I just posted this on another thread in response to a question and thought it deserved its own thread. Here is the short story about how Everest was greenlit...
Everest was greenlit in December of 2002 after Pressler left and before Rasulo moved to California from Paris. It was mid-December and WDI was almost deserted.
It was greenlit by Eisner and Tom Staggs (CFO) at Al Weiss' behest. Al Weiss had just been offered the job of President of Parks and Resorts--which he turned down because he did not want to move out of Central Florida. The job was then offered to Jay Rasulo, but Al had earned a special place in the eyes of the other Disney Executives. Everyone knew he was the first choice (even Rasulo) and that gave him a special kind of authority--at least temporarily.
It's amazing really. It was a perfect storm. Joe Rohde had a completed concept ready to go. Pressler was gone. Al Weiss was in favor of adding an E-Ticket to DAK, and Rasulo had not yet taken over. Had any one of these four elements not been in place, there would be no Everest. It was a miracle, and we wont see it happen again soon.