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Days after the exit of a top executive tasked with leading theme parks in the U.S. and Paris, Disney has restructured its parks leadership team, the company said Wednesday.
Rebecca Campbell, who had served as president, Europe, Middle East and Africa for the company’s direct-to-consumer and international division, was named president of Disneyland Resort. Campbell will relocate to Southern California.
Josh D’Amaro, who had been president of Disneyland Resort, is changing his oversight from Anaheim to Orlando, Florida. D’Amaro was named president, Walt Disney World Resort. His start date is Nov. 1.
The dual executive appointments arrive after news on Monday that Catherine Powell, who had been in charge of Disneyland Paris, Walt Disney World and Disneyland, stepped down from her post after her role had been eliminated. Powell had been with the company for 15 years.
“This is one of the most exciting times in the history of Disney parks, and I am thrilled that these dynamic leaders will be at the helm of Disneyland and Walt Disney World during this period of unprecedented expansion,” Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, experiences and products, said in a statement. “Josh and Rebecca bring broad-based experience, enthusiasm, and a keen understanding of the importance of the Disney Difference to our Guests.”
The parks each hosted a high-profile launch this year, with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge — a theme park expansion of George Lucas’ space saga, complete with a Millennium Falcon replica — debuting in Anaheim on May 31 and in Orlando on Aug. 29. The 14-acre land in Anaheim boasted two rides at launch, as well as themed stores, restaurants and a bar and full-size versions of ships like an X-Wing and a TIE Fighter.
But it remains to be seen how popular the expansion will be with customers. Disney CEO Bob Iger was asked on an Aug. 7 earnings call about whether attendance had measured up to the expectation for the launch of Galaxy’s Edge, and he mentioned that the anticipation of crowding had caused some guests to stay away.
“There was tremendous concern in the marketplace that there was going to be huge crowding when we opened Galaxy’s Edge,” said the exec. “And so some people stayed away just because they expected that it would not be a great guest experience. The same time that was going on, all the local hotels in the region — expecting a huge influx in visitation — raised their prices. So it simply got more expensive to come stay in Anaheim.”
In the internal Disney announcement on Wednesday, Campbell said: “Living in Southern California from 2010 to 2018 provided me an incredible opportunity to visit the Disneyland Resort often. And like all of you, I am a huge fan! So, to be asked to lead the park where Walt’s dream started is extremely humbling.”
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