Monday, July 26, 2010
PI Update: Can This Man Save Us?
© 2010 Walt Disney Company (corporate.disney.go.com)
If there is any hope, any hope at all, of one or more of the comedy and dance clubs ever reopening on Pleasure Island, that hope may lie in the hands of this man. His name is Thomas O. Staggs and he is the new Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. This past January he swapped jobs with Jay Rasulo with Rasulo taking over Staggs' former position of Chief Financial Officer. When it comes to names behind the PI closing, Rasulo is often mentioned along with Kevin Lansberry, then head of Downtown Disney. Supposedly Staggs is being groomed to run the entire company some day. And apparently, he's not afraid to reverse prior decisions.
I previously commented that you all need to read the article at JimHillMedia.com about possible changes being made to the huge Fantasyland expansion taking place at the Magic Kingdom. According to the article, Rasulo in his former-position announced all those plans without permission of the Disney Board of Directors. While there were some really cool things in the expansion plans, the most persistent criticism of the entire project was that there were too many fairy meet-n-greets and everything was way too little-girl-centric. In other words, nothing for boys! Well now that Staggs is in charge, Jim Hill indicates that changes are afoot and that Staggs has said that Disney needs to take "an all things to all people" approach to the expansion. That means that changes may be made to give the expansion more appeal to boys. I don't think there is any doubt that Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a category-killer when it comes to boys of all ages. Legoland in Fall, 2011 is going to steal another day from Disney for kids of both sexes!
But what's important here is not the girls or the boys or whatever. What is key to me here is that:
1) Staggs obviously sees the big picture. You've got to be all things to all people and you can't ignore any niche. Does anyone know of a major niche now being ignored? The ones with the money? The ones here without kids? The ones here with kids but who would like a night out on their own? The ones both on and off property for a meeting or convention with nothing to do but money to burn? Anyone recognize that niche?
2) Staggs apparently is not afraid to reverse a decision. Even a well-publicized decision. If it's wrong, reverse course and correct it.
Can this man save us? I don't know. But if Jim Hill is correct then he may be the man to ask to reverse course and correct things on Pleasure Island. Tom Staggs....remember that name. (More tomorrow)