Walt Disney World veteran Jim MacPhee to retire after 42 years

Dec 16, 2020 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Wednesday December 16, 2020 2:33pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Walt Disney World President Jeff Vahle has announced via Instagram that Jim MacPhee will retire in 2021 after 42 years at Walt Disney World.

Jim has occupied a number of key roles at Walt Disney World, including a central figure in the development of the next-gen initiative MyMagic+, Vice President Epcot, and most recently, Senior Vice President, Operations at Walt Disney World.

Jeff wrote:

Congratulations to my friend and colleague Jim MacPhee on his upcoming retirement after 42 years of making magic at Disney. I met Jim as we prepared to open Disney’s Animal Kingdom. He is many things—leader, innovator, friend, husband & father. He is also a beacon for what is great in our Disney heritage. He leaves behind a tremendous legacy inspiring our Cast and helping bring magic to life for our guests. Please join me in congratulating Jim and his family as they begin the next chapter of their story on April 1!

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RobbiemDec 19, 2020

I was just trying to make a general observation from my experience, not infering anything. People can get really nasty when it gets into a restructuring and jobs are at stake. I know a lot of good people who have been treated terribly by others when they have left organisations, sadly I think this is the rule now not the exception so if you are able to go with dignity its a real bonus in these times

JIMINYCRDec 19, 2020

I dont see where anyone is saying or its been reported that hes being forced out if thats what youre referring to. Ive read a variety of reports regarding his retirement announcement and no one is tying it to a negative release. Its still a positive sign when you leave and those who were under you have only positives to say about you.

RobbiemDec 19, 2020

unfortunately too often in these situations everyone is so scared they’ll be next that you end up being treated like you’ve got the plague.

the.dreamfinderDec 19, 2020


The Great GonzoDec 19, 2020

I don't blame him I'd want to retire after this sucky year.

HappyHaunt97Dec 19, 2020

Jim seemed like one of the good ones. My family and I had a less than magical trip to WDW in December 2017. Bad enough to prompt an email to George K. My comments were shared with Jim and I received a personal response from him on Christmas Eve. We spoke on the phone a few days later about the experience. Needless to say, I was pretty impressed. I didn't expect any more than a form letter.

TrainsOfDisneyDec 17, 2020

Perhaps your expectations are different than Iger / Chapeks were.

JIMINYCRDec 17, 2020

Always helps when you retire and those saying good bye actually will miss you, genuinely wish you well and you go out the door being fondly remembered and liked.

the.dreamfinderDec 17, 2020

NGE/MM+ is one of the biggest failures of Iger’s tenure. It was designed to data mine guests to turn the parks into a real life Facebook where sponsors would gain insights into potential customers, including children. Thankfully, that’s illegal in the US. Too bad nobody thought about that when it was approved. You could write a whole book about NGE/MM+.

LilofanDec 17, 2020

He made 42 years as a cast member. He played and got along with others.

RteetzDec 17, 2020

That’s not his job. He’s in operations not creative and decision making.

montyz81Dec 17, 2020

Fair enough, but his pay grade was pretty high. He was, what 2 levels down from Bob Iger? And he was the "boots on the ground" for the bark. He had plenty of influence, I am sure. It is possible that Epcot's "limbo years" could have been due to him trying to prevent the park from turning into what it is about to turn into, I don't know. I know what I expect from the VPs in my company, and based on that, I think he could have done more.

techgeekDec 17, 2020

It’s pretty hard for any one mid-level exec to have sway over the larger direction given the company. His legacy also includes shepherding the original ‘nextgen’ data initiative that magic bands and FP+ was born out of, which of course produces some pretty divisive opinions... especially for the amount of cash spent. But even in that, those choices and directions still originated well above his pay grade.

montyz81Dec 17, 2020

But he couldn't save Epcot from the fantasy bent theming direction it is going in today. Just saying.