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Thread: Tony Baxter

  1. #61

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    Re: Tony Baxter

    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?



    C J


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  2. #62

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    Re: Tony Baxter

    Quote Originally Posted by AB Born View Post
    Response to his letter:

    From: WDI Communications

    Date: February 1, 2013, 8:02:16 AM PST

    Subject: Organizational Announcement - Tony Baxter


    We'd like to share that, as of today, Tony Baxter is leaving his role as a creative development executive to become a part-time advisor to Imagineering. Tony began his 47-year Disney career as an ice cream scooper on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland while in college. After joining WDI in 1970, he was heavily involved in the concepts for some of our most iconic attractions such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Star Tours, Splash Mountain and Indiana Jones. He also oversaw the creative aspects of the "original" New Fantasyland at Disneyland and was the creative lead for our second international park, Disneyland Paris.


    In addition to his extensive portfolio work, Tony has long been an enthusiastic mentor to new Imagineers and will continue this mission in his new role. Like so many Imagineering greats before him, his creativity, passion and knowledge will have a remarkable impact on the next generations of WDI dreamers and doers. We thank Tony for his
    immeasurable contributions to the Disney legacy so far, and look forward to his next chapter.


    Bruce | Craig


    TRANSLATION - it's just Walt Disney Co propaganda & damage control to thwart upset Disney Theme Park Fans from being irritated by Tony Baxter being pushed out of his Imagineering position (seriously, if you are a D23 Member attending any D23 Conventions in 2013 - stop kissing a r s e and start asking "real questions" - i.e. why is Meg Crofton still in charge of Theme Parks? why was Tony Baxter forced out of his Imagineering job?)



    C J


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  3. #63

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    Re: Tony Baxter

    Quote Originally Posted by darkamor View Post
    ...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.
    Sadly, this is nothing new. The political toxicity of WDI's work environment has been ongoing for a quarter century, since the advent of the Eisner regime.
    "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."

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  4. #64

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    Re: Tony Baxter

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
    Sadly, this is nothing new. The political toxicity of WDI's work environment has been ongoing for a quarter century, since the advent of the Eisner regime.
    I assume that by "Eisner regime", you are referring to the post Frank Wells era. During the period when Eisner and Wells were a dynamic partnership, Imagnieering had it's second generation heyday. It was only after the death of Wells and Eisner's heart surgery that everything began to head downhill.

  5. #65

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    Re: Tony Baxter

    Quote Originally Posted by bfdf55 View Post
    I assume that by "Eisner regime", you are referring to the post Frank Wells era. During the period when Eisner and Wells were a dynamic partnership, Imagnieering had it's second generation heyday. It was only after the death of Wells and Eisner's heart surgery that everything began to head downhill.
    Unfortunately, the seeds of the post-Wells culture changes had already been planted before his death.

  6. #66

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    Re: Tony Baxter

    For those who would like to show their support for Mr. Tony Baxter, check these out...they're basic, but get the point across. I'm not a protesting type, but Mr. Baxter is a class act and has true vision and I am sorry if the company is going in another (read: cheaper) direction with the parks...makes me nervous for the future.
    http://www.zazzle.com/team_baxter_t_shirt-235060052816653253


    http://www.zazzle.com/team_baxter_button-145232236669423856


    http://www.zazzle.com/team_baxter_hat-233816905327489888
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  7. #67

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    Re: Tony Baxter

    Folks, please, Tony is old. He retired, but was asked to stay and consult because he is a valuable member of the company. He was really tired of coming in everyday and wiping noses as is the job of a VP. He has passed that hat to a younger man with a full case of Kleenex.

    He was not shown the door. No Worldwide Security guard appeared at his desk with a cardboard box to "walk him out."

    Tony appreciates the good will shown by associates and people who have admired his work, but I think he would be a bit embarrassed by the "Team Baxter" movement." Roy's "Save Disney" publicity tour was generated in-house at Shamrock to protect their investment. It worked. Bob (Iger) may have asked Roy to resign (as an employee, not from the board of directors) as hatchet man for Michael (Eisner), but Roy had planned to step back from day to day direct company involvement anyhow. He knew though that he had to replace Michael who had become ineffective as Chairman/CEO. Who did he pick to be CEO? Bob Iger. Roy often spoke privately of Bob's talent, and that confidence has borne fruit.

    The case with Tony is slightly different. Upper management is delighted with his work, and past contributions. Tony made the decision to retire. A fate we all must recognize at some point. Tony will still be on board, but management has gracefully agreed to assign Bruce to be the gatekeeper to assure Tony's talent is best utilized for projects that will make money.

  8. #68

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    Re: Tony Baxter

    I can only speak for myself, but Mr. Baxter's departure (whether his decision or not) in my eyes is the death of an era when it comes to Imagineering. The generalization of the parks, to me, is depressing...the parks used to be so unique that I couldn't wait to travel to other parks to see the differences. I do not personally know Mr. Baxter, but from what I do know of him, he is an incredibly talented and highly creative man and I would never willfully disrespect anyone.

    Any Team Baxter/Baxter's Army/T-Bax (or any other Tony Baxter related names I've seen out there) support that I would show is out of pure respect for a man who's talent will be missed in the parks. I know he's still a consultant, but it's not the same. The parks just aren't the same anymore, and the news of his departure makes me sad.
    Imagination ~ dream a fantastic dream ~ use your imagination

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  9. #69

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    Re: Tony Baxter

    Quote Originally Posted by Moviela View Post
    The case with Tony is slightly different. Upper management is delighted with his work, and past contributions. Tony made the decision to retire. A fate we all must recognize at some point. Tony will still be on board, but management has gracefully agreed to assign Bruce to be the gatekeeper to assure Tony's talent is best utilized for projects that will make money.
    A tone that doesn't match the recent years of WDI departures.. nor Tony's letter.. nor Tony's tact of late.. nor the much rumored clashes between Tony and the other WDI senior management.

    Why would a man who absolutely loves Disney and the art.. to the very bone of his body.. willingly walk away from the company..just shy of 50!! years with it.. a company where other greats have literally worked until they died (hench).. simply to 'retire'. Oh and do so with a guns blazing retirement notice too?

    And if he was just retiring.. and upper management was so delighted with him.. why has there not been ANY formal public fawning over Baxter in his choice to 'retire'? No Disney Park blog posts.. no D23 action... nothing.

    This from the same blog that celebrated
    suit Al Weiss' retirement - Al Weiss Announces Retirement « Disney Parks Blog
    a DL custodian retiring - http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/bl....uest-services/
    Bobby Cox.. who doesn't even work for Disney gets a mention - Disney Farewell for Bobby Cox « Disney Parks Blog

    Sorry.. your post reeks of corporate line...
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  10. #70

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    Re: Tony Baxter

    Quote Originally Posted by lazyboy97O View Post
    Unfortunately, the seeds of the post-Wells culture changes had already been planted before his death.
    Any seeds of negative change that may have been developing prior to Wells' death were internal to WDI and did not take effect until after his death.

    While Wells was alive, Baxter had a direct association with Eisner and Wells, providing him with corporate backing for his call for creative and quality integrity in the projects he was involved with.

    After Wells' death, Baxter lost his connection and all creative calls for WDI had to go through Marty Sklar. At that point, the internal political changes began. Sklar started to maneuver his protégé (Fitzgerald) into a stronger position while beginning to subvert Baxter's role. Everything from then on essentially went against Baxter.

  11. #71

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    Re: Tony Baxter

    Quote Originally Posted by bfdf55 View Post
    Any seeds of negative change that may have been developing prior to Wells' death were internal to WDI and did not take effect until after his death.

    While Wells was alive, Baxter had a direct association with Eisner and Wells, providing him with corporate backing for his call for creative and quality integrity in the projects he was involved with.

    After Wells' death, Baxter lost his connection and all creative calls for WDI had to go through Marty Sklar. At that point, the internal political changes began. Sklar started to maneuver his protégé (Fitzgerald) into a stronger position while beginning to subvert Baxter's role. Everything from then on essentially went against Baxter.
    Actually it was after DLP did not do as well as expected that Tony's fall began.

  12. #72

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    Re: Tony Baxter

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post

    And if he was just retiring.. and upper management was so delighted with him.. why has there not been ANY formal public fawning over Baxter in his choice to 'retire'? No Disney Park blog posts.. no D23 action... nothing.


    Sorry.. your post reeks of corporate line...
    What many of you fail to realize is Tony is a showman, but not a showboater.

    His sudden announcement was timed to avoid all the PR who-ha.

    Corporate line? No, simply Veritas.

  13. #73

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    Re: Tony Baxter

    Sudden announcement ??

    The company doesn't want to even acknowledge the senior guy in imagineering leaving because he was being humble?? Nah - don't buy it
    Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


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  14. #74

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    Re: Tony Baxter

    Quote Originally Posted by bfdf55 View Post
    After Wells' death, Baxter lost his connection and all creative calls for WDI had to go through Marty Sklar. At that point, the internal political changes began. Sklar started to maneuver his protégé (Fitzgerald) into a stronger position while beginning to subvert Baxter's role. Everything from then on essentially went against Baxter.
    Marty was promoted by, empowered by, and emulated the management style of the same guy who promoted Paul: Michael Eisner.

    The myth that everything was hunky-dory until Frank died is just that -- a myth. Disney's toxic, Eisner-style internal politics were running at full blast within the first few years of Michael's arrival in 1984. What changed after Frank's death in 1994 is that Michael's management style went public.
    Last edited by Mr Wiggins; 02-13-2013 at 09:09 AM.
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    Disney may have finally found the grail. You don't need
    imagination or art. All you need is a brand."

    - Neil Gabler


  15. #75

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    Re: Tony Baxter

    -

    Tony my friend,

    You have just begun to dream.


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