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Who was the best Disney leader/CEO Poll

Who was the best Disney leader/CEO?


  • Total voters
    205

SirWillow

Well-Known Member
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The obvious answer is Walt, along with his brother Roy. The two worked together. It's probably a good thing that we didn't ever really see one without the other.

You need an Eisner / Wells combo.

And Card Walker. And some would say Donn Tatum.
Absolutely agreed. Eisner with Wells was great, as Wells balanced him out. Eisner without Wells was, well, not well. :p So many seem to have forgotten how bad the parks, especially Disneyland, were the last several years under Eisner, and how low quality and unoriginal the movies were. Eisner needed Wells, and there were good reasons Roy Jr helped to run him out when he did- he needed to go at that point.

Seems the best leaders of the company have all had a second strong person along side them. And when that second wasn't there, then the balance went out of whack. You need an idealist along with the money man. Seems that you rarely get both in one package.
 

Tom P.

Well-Known Member
The obvious answer is Walt, along with his brother Roy. The two worked together. It's probably a good thing that we didn't ever really see one without the other.



Absolutely agreed. Eisner with Wells was great, as Wells balanced him out. Eisner without Wells was, well, not well. :p So many seem to have forgotten how bad the parks, especially Disneyland, were the last several years under Eisner, and how low quality and unoriginal the movies were. Eisner needed Wells, and there were good reasons Roy Jr helped to run him out when he did- he needed to go at that point.

Seems the best leaders of the company have all had a second strong person along side them. And when that second wasn't there, then the balance went out of whack. You need an idealist along with the money man. Seems that you rarely get both in one package.
Agreed. And there is absolutely no question that Bob Iger is a top notch businessman. His business acumen is almost unparalleled in corporate America today. But who is the idea man to balance him out? And not just the idea man, but the idea man with the ability to actually look him in the eye and tell him he's wrong?
 

Sirwalterraleigh

Well-Known Member
Agreed. And there is absolutely no question that Bob Iger is a top notch businessman. His business acumen is almost unparalleled in corporate America today. But who is the idea man to balance him out? And not just the idea man, but the idea man with the ability to actually look him in the eye and tell him he's wrong?
Bob Iger is a tv guy who barely left his office.

Now...he has well exceeded expectations...but that doesn’t make him Mr. Business.
 

Sirwalterraleigh

Well-Known Member
Personally, I'd tighten up the category that addressing specific areas. Both Eisner and Iger did a great service of fending off takeovers of the company from (Roy E Disney who was going to buy the company and sell off the parks to save its film studios, Eisner - corporate raiders {aka Saul Steinburg}, and Iger - Comcast).
You got a lot of that completely skewed up....
 

Sir_Cliff

Well-Known Member
You need an Eisner / Wells combo.

And Card Walker. And some would say Donn Tatum.
Indeed. I think people often forget just how bad Eisner was by the time he was forced out. He was shamelessly milking Disney's library through endless low-quality direct to videos sequels such as Bambi 2, Cinderella 3, etc. Eisner's great answer to Dreamworks was the poor Dreamworks knock-off Chicken Little. To compete with Pixar which he seemed destined to lose for Disney as Eisner couldn't get on with anyone, he bought and slapped the Disney name on the embarrassingly bad Wild Life. The big sequel to Disneyland ended up being DCA 1.0 which was so poor it became a joke on The Simpsons. Eisner's fix was to rush a kiddie Bug's Life land with themed off-the-shelf rides and a poorer-quality clone of ToT. In Paris, things were even worse. For Disney's first park in China...

In short, the Disney brand was really being dragged through the mud by the time he left and was just exploiting its heritage to grab for easy money. He even took a long time to realise that DVDs were a thing, and Disney's response was initially to rush-out poor-quality transfers.

I know this won't be popular here, but I'd take Iger over the Eisner of later years any day. Even in terms of the parks, I struggle to see a world in which Eisner would have run the parks better had he stayed longer. DCA 2.0, for example, would never have happened.
 

Sir_Cliff

Well-Known Member
Granted,but they ruined DCA again only 5 years later.
Honestly, it's still far better than Eisner left it. If A Bug's Land was his first solution, I also don't think Eisner would have been above Pixar Pier. The only difference is that I think it would have been a lot more cheaply done.
 

1LE McQueen

Well-Known Member
Eisner greenlit ToT my all time favorite WDW attraction. There was also rocket rods, which shut down due to budget cuts.

Chapek / Iger refuse to greenlight original ideas.
 
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Pooh.sHoneyHuntTDL

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Honestly, it's still far better than Eisner left it. If A Bug's Land was his first solution, I also don't think Eisner would have been above Pixar Pier. The only difference is that I think it would have been a lot more cheaply done.
I'm giving Isner a pass on DCA. It opened in 2001 and the majority of new parks aren't great (Universal IoA, AK) because they lack rides, etc.
Parks will naturally get better as more resources and rides are added over the years.
 

Sir_Cliff

Well-Known Member
I'm giving Isner a pass on DCA. It opened in 2001 and the majority of new parks aren't great (Universal IoA, AK) because they lack rides, etc.
Parks will naturally get better as more resources and rides are added over the years.
The problem wasn't that it lacked rides, but that it was generally ugly and unappealing. A lot of the work done since has been to add theming as the Eisner-era team had the bright idea that a post-modern approach to theming was a clever way of getting around the need to construct elaborately themed environments.

At Walt Disney Studios Paris, on the other hand, they went super literal with the studio conceit to justify essentially building a carpark with some warehouses in it.
 
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1LE McQueen

Well-Known Member
I'm giving Isner a pass on DCA. It opened in 2001 and the majority of new parks aren't great (Universal IoA, AK) because they lack rides, etc.
Parks will naturally get better as more resources and rides are added over the years.
The problem wasn't that it lacked rides, but that it was generally ugly and unappealing. A lot of the work done since has been to add theming as they had the bright idea that a post-modern approach to theming was a clever way of getting around the need to construct elaborately themed environments.

At Walt Disney Studios Paris, they went so literal with the studio conceit to justify essentially just building a carpark with some warehouses in it.
And now, arguably, since chapek was named chairman, DCA has turned into a real garbage can of Disney's IP and is advertisement wonderland.
 

SirWillow

Well-Known Member
Agreed. And there is absolutely no question that Bob Iger is a top notch businessman. His business acumen is almost unparalleled in corporate America today. But who is the idea man to balance him out? And not just the idea man, but the idea man with the ability to actually look him in the eye and tell him he's wrong?
I'm agreed with you. Iger is a great bean counter and finance man. But he doesn't have anyone alongside to balance him out and work the ideas, atmosphere and philosophy (quality guest experience for example). And it shows, especially as time goes on. He's been great for the company, better than Eisner in many ways... which leads to:

Indeed. I think people often forget just how bad Eisner was by the time he was forced out. He was shamelessly milking Disney's library through endless low-quality direct to videos sequels such as Bambi 2, Cinderella 3, etc. Eisner's great answer to Dreamworks was the poor Dreamworks knock-off Chicken Little. To compete with Pixar which he seemed destined to lose for Disney as Eisner couldn't get on with anyone, he bought and slapped the Disney name on the embarrassingly bad Wild Life. The big sequel to Disneyland ended up being DCA 1.0 which was so poor it became a joke on The Simpsons. Eisner's fix was to rush a kiddie Bug's Life land with themed off-the-shelf rides and a poorer-quality clone of ToT. In Paris, things were even worse. For Disney's first park in China...

In short, the Disney brand was really being dragged through the mud by the time he left and was just exploiting its heritage to grab for easy money. He even took a long time to realise that DVDs were a thing, and Disney's response was initially to rush-out poor-quality transfers.

I know this won't be popular here, but I'd take Iger over the Eisner of later years any day. Even in terms of the parks, I struggle to see a world in which Eisner would have run the parks better had he stayed longer. DCA 2.0, for example, would never have happened.
You're dead on with this. People who are saying they wish for the days if Eisner honestly have me stumped and confused, and wondering if they were actually alive when Eisner was running the company and after Wells died. Disneyland was a wreck of low staffing, deferred and undone maintenance, and a mess that led directly to 2 fatal accidents in the park within a few years of each other that never should have happened.

DCA 1.0 is also a very good example of Eisner. While we actually enjoyed it a few months after it opened, that's more to us being able to enjoy just about any park and ride (e.g. we liked Superstar Limo) but not because it was up to Disney quality.

Eisner needed Wells, and once Wells was gone to keep him balanced and in check, the company and the parks went to crap. While there is a lot of penny pinching and cuts in the parks and movie remakes happening under Iger (almost none of which I like) he's still doing far more and better than Eisner was at the end. And a land like Star Wars never would have happened under Eisner.
 

Pooh.sHoneyHuntTDL

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
And a land like Star Wars never would have happened under Eisner.
Disagree. The only reason it happened under Iger was because of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and dropping the ball on acquiring that in the first place.

Eisner would have probably built StarWarsLand & Pandora as a reaction to Wizarding World as well. He did build MGM Studios/DHS as a reaction to Universal Studios in the first place. And Animal Kingdom to siphon off Busch Gardens Dark Continent/Tampa/Africa.
 

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
Walt "the man" vs. Walt "the myth" are two completely different people.
Those two things are part and parcel of the package that was Walt Disney. You can list all the fact vs. myth until the cows come home, without Walt we would be vacationing in a small town swamp. Basically everything you see from Orlando south is there because of Walt Disney and his leadership and ability to give us what we wanted. You can even include Anaheim if you want. I'd say that was pretty much the top of the heap of any President/CEO one cares to mention. All the rest came on with something already establish and huge following based on an idea that was from the brain of WED. None of the others even come close to that and all achieved before the age of 66.
 
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Big Phil

Well-Known Member
Yeah, this is Walt Disney in a rout isn't it? I know there are those who would suggest that perhaps Walt's vision for Epcot wouldn't have been feasible and as a business standpoint wouldn't have lasted. Perhaps, but Walt started it all and he wasn't afraid to fail. Even if the original Epcot did fail I don't doubt he does wonders with all of that space in Florida. Let's not forget, none of this is possible in Florida if he doesn't buy a ton of land in the first place.

So................after Walt? Eisner I guess if you have to pick someone.
 

Big Phil

Well-Known Member
Those two things are part and parcel of the package that was Walt Disney. You can list all the fact vs. myth until the cows come home, without Walt we would be vacationing in a small town swamp. Basically everything you see from Orlando south is there because of Walt Disney and his leadership and ability to give us what we wanted. You can even include Anaheim if you want. I'd say that was pretty much the top of the heap of any President/CEO one cares to mention. All the rest came to with something already establish and huge following based on an idea that was from the brain of WED. None of the others even come close to that and all achieved before the age of 66.
True.....................Cypress Gardens was there before WDW. So was a much, much different version of Busch Gardens, but that's it. Now.........Cypress is LEGOLAND and Busch is a zoo and a rollercoaster park combined. None of that happens without Walt buying the Florida land. Universal never comes there. Sea World - which opened in 1973 - doesn't happen. By 1971 Disneyland was a proven business model so everyone knew that WDW was going to be successful.
 
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