March 9, 2024, 9:14 AM ·

Walt Disney Imagineering President Barbara Bouza announced this morning that she will be leaving WDI this month.

Bouza joined Disney in 2020 under the leadership of former CEO Bob Chapek. She came to Disney from the design and architecture firm Gensler, which – ironically – is where her predecessor at WDI, Bob Weis, ended up after he completed his run as President at Disney’s theme park design shop in 2021.”Joining Walt Disney Imagineering in June of 2020, I truly believed humanity needed Disney more than ever,” Bouza wrote in social media post announcing her departure. “The world was trying to understand the impact of a global pandemic, business disruption, stay at home orders, a reckoning on race, and the growing political divide. From there Imagineers endured the pressures of talent reductions, unprecedented hyper-escalation on projects, political crosshairs, and the need to make life changing decisions with their families around the relocation from California to Florida.”Disney ultimately backtracked on that relocation, after Disney CEO Bob Iger returned to the company and canceled the planned move of the Disney Experiences segment, and WDI, from California to the Lake Nona project in Orlando. And the cancelation of projects during the lockdowns gave way to an unprecedented planned expansion for Disney’s theme parks, with Iger announcing $60 billion in capital expansion for the parks over 10 years.Last year, Bruce Vaughn returned to Disney to co-lead WDI with Bouza, serving in the position of Chief Creative Officer. In her post, Bouza said that “WDI will be in excellent hands with my partner, Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Officer, who is an exceptional creative leader.””It is bittersweet as I wrap up my work as President of Walt Disney Imagineering this month before I create an even bigger impact for world. Stay tuned!”* * *
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