Bad news for Disneyland?

January 15, 2008, 9:38 AM · Al Lutz at MiceAge reports that Disneyland Senior VP for Operations Greg Emmer quit this week, leaving the parks without one of the major architects of Disneyland's recent revival.

That's potentially bad news for Disney, as Emmer was a theme park lifer, a guy who understood Disney show and guest service and knew how to "manage up" the corporate food chain to make needed repairs happen.

Disneyland faced significant problems earlier this decade, after years of management by people with no theme park experience led to peeling paint, crumbling facades, diminished attraction capacity, longer lines, stale attractions and two fatal accidents that were entirely the park's fault -- something almost unheard of in the theme park industry.

Under the leadership of Emmer, former park president Matt Ouimet and new Disney CEO Bob Iger, Disneyland changed direction, made itself over in a spectacular fashion for the park's 50th anniversary in 2005 and drew up plans for a series of exciting new attractions, both at Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure.

Here's hoping Disney finds a theme park pro to replace Emmer, or if Lutz' theory is right and Emmer quit out of frustration with Disney managers, makes the changes necessary to bring him back. Disneyland has again become one of the top theme parks in the country, if not the very best, over the past four years. Its fans deserve to see that welcomed progress continue.

Replies (7)

January 15, 2008 at 5:53 PM · Oh no! I don't want Disneyland to suffer again! Big Thunder Mountain already has diminished lines. I don't want another ride to suffer its consequences.
January 16, 2008 at 8:48 AM · Sometimes it's more important to keep the people who really make an operation run successfully than the chiefs who may be new to the company and not steeped in its corporate culture. There may be plenty of people that the present chiefs can be "traded" for, while there is only one Emmer. If the chiefs behave in such a way that drive key people away, the people with know-how and vision, a good solution is to find new chiefs. If Emmer quit because of his unhappiness with the folks at the top, this may be what is called for.
No solution should be cast aside to get Emmer back.

Douglas Shachnow CTC CTIE
Hemispheres SANDA Publications
Boca Raton, Florida

January 16, 2008 at 9:43 AM · Possibly they will find someone as good if not better. It takes more than one person to make a great place like Disneyland run. he couldn't have been alone in making it better. Disneyland has always been evolving into a better place every year. I didn't see anything different really these past few years. I have always loved Disneyland. One thing I can't understand is why they take out things ( especially in tommorowland) and never put anything there again or replace it with something better. Leave it until you have something new in the works don't just leave it blank. Examples are the subs were gone for years without anything there and that was a huge empty space. The people movers have been gone and they put something there but took that out ( forgot what it even was) after just a year and now there is nothing there. The sky cabs that went through the materhorn and across from tommorowland - fantasyland are gone with nothing there. ?? Why do they do that. Lines may be shorter if they keep things until new ones are ready to build. Even if they are not a huge attraction things like the people movers were great if the kids wanted one more ride fast it kept them happy and it had little to no line since it was always moving. it was also a great ride if you wanted to sit for a few minutes. ?? This is a problem they have had and never fixed. Stop taking away and not adding!
January 16, 2008 at 10:04 AM · Well Claudia,
You're not alone in mourning Tomorrowland! That's been a thorn in all of our sides for a long time. The re-doing of tomorrowland was done by just those folks who have no idea of what Walt was accomplishing. The result is a near ghost town. The Rocket Jets lost 2 stories of height, America Sings' innovative theater was turned into an electronics sales pitch, & everyone's favorite peoplemover(the only no line attraction in a sea of lines) was snuffed out. What happened with the Rocket Rods(Its replacement), Supposedly The project was to be sponsored by GM but sponsorship was pulled when test track in Florida sped through a brake run & crashed through a wall, shaking GM's confidence that Disney could safely pull this type of attraction off. This reduced the finance from somewhere near 11 million down to a 3 million, riddled with cut corner problems, another ghost in tomorrowland. The redoing of old timers like Subs & Spacemountain, are they enough to constitute a vision of tomorrow? If these are to be the "promise of the future", then I'm scared of what's in store.
January 16, 2008 at 12:43 PM · So, he's worked at Disney for 40 years. He is what, 60 something? Call me naive, but I don't think he's quitting. I think he's RETIRING.
January 16, 2008 at 6:25 PM · In short: He quit. He's one guy. Disney will continue to move forward without him.
January 17, 2008 at 3:07 AM · Claudia,

Disney closes attractions that are unpopular because they cost money to keep open. Most can be pretty expensive to operate and maintain, so it doesn't make sense to keep them running empty all day. Disney wants to put staff and resources where the guests spend their time, not on attractions that no one has cared about for years. I know it's sad when an old favorite goes away, but it has more to do with customer behavior than anything else.

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