Disney Imagineering Loses Its Longtime Leader As Bob Weis Steps Down After Four Decades

Bob Weis joined the Disney Imagineers 42 years ago, working his way up the ranks to become the current Global Imagineering Ambassador and former President of Walt Disney Imagineering. After years of culture-defining contributions, Weis has announced he will retire at the opening of 2023. For the uninitiated, Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development, Inc., aka "Imagineering," is the research and development department responsible for the global creation, design, and construction of Disney theme parks and attractions.

"I will always be proud to have led Imagineering from 2016-2021, and to be your Global Ambassador in 2022," Weis wrote in an email sent today and obtained by Deadline. "I am proud to have been an Imagineer, a collaborator, and someone who loves to do impossible things with impossibly talented people." The official Disney Imagineering Instagram account also posted a statement to confirm the news, outlining just how pivotal Weis has been to the Imagineers after all these years.

"Bob cemented his legacy as a leader and creative force — helping to bring to fruition countless attractions, lands, resort hotels, cruise ships, and theme parks around the globe," the caption read. The post also included a variety of photos of Weis throughout the years, recognizing four decades of greatness. "Bob, thanks for your many years of leadership and especially for mentoring and influencing Imagineers from around the world," the post continued. "You inspire us today and your legacy will continue to inspire generations to come."

Not a goodbye to Disney

Weis was instrumental in the development of Tokyo Disneyland, and also served on the leadership teams for Tokyo DisneySea, Disney's Hollywood Studios (FKA Disney-MGM Studios), and the reimagining of Disney California Adventure. He led the creative team on the Imagineering of Shanghai Disney Resort and was named president of the Walt Disney Imagineers after the resort opened in 2016. Weis served as president for six years, with over 200 projects brought to completion, even in the midst of the pandemic.

Bob Weis took to his own Instagram account to address his retirement, ensuring that his time may be coming to an end with the Imagineers, but that he certainly won't be saying goodbye to Disney anytime soon. "For me this is a very exciting next chapter," he said. "I'll continue writing my book for Disney Publishing on the Marty Sklar Archives, and I am developing a screenplay for Walt Disney Studios."

Marty Sklar was a renowned Imagineer who sadly passed away in 2017, but Weis' book will focus on the massive archival material left in his wake. "I am also excited to take my experience and use it for worthy projects that have the potential to improve our world," Weis said. "These are exciting times, let's stay connected." 

No word on what this mysterious screenplay entails, but consider us interested and excited to see what comes next.