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Disney reorganizes leadership at theme parks amid overhauls and expansions

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
A view of the Marketplace at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The expansion opened at Disneyland in Anaheim in May.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The Walt Disney Co. announced a shakeup of its theme park leadership in the midst of a major campaign to upgrade and overhaul Disney resorts in Anaheim and Orlando, Fla.

Josh D’Amaro, president of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, will take over in November as president of the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, replacing George Kalogridis, who will take on a new position, overseeing developing strategic and operational business initiatives, the company announced Wednesday.

In Anaheim, D’Amaro will be replaced by Rebecca Campbell, who has worked for Disney for more than 20 years, most recently leading operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

“This is one of the most exciting times in the history of Disney parks, and I am thrilled that these dynamic leaders will be at the helm of Disneyland and Walt Disney World during this period of unprecedented expansion,” Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said in a statement.

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The reorganization comes only months after Disneyland in Anaheim opened its long-anticipated $1-billion Star Wars expansion. An identical expansion launched in August at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando. The Burbank-based entertainment giant has also announced plans to build a superhero-themed land in Anaheim, plus an overhaul of Epcot, including new lands and reworked gardens and fountains of the Orlando park.

In California, Disney has pushed back on suggestions from park bloggers and Disney followers that the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction in Anaheim has failed to draw the crowds the company expected. In a news release Wednesday, Disney described the opening of the Star Wars land as “successful.”

In announcing the management changes, Disney did not mention Catherine Powell, who stepped down this week as president of Disney Parks West, which gave her oversight of the Disneyland Paris, Walt Disney World and Disneyland theme parks. Disney officials declined to discuss Powell, except to say that her position was eliminated before she announced her plans to quit.

Powell answered to Chapek, giving him more time to focus on the acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets and the integration of consumer products.

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D’Amaro, who served as president of the Disneyland Resort since March 2018, is a 21-year veteran of Disney, who previously worked as senior vice president at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando in charge of marketing strategy, sales and business development.

Kalogridis, who started as an employee on Walt Disney World’s opening day in 1971, has led at the Walt Disney World Resort since 2013. In his new role, he will also serve as strategic advisor to park operators and lead the Disney Institute, the professional development arm of the company.

Campbell, who currently works out of London, led Disney’s media and motion picture operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.


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