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  • #61
    Re: Tony Baxter

    Having read Imagineer Tony Baxter's "Open Letter", one can't help but interpret this was not an easy decision ... but a personal decision that he was prepared to do for quite some time (& yes, this is my opinion). Will the Walt Disney Co have other Imagineers like Tony Baxter? Yes - because they already have them, but also No - because none of them have as many years within the Company as Tony Baxter (which afforded him the rightfully deserved clout). If this is Tony Baxter's retirement? Has has earned it (along with a Window on Main Street).



    As Walt Disney Theme Park Fans, we have two choices -



    Bicker amongst ourselves here online (if the Walt Disney Co is aware of the disappointment this news brings, let them sweat over publishing the "damage control" for the public to digest)



    Make our feelings known offline (if you can afford to join D23, as well as attend D23 Conventions? please stop kissing a r s e and start asking "real questions")



    Either path you take, the next time you visit a Walt Disney Theme Park, wear a TEAM BAXTER t-shirt (would anyone like to volunteer creating them?). Having a photo opportunity with Walt Disney Theme Park Management? Wear that TEAM BAXTER t-shirt proudly (and make sure Management sees it). I have to say that 47 years is a very long time to be working creatively within any Company AND having to adjust to various Management Shifts. I feel that it is true those Imagineers who worked under Walt Disney's guidance valued that experience (Tony Baxter was one of the first 2nd Generation Imagineers who gained a wealth of experience working alongside Claude Coats, Marc Davis, John Hench, etc - whomever is left in Imagineering doesn't have the same knowledge and experience - and to top that? There no longer is a Walt Disney at the Company to guide Imagineers).



    I believe that Tony Baxter was the last of the "Imagineers who Guided". If those Imagineers at the Walt Disney Company can only communicate with him via what is "approved and accepted" by Walt Disney Co Management? Then that has to be thee worst environment for anyone who has creative skills. This (& its only speculative until we notice certain things not taking place in Walt Disney Theme Parks) could bring about an exodus of Imagineers on par with the exodus Don Bluth ushered at Walt Disney Animation back in the late 70's (the exception being Universal Studios would love to hire former Walt Disney Imagineers. So would Cedar Fair, or Six Flags, or any Themed Resort! Now it makes sense that a "Consultant" can go work anywhere they want to without having to tolerate problems with Management at any Company).


    The only questions I have are -


    Who will mentor the remaining Imagineers?


    Will we see our Favorite Rides (& Areas) taken care of properly?


    When will Tony Baxter finally get his Window on Main Street?


    Are We allowed to e-mail Bruce Vaughn's office and tell him we truly think this sucks?



    C J
    sigpic

    I <3 Making Friends Who Share The Same Interests :-)

    http://www.facebook.com/darkamor

    http://www.twitter.com/darkamor

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    • #62
      Re: Tony Baxter

      Originally posted by AB Born View Post
      Response to his letter:

      From: WDI Communications

      Date: February 1, 2013, 8:02:16 AM PST

      Subject: Organizational Announcement - Tony Baxter


      We'd like to share that, as of today, Tony Baxter is leaving his role as a creative development executive to become a part-time advisor to Imagineering. Tony began his 47-year Disney career as an ice cream scooper on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland while in college. After joining WDI in 1970, he was heavily involved in the concepts for some of our most iconic attractions such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Star Tours, Splash Mountain and Indiana Jones. He also oversaw the creative aspects of the "original" New Fantasyland at Disneyland and was the creative lead for our second international park, Disneyland Paris.


      In addition to his extensive portfolio work, Tony has long been an enthusiastic mentor to new Imagineers and will continue this mission in his new role. Like so many Imagineering greats before him, his creativity, passion and knowledge will have a remarkable impact on the next generations of WDI dreamers and doers. We thank Tony for his
      immeasurable contributions to the Disney legacy so far, and look forward to his next chapter.


      Bruce | Craig


      TRANSLATION - it's just Walt Disney Co propaganda & damage control to thwart upset Disney Theme Park Fans from being irritated by Tony Baxter being pushed out of his Imagineering position (seriously, if you are a D23 Member attending any D23 Conventions in 2013 - stop kissing a r s e and start asking "real questions" - i.e. why is Meg Crofton still in charge of Theme Parks? why was Tony Baxter forced out of his Imagineering job?)



      C J
      sigpic

      I <3 Making Friends Who Share The Same Interests :-)

      http://www.facebook.com/darkamor

      http://www.twitter.com/darkamor

      Comment


      • #63
        Re: Tony Baxter

        Originally posted by darkamor View Post
        ...If those Imagineers at the Walt Disney Company can only communicate with him via what is "approved and accepted" by Walt Disney Co Management? Then that has to be thee worst environment for anyone who has creative skills.
        Sadly, this is nothing new. The political toxicity of WDI's work environment has been ongoing for a quarter century, since the advent of the Eisner regime.
        "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
        Disney may have finally found the grail. You don't need
        imagination or art. All you need is a brand."

        - Neil Gabler

        "I didn't know the story of baby Jesus could be any better,
        until Thor told it to me."
        -
        Young girl at Disneyland's 2017 Candlelight Ceremony
        narrated by Chris Hemsworth

        Comment


        • #64
          Re: Tony Baxter

          Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
          Sadly, this is nothing new. The political toxicity of WDI's work environment has been ongoing for a quarter century, since the advent of the Eisner regime.
          I assume that by "Eisner regime", you are referring to the post Frank Wells era. During the period when Eisner and Wells were a dynamic partnership, Imagnieering had it's second generation heyday. It was only after the death of Wells and Eisner's heart surgery that everything began to head downhill.

          Comment


          • #65
            Re: Tony Baxter

            Originally posted by bfdf55 View Post
            I assume that by "Eisner regime", you are referring to the post Frank Wells era. During the period when Eisner and Wells were a dynamic partnership, Imagnieering had it's second generation heyday. It was only after the death of Wells and Eisner's heart surgery that everything began to head downhill.
            Unfortunately, the seeds of the post-Wells culture changes had already been planted before his death.

            Comment


            • #66
              Re: Tony Baxter

              For those who would like to show their support for Mr. Tony Baxter, check these out...they're basic, but get the point across. I'm not a protesting type, but Mr. Baxter is a class act and has true vision and I am sorry if the company is going in another (read: cheaper) direction with the parks...makes me nervous for the future.
              http://www.zazzle.com/team_baxter_t_shirt-235060052816653253


              http://www.zazzle.com/team_baxter_button-145232236669423856


              http://www.zazzle.com/team_baxter_hat-233816905327489888
              Imagination ~ dream a fantastic dream ~ use your imagination

              Please visit my store!
              http://www.zazzle.com/carouselofcolor*

              My current blog - check it out!
              http://www.thishappyplace.wordpress.com

              Comment


              • #67
                Re: Tony Baxter

                Folks, please, Tony is old. He retired, but was asked to stay and consult because he is a valuable member of the company. He was really tired of coming in everyday and wiping noses as is the job of a VP. He has passed that hat to a younger man with a full case of Kleenex.

                He was not shown the door. No Worldwide Security guard appeared at his desk with a cardboard box to "walk him out."

                Tony appreciates the good will shown by associates and people who have admired his work, but I think he would be a bit embarrassed by the "Team Baxter" movement." Roy's "Save Disney" publicity tour was generated in-house at Shamrock to protect their investment. It worked. Bob (Iger) may have asked Roy to resign (as an employee, not from the board of directors) as hatchet man for Michael (Eisner), but Roy had planned to step back from day to day direct company involvement anyhow. He knew though that he had to replace Michael who had become ineffective as Chairman/CEO. Who did he pick to be CEO? Bob Iger. Roy often spoke privately of Bob's talent, and that confidence has borne fruit.

                The case with Tony is slightly different. Upper management is delighted with his work, and past contributions. Tony made the decision to retire. A fate we all must recognize at some point. Tony will still be on board, but management has gracefully agreed to assign Bruce to be the gatekeeper to assure Tony's talent is best utilized for projects that will make money.

                Comment


                • #68
                  Re: Tony Baxter

                  I can only speak for myself, but Mr. Baxter's departure (whether his decision or not) in my eyes is the death of an era when it comes to Imagineering. The generalization of the parks, to me, is depressing...the parks used to be so unique that I couldn't wait to travel to other parks to see the differences. I do not personally know Mr. Baxter, but from what I do know of him, he is an incredibly talented and highly creative man and I would never willfully disrespect anyone.

                  Any Team Baxter/Baxter's Army/T-Bax (or any other Tony Baxter related names I've seen out there) support that I would show is out of pure respect for a man who's talent will be missed in the parks. I know he's still a consultant, but it's not the same. The parks just aren't the same anymore, and the news of his departure makes me sad.
                  Imagination ~ dream a fantastic dream ~ use your imagination

                  Please visit my store!
                  http://www.zazzle.com/carouselofcolor*

                  My current blog - check it out!
                  http://www.thishappyplace.wordpress.com

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Re: Tony Baxter

                    Originally posted by Moviela View Post
                    The case with Tony is slightly different. Upper management is delighted with his work, and past contributions. Tony made the decision to retire. A fate we all must recognize at some point. Tony will still be on board, but management has gracefully agreed to assign Bruce to be the gatekeeper to assure Tony's talent is best utilized for projects that will make money.
                    A tone that doesn't match the recent years of WDI departures.. nor Tony's letter.. nor Tony's tact of late.. nor the much rumored clashes between Tony and the other WDI senior management.

                    Why would a man who absolutely loves Disney and the art.. to the very bone of his body.. willingly walk away from the company..just shy of 50!! years with it.. a company where other greats have literally worked until they died (hench).. simply to 'retire'. Oh and do so with a guns blazing retirement notice too?

                    And if he was just retiring.. and upper management was so delighted with him.. why has there not been ANY formal public fawning over Baxter in his choice to 'retire'? No Disney Park blog posts.. no D23 action... nothing.

                    This from the same blog that celebrated
                    suit Al Weiss' retirement - Al Weiss Announces Retirement « Disney Parks Blog
                    a DL custodian retiring - http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/bl....uest-services/
                    Bobby Cox.. who doesn't even work for Disney gets a mention - Disney Farewell for Bobby Cox « Disney Parks Blog

                    Sorry.. your post reeks of corporate line...

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Re: Tony Baxter

                      Originally posted by lazyboy97O View Post
                      Unfortunately, the seeds of the post-Wells culture changes had already been planted before his death.

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Re: Tony Baxter

                        Actually it was after DLP did not do as well as expected that Tony's fall began.

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Re: Tony Baxter

                          Originally posted by flynnibus View Post

                          And if he was just retiring.. and upper management was so delighted with him.. why has there not been ANY formal public fawning over Baxter in his choice to 'retire'? No Disney Park blog posts.. no D23 action... nothing.


                          Sorry.. your post reeks of corporate line...
                          What many of you fail to realize is Tony is a showman, but not a showboater.

                          His sudden announcement was timed to avoid all the PR who-ha.

                          Corporate line? No, simply Veritas.

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Re: Tony Baxter

                            Sudden announcement ??

                            The company doesn't want to even acknowledge the senior guy in imagineering leaving because he was being humble?? Nah - don't buy it

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Re: Tony Baxter

                              Marty was promoted by, empowered by, and emulated the management style of the same guy who promoted Paul: Michael Eisner.

                              The myth that everything was hunky-dory until Frank died is just that -- a myth. Disney's toxic, Eisner-style internal politics were running at full blast within the first few years of Michael's arrival in 1984. What changed after Frank's death in 1994 is that Michael's management style went public.
                              Last edited by Mr Wiggins; 02-13-2013, 09:09 AM.
                              "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
                              Disney may have finally found the grail. You don't need
                              imagination or art. All you need is a brand."

                              - Neil Gabler

                              "I didn't know the story of baby Jesus could be any better,
                              until Thor told it to me."
                              -
                              Young girl at Disneyland's 2017 Candlelight Ceremony
                              narrated by Chris Hemsworth

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Re: Tony Baxter

                                -

                                Tony my friend,

                                You have just begun to dream.

                                Comment


                                • #76
                                  Re: Tony Baxter

                                  Originally posted by Moviela View Post
                                  Folks, please, Tony is old. He retired, but was asked to stay and consult because he is a valuable member of the company.

                                  . . .

                                  The case with Tony is slightly different. Upper management is delighted with his work, and past contributions. Tony made the decision to retire. A fate we all must recognize at some point. Tony will still be on board, but management has gracefully agreed to assign Bruce to be the gatekeeper to assure Tony's talent is best utilized for projects that will make money.
                                  Tony was upset about his leaving WDI, he was, in effect, forced out as he wanted to continue to work for Disney. Obviously, WDI employees are not encouraged to contact Tony directly and seek his advice, paid or otherwise, and must OK it with Bruce Vaughn, and I doubt that anybody will ask for his help officially within WDI due to politics. Maybe Vaughn or somebody, years down the line will "consult" Tony just to put his name on a project and appease the fans.

                                  Sadly, Tony's days of creating new lands/attractions are over at Disney (unless some key folks get fired).

                                  The only reason that Tony agreed into being forced into retirement was the slim chance that he could be involved on another project.

                                  Obviously, had Tony's . . . "retirement" been under friendly circumstances there would have been major events related to this event, such as special recognition for Tony's long service to the company. He was pushed out the door, there isn't a nice way to sugar coat it.

                                  Tony was all for quality attractions, and had he been in charge of new attractions like Monsters Inc., Mermaid, they'd be closer to the quality of Carsland versus the cheap/clueless attractions they are which obviously weren't supervised by somebody with the good eye that Tony has.
                                  Last edited by chesirecat; 02-15-2013, 10:33 PM.

                                  Comment


                                  • #77
                                    Re: Tony Baxter

                                    Originally posted by HMF View Post
                                    Actually it was after DLP did not do as well as expected that Tony's fall began.
                                    The timing may have coincided with EDL, but the issue of the park's poor response was ANYTHING but Baxter's fault. The whole reason that the park has become the major success it has achieved is due to Baxter and his team's efforts.

                                    As for the park's "failings", most of that was due to Eisner (over building hotels that the park would take years to fill), marketing (marketed as what the French perceived as a "kiddy park"), and the first park that did not have a general admission ticket available.

                                    Some of the other issues included the French media being very anti-EuroDisneyland and Eisner's negative public comments intended to help Disney get a better financing deal for the whole resort.

                                    But, then having Baxter take the hit for the park's miss worked for senior WDI management.

                                    Comment


                                    • #78
                                      Re: Tony Baxter

                                      Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
                                      Marty was promoted by, empowered by, and emulated the management style of the same guy who promoted Paul: Michael Eisner.

                                      The myth that everything was hunky-dory until Frank died is just that -- a myth. Disney's toxic, Eisner-style internal politics were running at full blast within the first few years of Michael's arrival in 1984. What changed after Frank's death in 1994 is that Michael's management style went public.
                                      There is no question that Eisner management style was a nightmare from the start, but Wells was able to temper many of the situations that came up. As for WDI, things WERE relatively hunky-dory with WDI for the most part. Yes, there were situations where Imagineers were pitted against each other. However, until Wells' death, Baxter had direct contact with Eisner and Wells concerning the projects he was working on, and for the most part, got support from both.

                                      After Wells' death, and Eisner's heart issues, Eisner isolated himself with layers of management and relied on clueless MBA's for financial guidance.

                                      Comment


                                      • #79
                                        Re: Tony Baxter

                                        Originally posted by bfdf55 View Post
                                        As for WDI, things WERE relatively hunky-dory with WDI for the most part. Yes, there were situations where Imagineers were pitted against each other.
                                        Actually, no. After Walt's death, the camaraderie at WDI sharply declined and many of the older, experienced, Walt-generation Imagineers were forced out before Eisner and Wells ever joined Disney. Just look at how Marc Davis was treated by management. Of course, much of that was Marc's own fault, but he was not the only example of politics invading WDI. Even before Wells' death, however, I think things started to get really bad and have never really recovered.

                                        Comment


                                        • #80
                                          Re: Tony Baxter

                                          -

                                          I am glad i found this thread....
                                          So much to think about...so much to ponder....

                                          :shy:
                                          Last edited by Baxter Manor; 02-19-2013, 05:51 PM.

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