Layoffs and a reimagining for Dis theme parks

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Pink slips were issued Wednesday at Disney Parks and Resorts and more are on the way, courtesy of a reorganization designed to eliminate redundancies at a unit that employs 80,000 workers.

Disney wouldn't say how many were laid off or how many more layoffs are expected.

The reorganization, said Parks and Resorts chairman Jay Rasulo, not only is a response to the weak economy but also a way to further the successes of a shake-up four years ago.

Rasulo said a 2005 reorganization led to speedier delivery of theme-park shows based on "High School Musical" and to the simultaneous openings of "Toy Story Mania" in Florida and California, and he seeks more of the same.

With Wednesday's announcement, resort development will merge with attractions and entertainment development and be led by Bruce Vaughn, the chief creative executive at Imagineering, and Craig Russell, the chief design and project delivery executive.

Not mentioned was John Lasseter, though insiders say he will remain principal creative adviser to Imagineering, a role he assumed when Disney bought Pixar in 2006.

Also, a business development and real estate team will combine and be headed by executive vp Nick Franklin, and the teams operating infrastructure at Walt Disney World and at Disneyland Resort will merge, led by president of worldwide operations Al Weiss.

Heads of the new departments are expected to make further staff cuts in the months ahead. (partialdiff)
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