Shake-ups Continue as Disney CFO and Parks President Go All Freaky Friday

With Disney expected to report an fourth quarter earnings loss later this afternoon on this, the eve of Friday the Thirteenth, it’s now being reported that The Walt Disney Company CFO Tom Staggs and Disney Parks and Resorts President Jay Rasulo will be switching places within the organization.

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Third Shoe Drops as Disney Motion Pictures Group Prez Mark Zoradi Makes Exit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Mark Zoradi, who as president of the Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Group handled worldwide marketing and distribution of films, resigned on Monday after 29 years at the company, the studio said.

Zoradi’s resignation comes amid a shake-up at the Walt Disney Co’s movie studio, as long-time chairman Dick Cook’s abrupt departure in September was followed in October by Cook’s replacement with television executive Rich Ross, who until then headed Disney Channels Worldwide.

Also last month Daniel Battsek, who ran Disney’s low-budget Miramax Films, also left after the company slashed the unit’s workforce and curtailed the number of films it would release.

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The Walt Disney Company Reports China OKs Shanghai Disneyland Project

BURBANK, Calif. — The Walt Disney Company today announced that the Project Application Report (PAR) for a Disney theme park in the Pudong district of Shanghai has received approval from the relevant authorities of the central government of China.

“China is one of the most dynamic, exciting and important countries in the world, and this approval marks a very significant milestone for The Walt Disney Company in mainland China,” said Robert A. Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company.

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Reuters: Shanghai Disneyland Still Awaiting Approval from Central Government

SHANGHAI/HONG KONG, Nov 2 (Reuters) – The Shanghai government may soon give preliminary details on plans for a new Disney theme park it hopes to develop, as it awaits Beijing’s formal approval for the project, a government source said on Monday.

The official Xinhua news agency cited Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng as telling a media briefing on Sunday that the city would hold a news briefing soon to reveal the latest developments concerning the proposed park.

“This project will surely go forward, but first it must be approved by the central government,” said the government source on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

“They will seek to clarify the situation with this upcoming news conference,” he said.

Rumors have swirled in Chinese media in the last two weeks that Shanghai could soon announce final plans to build a park with Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), possibly to coincide with a planned trip to the city later this month by U.S. President Barack Obama.

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Miramax Films to Lose President, New York Roots

It’s now being widely reported that troubled Miramax Films is following suit with Walt Disney Studios in that its President, Daniel Battsek, is set to resign in January. While it’s officially a ‘mutual’ move, some sources claim Battsek is being forced out due to bad performance by the label. This — of course — follows hotly on the heels of Dick Cook leaving the Walt Disney Studios just over a month ago.

In addition, Miramax, whose maximum number of films per year has already been significantly reduced by its parent company, is also being expected to relocate from its home in New York City to Los Angeles.

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Disney to Build New Production Facility at Golden Oak Ranch

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – The Walt Disney Co. plans to build a 12-stage production facility at its Golden Oak Ranch in the Santa Clarita Valley, northwest of Los Angeles, primarily to serve the production needs of ABC Studios.

Disney and ABC Studios have filed applications with Los Angeles County for Disney/ABC Studios at the Ranch, a high-tech soundstage and production facility. The facility, which would include six pairs of soundstages, would take up 56 acres in the western tip of the 890-acre Gold Oak Ranch.

Disney has only two soundstage facilities, one on the Disney lot, which has virtually no usable outdoor space, and one at its Prospect Studios.

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Disney Institute 2010 Open-Enrollment Schedule Now Posted Online

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Oct. 26  — The 2010 schedule for Disney Institute open enrollment programs is now available at www.disneyinstitute.com. Located under the Web site’s “Events” tab, the extended calendar offers increased flexibility for professionals who want to book training through the end of the coming year.

Open-enrollment programs include three- and five-day programs available at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and a series of one-day programs offered at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. One- and three-day programs are dedicated to specific topics such as quality service, leadership excellence, people management, brand loyalty, and inspiring creativity. The five-day programs dedicate a day to each of the five core Disney Institute curricula.

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Tough Jobs: Taking the Store out of ‘The Disney Store’

With an economy in the red, The Disney Store appears to have carte blanche with a blue sky concept in which new and existing Disney Stores will feel less like a store and more like a miniature Walt Disney World. The New York Times recently explored some of the potential of the new retail-less shops as provoked by Apple co-founder and Disney board member Steve Jobs.

At a proposed cost of nearly $1M per store for the makeover, innovations include embedded chips in products that invoke interaction with the store’s environment. A concept that’s not too entirely off given the pending reality of RFID chips being introduced en mass to the retail market for inventory control and quick checkouts.

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Disney Executive George Kalogridis Named President of the Disneyland Resort

ANAHEIM, Calif., Oct. 12  — George Kalogridis, a 38-year Disney veteran and former Disneyland executive, has been named president of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. Kalogridis most recently served as chief operating officer for Disneyland Resort Paris, where he was responsible for leading the operations team and overseeing the highly successful 15th anniversary celebration of the resort.

Kalogridis, 55, will report to Al Weiss, president of Worldwide Operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. He replaces Ed Grier, who is retiring from the company.

“George is a proven strategic thinker whose operational expertise and strong leadership skills will serve him well in leading the Disneyland Resort,” said Weiss. “We are excited to welcome him back to California and look forward to his leadership as we continue to expand and grow this beloved place.”

From 2000 to 2002, Kalogridis served as senior vice president of Resort Operations for the Disneyland Resort, where he played a significant role in the first expansion of the resort – the opening of Disney’s California Adventure park and Downtown Disney. In addition, he was responsible for the daily operations of both theme parks and three hotels, as well as Downtown Disney.

“I am thrilled to be returning to Disneyland, particularly during this exciting time of significant expansion,” said Kalogridis. “I look forward to working with the Cast who make the magic for our Guests everyday and partnering with the Orange County community to ensure the Anaheim Resort Area continues to thrive.”

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Disney Theatrical: 20K Licensees Enter The Scene

Editor’s Note: Please don’t let the horrible title take away from the significance of this momentous occasion. They can’t all be winners.

Variety recently reported that Disney Theatrical has licensed its full-lengthed and abridged staged versions of its Broadway and Film classics aimed at elementary schools through professionals to 20,000 licensees to date.

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