Disney Legend Jim Cora Dies at Age 83

Disney Legend, who began his Disney career at Disneyland in 1957 as a part-time attractions host polishing 3D glasses at the Mickey Mouse Club Theater and retired 43 years later as chairman of Disney International, passed away on March 21st at the age of 83.

Cora’s influence at the company was vast,  stretching around the globe from Disneyland to Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, so much so that it took multiple windows dedicated in his honor on Main Street U.S.A. to capture all of his contributions.

According to the Orange County Register, Cora credited his rapid rise to company founder Walt Disney who set his career path in motion with a promotion into a training and development role. The boss sent the teenager over to the Disneyland administration building to find Disney University founder Van Arsdale France with the admonition: “Tell him Walt sent you. I think he may have something for you.”

Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products and former Disneyland resort president Josh D’Amaro called Cora one of the company’s last connections to Walt Disney.

Very few people have a Disney legacy that reaches as far and wide as Jim Cora,” D’Amaro said in a statement. “His dedication to bringing Disney magic to people around the world was only matched by the passion he exuded throughout his career and for the many years that followed. I always loved hearing Jim’s thoughts about our business. He was one of our last connections to Walt Disney and he will be missed dearly.

In 1971, Cora instituted the “Disney Way of Leadership” program at the Magic Kingdom with the opening of Walt Disney World.

Prior to the 1983 opening of Tokyo Disneyland, Cora was named managing director of operations for the that theme park.  He was then promoted to vice president of Walt Disney Productions Japan, overseeing Disney’s operational and design standards.

After Tokyo Disneyland, Cora was put in charge of master planning and site research for Euro Disneyland, which would later became known as Disneyland Paris.

In the 1990’s, Cora was responsible for the creative direction of Tokyo DisneySea. He retired as chairman of Disney International in 2001. Cora was named a Disney Legend in 2005.

Tokyo Disney Resort to Open July 1st

The Oriental Land Company announced earlier today that Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea will reopen on July 1st.

The theme parks have been closed since February 29 due to the spread of the novel coronavirus in Japan. The four-month closure is the longest since Tokyo Disneyland first opened in 1983.

In order to keep visitors safe after the reopening, the parks will let in set numbers of visitors the parks will open at 8:00 AM and close at 8:00 PM. Tickets will only be sold online, starting on June 25. Visitors will be required to wear masks and have their temperatures taken at the park entrance. And some attractions and live entertainments will remain on hiatus.

Tokyo Disney Resort Set for Major Expansion

Oriental Land, which operates the Tokyo Disney Resort complex that includes the Disneyland and DisneySea theme parks, has revealed plans for a massive expansion. Completion is expected in 2023.

The company plans to invest nearly $2.7 billion to upgrade and expand facilities and attractions, while planning to double visitor numbers by 2020, the year of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. With the planned expansion the 100-hectare complex is expected to grow 30%.

Oriental Land operates Tokyo Disney Resort under license from Disney. Since its start in 1983 with the opening of Tokyo Disneyland, the theme park, hotel and shopping complex in Chiba Prefecture, has grown to attract nearly 30 million visitors annually.

From Variety

Disney Names Chapek Chairman of Parks and Resorts

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Bob Chapek has been named Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, it was announced today by Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Thomas O. Staggs, Chief Operating Officer, The Walt Disney Company.

A 22-year veteran of The Walt Disney Company, Mr. Chapek has served since 2011 as President of Disney Consumer Products, driving a technology-led transformation of the Company’s consumer products, retail and publishing operations. He assumes his new role effective immediately.

“Under Bob’s leadership, Consumer Products has seen great success, focusing on brands and a franchise-driven strategy while launching new products and retail experiences that combine technological innovation and creativity,” Mr. Iger said. “He is an experienced and versatile executive well-suited to lead Parks and Resorts into the future.”

As Chairman of Parks and Resorts, Mr. Chapek succeeds Mr. Staggs, who was named Disney’s Chief Operating Officer earlier this month. Mr. Chapek will report to both Mr. Iger and Mr. Staggs.

“Bob is stepping into this role at an incredibly dynamic and exciting time for our Parks and Resorts business,” Mr. Staggs said. “The ongoing construction of Shanghai Disney Resort as well as the new Avatar-themed land at Walt Disney World continues an era of unprecedented growth and historic expansion.”

“I am grateful for the many opportunities I have had during my years at Disney, and am thrilled to join the incredible Disney Parks organization,” Mr. Chapek said. “I look forward to working with the remarkably talented team dedicated to creating magical memories for millions of guests around the world.” A successor to Mr. Chapek at Disney Consumer Products will be named at a later date.

Prior to leading Disney Consumer Products, Mr. Chapek served as President of Distribution for The Walt Disney Studios from 2009 to 2011, and was responsible for overseeing the Studios’ overall content distribution strategy across multiple platforms including theatrical exhibition, home entertainment, pay TV, digital entertainment and new media. He also served as President of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, where he spearheaded the successful “vault strategy” for the company’s iconic films and transformed the primary format of home entertainment from DVD to Blu-ray.

Before joining Disney in 1993, Mr. Chapek worked in brand management at H.J. Heinz Company and in advertising at J. Walter Thompson.

Mr. Chapek earned a B.S. in Microbiology at Indiana University Bloomington and an MBA from Michigan State University.

Tokyo Disney Resort Celebrates 600 Millionth Guest

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The Tokyo Disney Resort amusement park complex near Tokyo received its 600 millionth guest Saturday, according to Oriental Land Company.

Yumi Sakai, a 39-year-old nurse from Nagoya who was visiting with her husband and two daughters, was greeted by Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters as she became the milestone figure.

“I can’t believe it,” she said. “I want to come here with my kids again and make wonderful memories.”

The resort which opened as Tokyo Disneyland in April 1983 with Tokyo DisneySea added in 2001, marked 100 million visitors in May 1991 and 500 million in August 2010.

Located in Urayasu, Chiba prefecture, the park logged a record-high 31.3 million visitors in fiscal 2013, which ended in March, due to events commemorating its 30th anniversary and a pickup in the Japanese economy.