Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has hired Scott Trowbridge away from Universal Studios' attractions-planning team, giving Disney the man who helped put the "amazing" in Islands of Adventure's Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride.
Trowbridge, who was vice president of Universal's Creative Studios, has gone to Walt Disney Imagineering -- Disney's worldwide attractions-design company -- as vice president for creative research and development. Universal on Monday confirmed his departure, and Disney confirmed his arrival.
Trowbridge, 42, leaves Universal just as the Universal Orlando resort gears up for its biggest development in many years: the upcoming Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a 20-acre attractions area due to open at Islands of Adventure in late 2009.
Trowbridge's record at Universal included being senior show producer for the Spider-Man ride, which has been widely hailed as one of the greatest indoor rides in theme-park history.
At Disney Imagineering, he will report to WDI Chief Creative Executive Bruce Vaughn, overseeing creative research-and-development projects.
Some industry experts concluded Monday that much of the basic creative planning for the Potter attractions is probably already done; if so, Disney might now be in a position to offer Trowbridge even more challenging creative projects, particularly as it begins looking at small tourism developments away from its theme parks, such as a recently announced Disney Vacation Club time share in Hawaii.
"I think Imagineering probably made him an offer he couldn't refuse," said one of the experts, attraction-design consultant Gary Goddard, president of Los Angeles-based Gary Goddard Entertainment.
Goddard, a former Disney Imagineering executive whose independent work for theme-park companies has included co-development of the Spider-Man, Terminator 2: 3D and Jurassic Park River Ride projects with Universal, said Trowbridge would be a talented pickup for Disney and a loss for Universal's much smaller planning department.
"It's definitely going to make a difference, him leaving," he said.
Trowbridge was not available Monday for comment.