Walt Disney Imagineering Gets New Leadership as Bob Weis Steps Down

Barabara Bouza WDI
Credit: Disney

Over the past few years, a lot of big changes have happened at the Walt Disney Company. Longtime CEO Bob Iger stepped down and was replaced by Bob Chapek — a move that has received mixed reviews. A number of other seasoned employees have also either left, retired, or found new positions within other companies. Most recently, Disney announced that it would be moving a large amount Imagineers to Lake Nona, Florida, which caused many to announce that they would not be moving with the company, including well-known Imagineer Kevin Lively.

Walt Disney Imagineering

Credit: Disney

In addition to the massive change in location for Walt Disney theme park Imagineers, Disney has revealed that Imagineering President Bob Weis will be stepping down from the position to take on a more consultant role. Weis — who has been with Walt Disney Imagineering for nearly 30 years — will be succeeded by Barbara Bouza, who has been with the Walt Disney Company for just over one year.

Bob Weis

Credit: D23

The big change in leadership was reported by The Wrap, that stated:

On Tuesday, Bob Weis, who has been president of Walt Disney Imagineering for the past few years, announced that he would be stepping down. Barbara Bouza will become president of Walt Disney Imagineering, while Weis moves into a consultant role at the division. Bouza joined the company in June 2020 as president of business operations, design and delivery. Before that she had served as a co-managing director of architectural firm Gensler Los Angeles. The news comes just ahead of Walt Disney Imagineering moving their operation from Glendale, California, where it had been established by Walt Disney. (It was just down the street from the studio but far enough away to keep prying eyes out.) The division will now move to Lake Nona, Florida, not far from its Walt Disney World resort complex.

Bob Weis

Credit: Disney

During his time as a Walt Disney Imagineer, Weis is responsible for the creation of Disney’s MGM Studios — now Hollywood Studios — as well as helping design Walt Disney Studios Park and Tokyo DisneySea.

Weis wrote a very heartfelt message to his colleagues at the Walt Disney Company and a copy of the email was shared with The Wrap:

“As Imagineers, we are inspired by our history and by those who helped shape it. Disney Legend Marty Sklar — who was a close friend and mentor to me — served as a visionary leader at Imagineering for over five decades and, ultimately, became our Global Imagineering Ambassador. In this role, Marty was able to invest in our legacy as a way to build our future, mentor and advocate for our talent, recruit the next generations of Imagineers, and help record our history through his writing. Today, I am excited to announce that I will follow Marty’s lead and assume the Global Imagineering Ambassador role beginning next year.

I am confident about transitioning into this role now after working with Barbara Bouza over the past 16 months and knowing that the future of Imagineering is secure under her leadership. Barbara has taken on increasing responsibility during her tenure, and I am continually impressed with her talent, her leadership and the relationships she’s already built across our company. I’m also very grateful to have the full support of Josh D’Amaro, who has demonstrated his commitment to Imagineering time and time again and his belief that WDI is critical to our company’s future and overall success.”

Credit: Disney

According to Weis’s letter, he will continue to head Imagineering through the end of the year and Bouza will take over as President of Walt Disney Imagineering once the new year begins.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!