Disney sends Cars Land's lead designer to Florida
Written by Robert NilesHey, Kathy Mangum, you just led the design team for Cars Land, which helped turn California Adventure - a one-time embarrassment for Disney - into America's hottest theme park. What are you going to do now?
Published: August 8, 2012 at 8:15 PM
Kathy Mangum, left, with John Lasseter and Buena Vista Street lead Imagineer Lisa Girolami, before the rededication of Disney California Adventure in June.
You're going to Disney World!
(Sorry, that lead was so easy, I simply couldn't resist.)
Yep, Disney announced today that it is shipping Walt Disney Imagineering's Kathy Mangum off to Florida, where she will assume the newly-created position of "Executive Producer" for the Walt Disney World Resort, overseeing attraction and resort design at WDW.
You could go nuts trying to draft a linear organizational chart for Walt Disney Imagineering, which is co-lead by Craig Russell and Bruce Vaughn, with four senior vice presidents and six executive vice presidents (plus an additional VP for Tokyo Disney) on the management roster, too. Mangum's one of those executive VPs, and Avatar lead designer Joe Rohde is one of the senior VPs (along with Tony Baxter, to drop another name). It's a huge team, with heaven only knows how many projects going at once. So at this point, all I'll read into the announcement is that Disney is very, very happy with the money that Mangum's latest project is making for the company and would very much like new projects at Walt Disney World to make gobs of money for Disney just like Cars Land is doing, thank you.
The easiest way to make that happen might seem to bring in Mangum to build a Cars Land at Walt Disney World, perhaps at the Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park - the proto-California Adventure. But let's not forget that the two coasts don't always embrace identical new attractions with the same fervor. Toy Story Midway Mania draws better in Florida than it does in Anaheim, while Star Tours 2 hit bigger in Disneyland than at WDW. There's no guarantee that Cars Land would be as big a hit in Florida as it has been at the Disneyland Resort.
Still, it's generally good news for theme park fans when Imagineers get promotions within the Walt Disney Company, instead of accountants. Let's hope some fat design and construction budgets, bathed in green lights, are following Mangum to Central Florida, too.
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