Roy O. Disney's Two Final Decisions

Roy O. Disney's Two Final Decisions

We all know how Roy O. Disney’s leadership in the wake of Walt Disney’s passing in 1966 ultimately led to the creation of Walt Disney World 50 years ago on October 1st, 1971. But there were two little-known, but important decisions that were made by Roy in the wake of the Florida opening, just weeks later. They would create great consequences for the organization moving forward over the years to come. On this, the 50th anniversary of Roy O. Disney’s passing, we will look at those two decisions that came within two months after the park’s opening, and consider what we can learn about decision making in our own individual worlds.

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Souvenirs for You and Your Organization

The Purchase of the Disney Resorts

Our first story involves Roy O. Disney’s decision to purchase USS Steel’s investment in the Walt Disney World Resort hotels. This decision, as we will discuss in the podcast, was the last most difficult financial decision he made. It’s implications continue on today.

Ask yourself the following:

  • What makes for a good partner?
  • What do you compromise in a good partnership? Is that sacrifice worth it?
  • What are the hard decisions you have to make?
  • What are the little decisions made along the way that make the big decisions easier?
  • What are the consequences in making or not making a decision?
  • How do you allow yourself the time and space to reflect and make smart decisions?
  • Who do you have around you to help as a mentor and listener?

The Selection of Disney’s New Leadership

The second major decision Roy O. Disney made after the opening of Walt Disney World and just prior to his passing was who would lead the organization moving forward. This difficult decision involved three people, Donn Tatum, Card Walker, and Dick Nunis.

Donn Tatum. Photo by Disney.
Card Walker. Photo by Disney.

Ask yourself the following:

  • In selecting others, what are the criteria by which you determine their leadership?
  • How well do you consider who will follow you in your footsteps after you move on?
  • How are you building the next generation of leaders?
  • What part of the organization allows you to foster creativity and innovation?
Dick Nunis during an Epcot press event in 2010. Photo by J. Jeff Kober

The Wayfinder Society: A Patreon Site for Disney Fans

We are offering a new program where you have the opportunity to enjoy exclusive offerings from Disney at Play and Disney at Work. Join us as we introduce our new Patreon program, the Wayfinder Society, intended to give you new insights to all things Disney, whether its work or play. I am truly excited to share this new opportunity with you and look forward to creating new experiences that you will enjoy whether at home or at the Disney parks. There are a variety of options for joining, depending on your interests:

When you join, you will be given access to unique, interactive apps that explores the parks in new ways, offering stories, photos, videos and more. 

Here are some of the interactive apps we share with members of our society: 

  • Pandora: World of Avatar: This is an expansive and detailed look at every aspect of this land. You can’t find any source that has covered this entire land with its attractions, retail and dining more in depth.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean Across the Globe: We not only compare this attraction in parks world-wide, but we deep dive into what makes each unique. Currently we’ve covered Tokyo Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. More to come!
  • Coming Soon! S.E.A. Assembled! The Society of Adventurers and Explorers are coming to the Wayfinder Society. We’ll document their whereabouts and showcase their imprint on Disney attractions world-wide.
  • Disney at Work Interactive Tour: Disneyland. For our upper tiers, we have an interactive business tour of Disneyland to include more than fifty attractions spread throughout the park. These are best-in-business ideas you can apply to your own organization.
  • Coming Soon! Disney at Work Interactive Tour: Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary. Looking at the heritage of Most Magical Place in the World, we draw best practices from over the years that you can again, apply to your organization. 

As you see, we have so much to share. And when you donate, a portion of your contribution goes to Embrace Celebration, dedicated to helping Disney Cast Members and others in this area who are unemployed during this pandemic. To learn more, visit our site to discover our offerings and various tiers. Join us!

Become a Patron!

Ready to Visit the Disney Parks?

Hopefully this podcast has made you realize you need help and support in planning your next trip to Disney. David and Leah with Out the Door Travel know Disney in ways few do and they can make your next trip on land or sea an exciting one–or at least less stressful! Be sure to contact them as you explore your next vacation. There is no charge to utilize their services, but it will save you enormous time getting all the details right, and with their insight you can be assured you’re going to experience the best trip possible. Contact them today!

David and Leah Zanolla
(309) 863-5469
Instagram: @otdwithdavid

J. Jeff Kober