Leadership shuffle at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels

Dec 02, 2014 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Tuesday December 2, 2014 8:44am EST by WDWMAGIC Staff

Disney has made a number of changes to the leadership team for the Walt Disney World hotels, changing personnel, and creating new positions.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort and Disney's Grand Floridian Resort now has a dedicated general manager instead of a shared position. Kim Marinaccio takes on the role at the Grand Floridian, moving from Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. Norm Noble holds the GM role at the Polynesian after previously running both the Polynesian and Grand Floridian.

Kent Mitchell is moving from the GM position at the Contemporary to Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge and Kidani Village.

Overseeing the deluxe resorts will be Tracey Powell in a new position of vice president, Deluxe Resorts, based as Disney's Contemporary Resort. Tracey has previously held positions in Theme Parks and Resort Pricing, along with most recent roles in revenue Management and Analytics.

The changes come as part of a wider reorganization of the resort hotel leadership, which saw Josh D'Amaro taking up the role of senior vice present, Resort and Transportation Operations earlier this year.
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asianwayDec 05, 2014

Excellent. How about the hammocks? Saw a few being taken up by locals on July 3rd last year. And any plans for curbing the lifestyler nuisance at Trader Sams? I can see a lot taking up seats ala Adventurers Club

DC0703Dec 05, 2014

The problem is that (correct me if I'm wrong) the occupancy has been on the decline. But instead of lowering prices to bring it back up, they are converting more rooms to DVC to make the books look better. Sadly, I believe we live in a time when most companies will not lower prices unless it is literally their only option left.

tikimanDec 05, 2014

That will be difficult to do now with the pool and chairs behind a fenced off area they can't access.

DisneyElephantDec 05, 2014

There are many boorish and impolite people in the lower executive ranks in a great many companies. Its just that fewer people see just how they actually behave. I despise phony kindness and generosity of spirit. I can spot it a mile away, and I think most intelligent people can so I will take CaptainShortty's word that's its probably genuine. Kind of a pointless reply from me, but I'm terribly bored.

TP2000Dec 05, 2014

I'm sure she's a lovely woman, but... Most people who get to any lower level executive rank in the 21st century are able to do chatty yet brief meet-n-greets and smiley "Hi there!" interactions with entry-level employees. It's kind of a prerequisite for that type of exec role, like being able to read a ballroom speech off a script-reader or pretending to be interested as you dine graciously with a cheesy local politician and his dull wife. There are very, very few companies left who allow boorish or impolite people to rise into the lower executive ranks.

englanddgDec 05, 2014

Does this mean we can no longer blame Meg?

CaptainShorttyDec 05, 2014

I've met her a few times through my roles at Disney (I was a CP in the DAK Pack too!). She's a wonderful lady and really cares about the resort and its heritage and the CMs that help bring it to life. I think she'll do a fabulous job at whatever Resort she is at.

DisneyElephantDec 05, 2014

Also, I really appreciate that it was designed that way. Its smart and it works for me. I just wish they could maintain that and keep up with quality more than they have. But you could really say that across the board with Disney.

DisneyElephantDec 05, 2014

For me its a vacation. Stressing about time in that way seems pointless and counter-intuitive to my general enjoyment. I also don't want to worry about parking or any of that. Though I'm willing to bet off-property transportation has improved in the last 10 years. But to me, the Disney on-property experience is part of the whole vacation unless I'm going to dinner or another location, like Universal.

PhotoDave219Dec 05, 2014

Well that's you. I like getting from my hotel to my destination in 10 minutes or less, which is something the buses cannot provide me.

PhotoDave219Dec 05, 2014

All I've heard was that some of the shuffling was done to clean up a mess or two.

DisneyElephantDec 05, 2014

I may not be seeing what they see sure. Its definitely an assumption. But just because I'm assuming doesn't mean that I would be wrong even if I were seeing what they see in the financials. Their strategy is working like the government does. Trying to cater to too tight a niche that is completely unsustainable. I just, as a long-term fan of the corporation, I've been rather disappointed in their investments and practices in the last 10 years. It wouldn't take much to turn things around, it would just take better leadership. The TCM/GMR pairing is a perfect example of the direction they ought to be going. Smart choices. And unfortunately that idea didn't even come from Disney. It came from someone like myself who works for TCM. I love the Moderates, but I feel like they're very stale at this point. I've stayed at every single one at some point. The Values, I just don't like the look of them or the themeing at all. I never have. It felt cheap and even for a lower end hotel, Disney can do better with the architecture and ideas for those resorts rather than replicating the same hotel with a different theme (i.e. sports, animation, popc). Granted, the Moderates were that, just cut and paste versions of the same hotel, but the themeing was done for each way more intelligently. I feel like there's more of a variety of architecture and style with the Deluxes. Less thought is put in to the lower end resorts. Just because they're supposed to be less expensive properties doesn't mean less thought should go into planning. That's all I'm saying. They could do with a new Moderate or just something fresh for those hotels. I'm sure something is in the long term plans, it would have to be. But attention is obviously and should be to the parks themselves first and foremost. Staying on property in my opinion is a priority, but with the rates and options off property, it becomes harder and harder to justify an on property stay financially. I haven't stayed off-property in years primarily because of the difference in transportation reliability and ease.

Andrew CDec 04, 2014

I definitely understand what you are saying, but I think you are also making a lot of assumptions. For hotels & resorts, if their reporting is indicating their strategy is working as they want it, then there would be no reason to change. You are assuming they are making a mistake by having (what seems to be) a rate strategy instead of an occupancy strategy. But you do not have the revenue management details that they are seeing. Now, that is not to say that their strategy could work short term but hurt them later down the road. From my experience, the moderate and deluxe resorts have always met or exceeded my expectations when I have stayed. I am, however, less willing to pay for a deluxe resort because I just do not want to spend that kind of money. But I do love the convenience of the deluxe resorts. And I do tend to stay at non-disney properties a lot of time as well. And the parks themselves...well that is another topic all together.

DisneyElephantDec 04, 2014

I think presently, its a mistake for Disney to focus on rate increases for profit returns as opposed to increasing occupancy. Its definitely a balancing act, but creative has to have more of a draw in the future than it does currently (which from what I expect is hopefully in the works, but I think they have to do better than Avatar). I feel like they are a little of out touch with the public charging the rates that they do and it seems like they could care less about losing customers as long as they're catering to the few who can afford to go. Its a mistake. I also think, Disney has grown their "stay at another hotel, see if we care" attitude rather than making sure the full Disney on-property experience brings them as many potential customers as possible. That's what builds revenue and return customers, not rate hikes. Focusing on merchandising rather than an immersive customer experience and rate hikes is really not the most effective way to go about growth. You let someone go over property, that's lost revenue in on-property dining and merchandise as well. I just think its misguided and out of touch.