Former WDI lead Bruce Vaughn returns to Walt Disney Imagineering as Chief Creative Officer

Mar 07, 2023 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Tuesday March 7, 2023 3:27pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Former Imagineer Bruce Vaughn is making a surprise return to Walt Disney Imagineering as co-lead of Disney's theme park creative team.

Disney Parks head Josh D'Amaro made the announcement in a memo to Cast Members today. Bruce will take up the role effective March 20, and will co-lead the organization with WDI President Barbara Bouza, with both leaders reporting directly to D'Amaro.

In a post on Instagram, Vaughn said, "I've remained an Imagineer at heart, so I'm thrilled to join Barbara and reunite with this phenomenal global team of creators and innovators during this pivotal time."

Vaughn joined Walt Disney Imagineering in 1993 as a senior technical specialist and moved up to Chief Creative Executive where he led WDI with Bob Weis.

Here is the full memo from Josh D'Amaro.

As Bob Iger often says, creativity is the heart and soul of who we are and what we do at Disney. In fact, as we look at our company’s 100-year history of bringing captivating and memorable storytelling to life, the consistent thread that binds us together as a company across all segments is our ability to drive innovation through creative projects.

In Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, we continue to invest in new endeavors that deliver the most compelling experiences, immersing our guests around the world in the stories they love most. In the past few years, we have found ourselves at the crossroads of a wave of new technology and a seemingly unlimited amount of new stories and franchises, allowing us to develop groundbreaking new experiences. Of
course, none of this comes to life without a strong commitment to creativity and innovation by the amazing team at Walt Disney Imagineering.

With this in mind, I’m pleased to share that effective March 20, Bruce Vaughn is returning to Walt Disney Imagineering as the Chief Creative Officer. Bruce will co-lead the organization with WDI President Barbara Bouza, with both leaders reporting directly to me.

Together, Bruce and Barbara will partner closely to connect visionary creative thinking with project opportunities and flawless execution and delivery. With significant developments under way and more on the horizon, this dedicated focus toward creativity and innovation will help us deliver next-level experiences well into the future. To best accomplish this, they will be working together to swiftly identify the most effective way to structure Imagineering.

Many of you have had the opportunity to work with Bruce previously. He has a deep history with Imagineering, serving for more than two decades in leadership roles including with WDI R&D, as well as co-leading the entire WDI organization as Chief Creative Executive for nine years. Bruce left Disney in 2016 to become CEO and CCO of Dreamscape Immersive where he worked with teams to advance virtual reality technologies for mainstream location-based entertainment, and most recently was with
Airbnb where he developed and led the Experiential Creative Product team.

Please join me in welcoming Bruce back to Disney.

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Lilofan31 days ago

Office with private shower and bath , private jet , car service, helicopter service - execs want to be efficient as possible especially with their exec admin asst planning their work day to the hour and minute. One time our CEO visited our campus and we had his schedule planned to the minute including bathroom breaks.

Disstevefan131 days ago

I heard he held out for a office with a shower.

Disstevefan131 days ago

I will be happy if/when we ever get capacity added to WDW, otherwise I don't care.

cranbiz31 days ago

It's a real shame that the Show key is ignored by TWDC E-Suite. At one point show was hugely important.

castlecake2.0Mar 13, 2024

Yah totally agree that most times it just boils down to being courteous. I think this was more done to make a statement than anything.

celluloidMar 13, 2024

I understand the ADA and accessibility based ones, and at one time, that would have been a part of Courtesy. There is training o this specifically for guest facing roles with video and interactive quizzes. The first example you gave I don't quite understand how inclusion would be layered with safety when the cleaning of a spill is handled safety and with courtesy of others in the area. They ultimately are reinforcing courtesy after the safety is addressed. Which is where it has been. This is why it needs boosted, as it was not taught as a part of courtesy or enforced. Thank you for taking the time and effort to share how it is taught now. I appreciate that. Bringing the magic to life I recall being a thing back in 2011. But is not a part of training for non park specific departments or guest facing CMs in 2015. I wish Imagineering and master planning had a better over this recently. Some design flaws have been egregious against this thought compared to times past.

castlecake2.0Mar 13, 2024

This is going to be very condensed version. There’s now a second day after traditions called “bringing the magic to life” which is basically an 8 hour day focusing on the Keys (AKA quality standards). They are still listed in that order and taught that they are all very important but listed in that order for a reason. The inclusion key is introduced as a booster key to help turbocharge the main 4 keys. For safety, as an example, it would be things like cleaning up spills or reporting hazards. When you layer on inclusion you start to think about things like “are we creating a safe space where everyone feels welcome?”. An example for efficiency would be making sure we are still maintaining accessibility access if we have to redirect a queue for some reason, or if we are closing some registers at a QSR do we still have an ADA counter available. It’s also taught that many times, situations will include more than just one key and there’s overlap a lot of the time. In the end the inclusion key doesn’t take priority over any other key, it’s just there to give an extra thought to our quality standards and decision making.

celluloidMar 13, 2024

Could you give an example of how they are different that you learned from the class? The keys have always been in order so I get how that is confusing becuase they botched that up now. The qualities have a priority and that is how they have been successful.. Truly safety is at the heart of everything they do becuase that is top priority. They are designed with priority in mind to function. How does safety work with inclusion vs not inclusion in a guest service example at a theme park resort? How would example of inclusion in a moment where show is important look compared to what could be fined as courtesy at a theme park resort? Interested in what is going on since Traditions is so shortened these days.

castlecake2.0Mar 13, 2024

I originally agreed, but after I took the class on it I see what they were going for, it’s just to help us look at inclusion through different lenses, but I see what you’re saying.

celluloidMar 13, 2024

I maintain the part about courtesy being followed would be not needing another situation based on it being added. The keys have always been convenient to what is in the moment per manager. It is a great theory, but there are plenty of times efficiency has trumped show and unfortunately a number of things where hubris of efficiency and courtesy of having an attraction open trumped safety.

Smiley/OCDMar 13, 2024

Or “I’m So Tired” by the Beatles…

SquishyMar 13, 2024

I'm glad management can agree quality is no longer a thing. :greedy:

castlecake2.0Mar 13, 2024

The inclusion key is meant to be a “booster key” that kind of tags on to the others. So the order is still safety, courtesy, show, efficiency with inclusion at “the heart of everything”, but how they designed the graphic confuses everyone when they put inclusion in the middle. It really should be presented like this;

celluloidMar 13, 2024

It bothers me more that if you are truly following a key of courtesy. You are doing your best to be inclusive. To me it is like adding being cautious as a key to go near Safety.