It's official folks, after months of rumors from Al Lutz, Dusty Sage and Kevin Yee, Disney has finally announced some major changes to theme park operations.
Effective February 1st, George Kalogridis (beloved Disneyland President) will take over the entire Disney World Resort. Current head of Disney's Animal Kingdom, Micheal Colglazier will become Disneyland President.
However, this does not mean that Meg Crofton is out. She is retaining her current role as President of all of Disney's US and French parks and resorts. At least for now. We would expect that George is being groomed to take over that role as well in the future.
What does all this mean, Al Lutz will fill you in on the back story very soon. However, we do know a few things.
This is great news for fans of the Disney World parks and resorts. George is a maintenance first sort of guy. He'll get the place cleaned up quickly. He also won't stand in the way of concepts and ideas to reinvigorate the parks. But what about Disneyland's future? We have a bit of experience with Micheal Colglazier from Animal Kingdom, and he is loved by the Cast Members there. That's a very good sign. He is well known to walk the park frequently and interact with guests and cast. Assuming he keeps up that strategy and doesn't become a puppet of the One Disney machine, he should be a very strong replacement for George. Though, it is always wise to be watchful and cautious in such considerations of new park Presidents. The proof will be in his actions.
As an aside, Disney has been extolling Colglazier's virtues by explaining that he has been involved in the planning for Animal Kingdom's upcoming Avatar Land. Unfortunately, this is likely to cause more concern than reassurance among well educated Disneyland fans. However, Colglazier isn't in any way responsible for the decision to bring Avatar to the parks, nor the decision on what attractions and concepts that land will encompass. Those were all decisions made at the very top (Iger and Staggs). It is unfortunate that Disney strapped that albatross around Micheal's neck, and we hope he won't be savaged for Disney's erroneous attribution.
If you are looking for a sign from me, I'm cautiously optimistic for both the Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. It's clear that Disney wants to fix Disney World, or at least address the grave concerns. That's a good thing and I am certain of George's capabilities. We'll wait and see on Micheal Colglazier but have good initial feelings. I'm receiving rave reviews of him from some cast members close to both Colglazier and MiceChat. So let's cross our fingers that this is a good thing.
UPDATE 1-10-13: Al Lutz has posted an article about the executive shakeup HERE
We'll folks, Disney's top park President is on his way to a resort in need of help. What are your thoughts? And what, if any, impressions do you have about Disneyland's newest President?