Who should be in the next class of Disney Legends?

November 6, 2023, 11:45 AM

I know that Disney has grown fond of loading its recent Disney Legends classes with actors from its current projects, rather than people who have a lifetime of work associated with the Disney brand, but from a corporate management and parks perspective, who deserves this honor who does not yet have it?

The custom has been to wait for people to retire before bestowing this honor, but that does not rule out Joe Rohde, who seems the most obvious WDI candidate. But who else from WDI should be on the Legends short list?

As for parks management, George Kalogridis would seem a top choice. But the most obvious omission on the Disney Legends roll call must be Michael Eisner. I can only assume that is because Eisner has so far turned down the honor. But he still deserves it.

Other candidates you would like to see honored as a Disney Legend?

Replies (2)

Edited: November 10, 2023, 12:21 PM

Parks wise, I'm confused as to why there's not a number of honorees on the list - Gavin Greenaway is an obvious choice due to his composing work for the parks, as is Michael Curry for his work on Disney puppets both in and out of the parks (probably most famous the The Lion King's Broadway adaption). Further, to get a little more obscure, if we're going to talk about park execs who really should get the honour, might as well go for Lee & Dan Cockerell, both of whom have extensive histories with Disney in terms of managing parks both at home and abroad. (Full disclosure, I met Dan once, and he was quite nice.)

You could also argue there's a few more WDI/old style entertainment types who haven't been recognized. Doug May (who oversaw many of the biggest productions for Disney in the 90's and early 2000's) Cliff Perry (who brought the Broadway-style shows to DLC), Tommy Walker (Disneyland's first events director, and co-creator of Disney's earliest parade), Carol Campbell (who deserves the nod for her work standardizing characters), Bob Phelps (the same as Carol)... I could go on.

Jeff Katzenberg should get it, but never will. Probably turned it down in fact.

Edited: November 13, 2023, 1:29 AM

Dan Cockerell should be under consideration. He's likely be the first Walt Disney World College Program alumni to be recognized. He was a nuts and bolts leader who started as a parking lot attendance and moved up the ladder to run Disney Hollywood Studios, EPCOT and finally the Magic Kingdom. He has since retired and become a consultant to corporate models around the globe. His book 'How is the Culture in Your Kingdom' has become a blueprint for businesses to evaluate their model's from the storyteller perspective.

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