Walt Disney World Dedicates Main Street USA Window to Meg Crofton

Meg Crofton WDW Window

Opening to packed crowds on Wednesday, Walt Disney World dedicated a special window in Main Street, U.S.A. to Meg Crofton, who served as the president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts since August 7, 2006 until retiring this year.

Walt Disney World held a special dedication ceremony shortly after the Magic Kingdom opened. Guests entering the park had to use the sidewalks as the whole center of Main Street was closed off.

The window is located over the Emporium on the corner of Main Street and Center Street.

Article originally posted at Inside the Magic

Special thanks to WDW Guided Tours for the photos and information.

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Meg Crofton to Retire in June 2015

Meg Crofton

Meg Crofton, who is a 35 year Walt Disney Company veteran,  has announced her intention to retire next ear.

60 year old Crofton said that she will leave her position as President, Operations, US and France to retire on June 1, 2015. There has not been a successor announced as of yet, with the company having nearly 6 months to fill the position that was created for Crofton in July 2011. Meg had previously served for 5 years as President of the Walt Disney World Resort.

In a short interview with an internal Disney publication, Meg shares some thoughts on retirement, and a reflection of her achievements with the company.

Why did you decide to retire?
Well, I never really had a plan for retirement. But I did, over the years, develop a couple of guiding principles. One of the most important was that I wanted to leave while I still had plenty of juice left for the next chapter in my life. I didn’t think about it very much until my 60th birthday, which was last year.

Looking back on it, I realize that it was a decision that I came to very gradually and almost not consciously. I loved what I was doing. I had just made a major move across country and was happily embracing my professional and personal growth opportunities and focusing on our parks and resorts in Florida, California and France. But my husband, Rich, has been retired for some time now, and I became increasingly aware that I really wanted to build our new west coast life with him in San Francisco.

I have so much respect and affection for those I am privileged to work with. As much as I will miss them and the many exciting projects ahead for our Company, the pull to start the next chapter of my life is stronger.

What do you want to do in retirement?
I want to continue my “heart” work of mentoring and helping others, enjoy lots of family time, take advantage of all that my new home city and surrounding countryside offers, do more traveling for pleasure and have a flexible calendar. And I am looking forward to doing all of that!

You have worked closely with your leader, Tom Staggs, for a number of years. Here is what he said:

Anyone who knows Meg knows how much she cares about this company and the dedication she has to anything she does. When she told me a while back about her decision to retire, it was clear that there was conviction in her decision. Her face lit up when she talked about how ready she was to start her next chapter with her husband, Rich. I couldn’t be any happier for her.

There are few people within Parks and Resorts who have inspired as many people and made as significant an impact as Meg has. She has devoted her career to nurturing countless cast members, encouraging them to achieve new heights, coaching them to succeed and helping them down the path, no matter where they wanted it to take them. She has amassed innumerable achievements over the years, literally spanning the globe. And for all that she has accomplished and all of whom she has helped, Meg has done it with an amazing sense of grace and humility, which is what I appreciate and respect the most about her.

Meg is not retiring until June 1, 2015, so we will be naming her successor at a later date. We have many more months to celebrate her and wish her well. I am thrilled that she will be working at Parks and Resorts until then.

Meg, any reaction?
I cannot thank Tom enough for his leadership, friendship, kindness, and unwavering support over the years. I am very excited to be a part of and continue working alongside this tremendous team for the months ahead. I intend to be fully present and enjoy every minute of it!

This is such an amazing company! With the passing of every year, I am more aware and grateful for the blessing of working for an organization whose purpose it is to bring happiness to people and give them cherished memories that last a lifetime. I collect wonderful quotes and found this one years ago…”Memory is a child walking along a sea shore. You can never tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things.” We are so fortunate that at Disney it is their memories with us that our Guests store among their treasured things.

I am deeply proud of every moment I have spent here and feel richly blessed to have had a ringside seat to watch our Company’s special brand of magic touch hearts. I am so excited and confident about the future of our company and the direction of Parks and Resorts. Candidly, it is that excitement that makes my decision to retire so bittersweet.

Disney Files Permits for Work at Disney’s Hollyswood Studios Soundstage 1

Soundstage 1

Disney has filed permit paperwork for what is expected to be a major project in Soundstage 1 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The soundstage which is located between Toy Story Mania and the Studio Backlot Tour, has recently been used as gift shop during Star Wars Weekends, a base for MyMagic+ testing, and most recently as the home to Wondering Oaken’s during Frozen Summer Fun.

Simply titled, ‘Project 3 – DHS Soundstage 1 Renovation,’ the permits do not give away any details, other than the expiration date of 9/30/2016, and Whiting Turner being involved in the project. The long expiration date for the permit suggests something on a large scale.

Adding further weight to a coming addition is the appearance of several key executives and Imagineers at the park today. WDI’s Tom Fitzgerald, Tom Staggs, George Kalogridis, and Meg Crofton were reportedly seen in the area of Soundstage 1.

Some recent rumors have suggested one possible use of Soundstage 1 may be for an expansion of Toy Story Mania to provide additional capacity. Personally, I’m not buying into that rumor.  This appears to be a much bigger project than simply an expansion of Toy Story Mania.  Other rumors for Soundstage 1 have also mentioned a Monsters Inc themed roller coaster attraction, expanding the Pixar Place mini-land.

The upcoming closure of the Studios Backlot Tour this weekend would appear to also be a significant step in this project, given its close proximity to Soundstage 1.

Disney has not yet commented on any expansion, or given any indication of what will replace the Studios Backlot Tour.

Meg Crofton Honored for Orlando Economic Development Achievements

Meg-Crofton

Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, United States and France, accepted the Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) James B. Greene Award for hercontributions to Central Florida’s economic prosperity.

Crofton received the honor at the organization’s annual awards dinner last evening at Amway Center. First presented in 1990, the award recognizes a leader whose work has had a significant impact on the region’s business community and quality of life.

“With her enduring enthusiasm and hard work in support of our area’s economic vitality, Meg is truly deserving of this highest honor bestowed by the EDC,” said Scott Faris, CEO of MicroVapor Devices and current chair of the EDC Board of Directors. “Through initiatives such as the EDC Leadership Charter, she built a legacy of collaboration and engagement that propelled the organization to new heights in economic development for the region.”

As EDC board chair from 2009-2010, Crofton helped guide the organization through the recession, developing innovative ways to engage the group’s board members. During those challenging economic times, she championed a variety of regional initiatives, such as the development of SunRail, Amway Center and Orlando’s Medical City.

During her time as president of Walt Disney World Resort, Crofton took on a variety of community leadership roles. She was appointed to the University of Central Florida’s Board of Trustees and served on the Florida Council of 100, a group that promotes statewide economic growth. She also served on the Rollins College Board of Trustees, the boards of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness and Orlando Health, and the Executive Committee of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

“I’m honored and humbled to be recognized by the EDC with this prestigious award,” said Crofton. “Central Florida will always be special to me and I’m so proud of all the EDC has accomplished on behalf of this outstanding community.”

Crofton, who grew up in Central Florida and lived in the region until 2013, is responsible for operations at many of Disney’s theme parks and resorts, including Walt Disney World Resort – Central Florida’s largest employer – Disneyland Resort in California and Disneyland Paris.