Bob Weis, Global Imagineering Ambassador and former President of Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI), announced today that he will retire at the end of the year.
- “I will always be proud to have led Imagineering from 2016-2021, and to be your Global Ambassador in 2022,” he wrote in an email he shared today with his fellow Imagineers. “I am proud to have been an Imagineer, a collaborator, and someone who loves to do impossible things with impossibly talented people.”
- Weis grew up in Southern California and fondly recalls his family’s annual visits to Disneyland on his birthday every year. While studying architecture at California Polytechnic University in Pomona, he worked in Disneyland Park as a cast member selling popcorn and ice cream and absorbing everything going on around him. He joined Walt Disney Imagineering, then called WED Enterprises, in 1980, soon after graduating college, and within eight months had relocated to Japan as part of the WED team creating Tokyo Disneyland.
- Subsequent assignments included creative leadership on Disney’s Hollywood Studios (at the time, Disney-MGM Studios), Tokyo DisneySea, and the reimagining of Disney California Adventure. In recent years, he led the creative team for the development, design, and construction of Shanghai Disney Resort. After the resort opened in China in 2016, Weis was named president of WDI, a position he held for six years, a period when more than 200 distinct projects were delivered, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- “It’s been great to have the confidence of the company behind us,” Weis says. “When I was leading Imagineering, we delivered hundreds of projects that brought new experiences, new stories, new innovations to our guests around the world. And D23 fans who attended the Expo [in September] had a chance to see so many more that we have well under way. It’s truly an exciting time.”
- In 2022, Weis took on the role of Global Imagineering Ambassador, following in the footsteps of one of his mentors, Disney Legend and former WDI president Marty Sklar, the first to hold the ambassador title. Sklar left behind a massive collection of Disney artifacts and memorabilia that Weis has been reviewing with a team of specialists. As Weis shared with Imagineers, “When I retire, I am relishing the opportunity to write a book for the Marty Sklar Archives and I’m in the process of developing a screenplay for Walt Disney Studios. I may even find some time to just go down and walk around Disneyland once in a while.”
- For more on Bob Weis’ illustrious career with Walt Disney Imagineering, check out a new interview he did with D23.