Save Disney Rally



I just returned home from Roy Disney's rally in Philadelphia and thought I'd give you a run down. The line to enter snaked around the block when I arrived about 45 minutes early. There was a lot of speculation as to whether they could fit everyone. (Indeed, they couldn't...according to Stanley Gold, about 600 people didn't make it in.) I was at the top of the steps when I heard "Only 30 more". After registering and getting a goodie bag (t-shirt, bumper sticker, notebook, pen, etc.) I entered the full ballroom. My eyes were immediately drawn to a tiny woman in the last row. She looked like a woman who doesn't listen to all her CDs. (Cough Cough)

While people were waiting for things to begin, quotes from Walt and emails to SaveDisney.Com were projected on the screen at the front. Stanley Gold took the stage, introduced his and Roy's families and gave a general overview of their goals. Charles Phoenix (?) then presented a humorous slide show of Disneyland from the late 50s. After Stanley Gold spoke some more, Roy was introduced to a standing ovation. He spoke about their goals for SaveDisney.Com. There was also a powerpoint presentation by a some financial guy. After all of this, the three entertained questions from the audience which had been presubmitted on index cards. One question inevitably mentioned Pixar and Roy said that though Pixar said it was through with Disney, he "learned 2 days ago" that "they would return if Michael was out of the picture." Hmm...what happened 2 days ago?!!!

When it was over, Stanley and Roy stood at the front and entertained questions and autograph/photo requests. They were soon shuttled out of the room and the attendees made their way to the reception area where there were munchies and drinks. When Roy re-emerged, he was surrounded by people and about four big gorillas hustled him around the room. Roy very patiently shook hands, posed for pictures, and signed autographs for the crowd. When I had my chance I told him that I was an unemployed animator and he looked up at me and said "So am I!" I thanked him for what he was doing and mentioned that hopefully we'd both be employed very soon.

The groups was largely made up of shareholders, a few fans, some "next-level" Disneyites (wearing pins...sigh) and LOTS of journalists. If you haven't visited his site, www.SaveDisney.Com, please take the time to do so and register. If you like what you see, try writing an impassioned plea to your family and friends asking them to do the same. Remember...this is a grass roots campaign...and every blade of grass is important.

Jessica L

Thanks for the great report Bill! In retrospect I'm a little glad I didn't make an attempt to go as I know I never would have made it in time to get in. It sounded like it was a great event and it's good to hear Roy has so much support behind him. He has my 4 proxy votes!


X-S Tech

Active Member
I voted a few weeks ago as well. Glad that this seems like it might really happen. Thanks for the report Bill, though that's one more person I'm jealous of you meeting...sigh. Is Roy a Disney legend? Does he have a window on Main St? After all this gets settled he really needs to be honored. And Eisner's Window('s?) needs to be removed. He has one in Paris. Anywhere else?


I was one of the last ones in. If I hadn't turned towards the registration table, I would have made the ballroom. as it was, we would up in the auxilary viewing area.

The only thing we missed [and as a Disney fan, it was a big miss, was Charles Phoenix, who does presentations called GOD BLESS AMERICANA, made up of slides and pictures found at garage sales, etc. He gave a tour of the past at Disneyland, through the late 60;s, but we only had audio, not video.

i did get my brush with greatness when I went to the men's room after the meeting adjorned, and got to stand directly behind Roy Disney waiting for my "turn".

Some other interesing comments. Roy talked about dirty conditions at the parks. When he was asked a question about how to fix it, he started "Paint the Place". He also mentioned that there were many employees there who had not been schooled in the concept of them being "cast members" and the customers "guests.

Under holdings in danger, Disneyland Paris [which they refered to as EURODISNEY], was listed as in danger of bankruptcy.

They talked about the sad state of the Disney stores, and the feeling was that the stores would continue to close, since they were so weak that they were unattractibe to buyers.

They also discussed their network and cable holdings, and ABC-TV , which is now 4th behind Fox, and ABC Family were definite failures. The is why theye believe that elevating Robert Iger to CEO is a mistake, because in 5 years, he has seen his area slip into failure. They count the Disney Channel as a success.

I'll post more later, but it is time for work.

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, etc.



Is Roy a Disney legend? Does he have a window on Main St?

Roy is a Disney Legend, so named in 1998. I don't believe he has a window on any Main Street, but that doesn't seem inappropriate--aren't the windows usually to honor those who have contributed specifically to the parks? Roy's contributions to the company have been primarily in the live action film and animation areas.


Active Member
Bill, I see you made the New York Times! Too bad they got your name wrong. You'll have to frame that one!
Thanks Bill--I really need to get my bumper sticker in a prime spot on the back of my '81 Datsun pick-up.

It's nice to know that Pixar is still lurking in the shadows, awaiting a triumphant return.......

But I'm worried already; what's going to happen during "the next crisis"--Roy's not going to be with us forever........



Congrats on making the papers, Bill. I only wish I had been able to ID you and Sharon at the meeting. You are absolutely correct that reporters were all over the place. One of them said that the rally had such a political race atmosphere, it was amazing! 38% of all eligible votes, and 43% of all votes cast in opposition to continuing with the current regime.

Unfortunately, it seems that the Board still doesn't get it, with the token move to split the chairman /CEO post, and give the chairmanship to Mitchell. As Roy and Stanley said, this is not over.

It is a shame becasue I remember how bad off Disney was in the early to mid 80's when Eisner was brought on board. I remember the Bass Brothers attempts to "greenmail" the company, and how Roy did what was then the right decision, and brought Eisner on board. He did some great things, and the company really turned around. However, the condition of the parks, the sad and contentious loss of people like Katzenberg, the sad fact that without outside companies like Pixar, they had killed off animation at Disney, and neglect of what used to be their strong points, as well as the embarrassment that is now the ABC Network, and it is time to go, Michael.

The sad proof is that they have no new ideas, and keep trotting Regis out there.

Some other quick observations from the meeting. Roy mentioned that while he would love to take Disney independent again, it was not realistic. He would love to have Disney focus on it's core competency, such as theatrical, theme parks, and merchandising. However, true independence is not really possible

He mentioned his love for the Muppets, calling them Disney characters at heart, and the aborted deal for them in the 90's, However, he characterized the current deal as having use of the characters for three years, implying again that Disney is buying creativity instead of cultivating it.

I am kicking my self because I didn't explore who the artists were, but the reception area had a number of black and white cartoon paintings that, while a little cliched, were still very effective. The two most striking were of Mickey at the Disneyland placque [All Who Enter this Happy Place...Welcome], which looked to be a tombstone in the Haunted Mansion graveyard; and a sketch of a forboding, abandoned Animation Building in Florida.

Also, for all of you pin collectors, the goodie back included a Roy Disney caraciture Trading Pin, as well as a t-shirt and bumper sticker.

In the end, this is far from finished, and sadly, bottom may not yet have been reached. Who knows where a renewed Comcast offer, which I think is bad for the company, will take them?

With your permission, since Comcast is here in Philly, I'll keep you abreast of any local spins on this subject.

Good luck, Roy and Stanley.


David S.

Thanks for the info Adrian and Bill.

>>Roy mentioned that while he would love to take Disney independent again, it was not realistic>>

Do you think he meant that it was inevitable that Comcast (or someone else) would buy out Disney, thus losing its "independence"? I hope not.

I hope he just meant it would be unrealistic to be "independent" in the sense of independence from large blocks of shareholders who are "Wall Street types" more concerned with short term profits than Walt's legacy. Which is of course not a good thing either. But the idea of a Comcast coming in and potentially breaking the company into pieces scares me. Of course, I would have no problem whatsoever with ABC, ESPN, and the sports team being sold off so Disney could get back to their CORE - animation (INCLUDING high-quality hand-drawn 2D), live action "family-friendly" films, the theme parks, and of course the music and other "merchandise" related to those areas.

I agree, yesterday was a landmark day in Disney history and proof that every person can make a difference. Every "pebble" that was formed by a fan "complaining" about various issues over the last seven years has turned into huge, collective rocks that knocked Eisner for a HUGE public embarrassment yesterday.

If Eisner were truly the "great leader" he thinks he is, he should have seen this coming. Instead, he gave those same fans who were "complaining" seven years ago MORE reasons to dislike him, while expanding the number of people he was ticking off.

Fan of traditional, classic, Disney animation? Well, we'll shut that division down then!

Like the Disney heritage of QUALITY animation? Watch as we dumb down the "brand" with dreck to video cheapquels.

Like Vault Disney on the Disney Channel? Sit back and watch as we remove ALL Walt programming from the channel bearing his name.

Like the theme parks? Well, not only will we CONTINUE the controversial closing of classic rides, CONTINUE building "on the cheap" generic rides found at Every Other Park USA, but we will allow maintenence standards to slip so low that they will cause the DEATHS of innocent guests. "We must ride these rides to failure to save money" - Paul Pressler

He also has alienated talent, cast members, creative partners, and apparently a large percentage of Hollywood given the hillarious jokes at his expense made at the Oscars. Even alientating Roy E. Disney, the last link to founders Walt and Roy O. Disney

And yet, with ample opportunities to address and correct these issues over the last seven years, things got worse.

I think what happened yesterday was incredible, but unfortunately, this is far from over, as you said. They still DON'T GET IT. Shuffling around the titles but keeping Eisner in charge with Mitchell given MORE authority WILL NOT CHANGE ANYTHING except perhaps some Wall Street types' PERCEPTION about how the company will be run. But this move IMO is an insult to the 43 % who want Eisner GONE.

If he had a shred of integrity, Eisner would hear the unprecedented mandate of the people and RESIGN NOW. Then again, I thought if he had integrity he should have done so after reading Roy's resignation letter.

Unfortunately, I don't think Eisner will EVER go willingly. He's going to have to be forced out. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.

Still, I am excited that Roy's campaign has been so succesful so far - when it started most of the financial media "experts" predicted failure and never thought it would get this far.



Hi, again.

I think that Roy was referring to a couple of sides of the "independent" issue. The first is a wish to go back to a time when the theme parks, studios, and merchandising thrived on thier own, and didn't have to shoulder the baggage of money losing divisions. The second is one of going back to core competency. The above mentioned three things are the reason that Disney is unique as a company. I can firmly state that no other company in the world would inspire this kind of reaction. Everyone who has ever used any of the Disney services has made an emotional investment in the company, and carries that forever. That is why people return year after years to the parks, why people watch the classic Disney fare and then pass it on from generation to generation.

ABC doesn't do that.

ESPN doesn't do that.

Nothing that Disney owns today is responsible for this amazing support, other than the above mentioned three.

I also believe that he would like to see independent thinkers as Board Of Directors to allow, not stifle creativity. I think that Comcast/Disney is a very bad idea, and that is coming from someone living where the home base would be, Philly.

Roy, if you are reading this, thanks. Do NOT hesitate to ask for our help or support. This unique vote of no confidence yesterday is because of what Disney has been to people over the last 80 years, and what it needs to be for the next 80.

It IS amazing support, Adrian, which is unified and strengthened by one common denominator--the belief in Walt Disney--belief in what he represented, and in what he dreamed of. He continually inspired those who worked under him to do amazing things, which was one of his gifts, and he continues to inspire us long after his passing.

With that kind of leadership, how can Roy and Stanley fail?



Active Member

Yeah, that was me .

Bill pretty much described all the good stuff. We got there about an hour ahead of time and had a choice of the last 3 rows. Chose the last row so I could stand to see, as needed .

Central Florida channel 13 "all news, all the time" interviewed my husband and I when we got off the plane into Philly and we made it into a TV segment that night.