineers who Guided". If those Imagineers at the Walt Disney Company can only communicate with him via what is "approved and accepted" by Walt Disney Co Management? Then that has to be thee worst environment for anyone who has creative skills. This (& its only speculative until we notice certain things not taking place in Walt Disney Theme Parks) could bring about an exodus of Imagineers on par with the exodus Don Bluth ushered at Walt Disney Animation back in the late 70's (the exception being Universal Studios would love to hire former Walt Disney Imagineers. So would Cedar Fair, or Six Flags, or any Themed Resort! Now it makes sense that a "Consultant" can go work anywhere they want to without having to tolerate problems with Management at any Company).
The only questions I have are -
Who will mentor the remaining Imagineers?
Will we see our Favorite Rides (& Areas) taken care of properly?
When will Tony Baxter finally get his Window on Main Street?
Are We allowed to e-mail Bruce Vaughn's office and tell him we truly think this sucks?