Walt Disney World leadership reshuffle sees changes at the top of three of the parks

Jan 29, 2021 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Friday January 29, 2021 2:35pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Disney has reshuffled the leaders at the Walt Disney World theme parks which sees new Vice Presidents at three of the theme parks.

Current Magic Kingdom Vice President Jason Kirk is being promoted to Senior Vice President Operations, a similar role to that currently occupied by Jim MacPhee who is set to retire in April after 42 years with the company.

Current EPCOT VP Melissa Valiquette is moving from EPCOT to take over from Jason Kirk at Magic Kingdom.

Sarah Riles, currently Vice President, Optimization & Business Transformation at Walt Disney World, takes over from the retiring Djuan Rivers at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Sarah has been with the company for more than 20 years in a number of operations and engineering roles.

Which leaves EPCOT with an open position as of now for its Vice President.

Discuss on the Forums
View all comments →

Poly1974Mar 28, 2021

I couldn't agree more with this. The magic is fading but as long as the attendance numbers are strong, nobody cares. The current management has their marching orders and I don't see that changing. I have great memories going back to the mid 70's as a child and then with my own children through 2015. I saw what was happening, sold my DVC and moved on. I went for a one day visit to the MK with my brother in 2019. We had a good time but found ourselves talking more about what used to be than what was new and exciting. I still keep an eye on what is happening at WDW but I have no plans to visit any time soon.

Figments FriendMar 28, 2021

This scene needs to be recreated with glorious sets and Animatonic figures whenever the next major refresh of 'Spaceship Earth' happens. -

LilofanMar 27, 2021

The one exec who left and got away and is doing his own thing is Dan Cockerell. He would have been moving up the exec ladder if he didn't retire early.

Lands of WonderMar 27, 2021

They need to clean house

tirianMar 27, 2021

Not without completely new leadership. Walt’s company is dead. I don’t mean to sound despairing. I’ve accepted this fact and will enjoy the remaining good stuff as long as I can. :) Less experienced fans will continue defending bad decisions with a creepy, questionable religious faith based on an entertainment company. The rest of us will just have to remember how much more magic used to be there before the late Iger era.

TrainChasersMar 27, 2021

I’m not sure if we will ever recover from that mistake. :(

tirianMar 27, 2021

Obviously, PR has crafted over-the-top statements to signal the correct boxes were checked, but they might be fantastic leaders. We’ll have to wait to see. I do hope they’re good at their jobs, because the last time a “statement hire” was made, it was a disaster (in-over-her-head Meg). We are still dealing with the repercussions of Meg’s tenure: the preschool-ization of WDW.

SplashZanderMar 26, 2021

I'm unfamiliar with any of these people. What makes this pick a good choice and the others poor choices?

MansionButler84Mar 26, 2021


TrainChasersMar 26, 2021

Agreed. Epcot and MK would appear to be in good hands. DHS and DAK I’m concerned about.

MansionButler84Mar 26, 2021

Good choice.

MovieloverFeb 01, 2021

@marni1971 Walking into Imagineering after being elected Epcot VP. Colorized

matt9112Feb 01, 2021

Pretty sure martin knows he wouldn't get the budget or authority to fix the place...who wants to jump on a sword?