Jeff Vahle Takes Helm At Disney Cruise Line As President of Disney Signature Experiences

Disney announced Jeff Vahle, a 28-year veteran of Disney, has been named president of Disney Signature Experiences, which includes Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, Adventures by Disney and Aulani, a Disney Resort in Hawaii.

Jeff Vahle DCL Disney Signature Experiences

Jeff takes the helm at Disney Cruise Line at a time when it is poised for significant growth with the delivery of three new ships in 2021, 2022 and 2023, all of them showcasing the immersive family entertainment, enhanced storytelling and unparalleled service that only Disney can deliver. Since its launch in 1998, Disney Cruise Line has established itself as the leader in the family cruise industry, sailing from ports around the world on exhilarating itineraries to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Europe, Alaska, Hawaii and the Mexican Riviera, among others.

“There is tremendous opportunity to deliver magical Disney vacation experiences in new and exciting ways,” said Bob Chapek, chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products. “Jeff is a talented leader with a strong track record of success and I’m excited to see what he and the team will accomplish together.”

In his new role, Jeff also leads Disney Vacation Club, the company’s popular vacation-ownership program offering a portfolio of 14 themed resorts, from its newest property, Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii, to properties across Walt Disney World Resort, at Disneyland Resort and in Vero Beach, Fla. and Hilton Head Island, S.C. The proposed Disney’s Riviera Resort, slated to be the 15th Disney Vacation Club property, is expected to open in fall 2019.

Additionally, Jeff oversees Adventures by Disney, the company’s guided group travel business, which brings the world’s most magical destinations to life on nearly 40 itineraries across 30 countries, as well as sales at Golden Oak, the company’s luxury whole-ownership community of custom homes at Walt Disney World Resort.

“Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to be part of an incredible team that makes magic for millions of guests every day at Disney destinations around the world,” said Vahle. “I look forward to leading this creative, dedicated and hardworking team as we build on the success of these businesses during this unprecedented era of growth and innovation.”

Jeff also will continue to lead the Global Facilities Operations and Sourcing and Procurement teams, which focus on providing a safe, reliable and high-quality show environment at Disney theme parks and resorts around the world. He began his career with Walt Disney World in 1990.

Jeff is a graduate of Auburn University, with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, and holds a Master of Business Administration from Rollins College.  He is active in the Central Florida community and currently serves as chairman of the board of directors for Give Kids the World.

This announcement explains a late-March rumor about a leadership change at DCL, which I left unpublished. Although, I was able to confirm the report, I decided it was best to let a leadership change at Disney Cruise Line under wraps until an official announcement was made.

Coinciding with the rumor that now, former President of Disney Cruise Line, Anthony Connelly was no longer with the company just months after taking over for retiring Karl Holz a mysterious edit on March 24th changing “is the President”  to “was the President” on March 24th to Connelly’s Wikipedia page with a note: “Mr. Connelly is no longer in this role, let alone working for Disney.”

Connelly Wikipedia Edit 20180324Wikipedia Connelly Revision History 20180417

Little is know about Connelly’s sudden departure at this time, but based on today’s announcement it appears there was a bit of restructuring at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts with Jeff Vahle being named President of Disney Signature Experiences which includes Disney Cruise Line among other vacation aspects of the company rather than assuming Connelly’s former title, President of New Vacation Operations and Disney Cruise Line.

CC Pump House 1 Chapek Connelly

Pump House 1 – Castaway Cay featuring signs honoring Bob Chapek and Anthony Connelly

Below is a copy of Jeff Vahle’s bio Disney published.

Jeff Vahle is the president of Disney Signature Experiences, leading several key growth businesses for the Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products segment and inspiring teams around the world to deliver the company’s unrivaled brand of family vacations. Based in Celebration, Florida, he oversees Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, Adventures by Disney, Golden Oak and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa.

Jeff began his Disney career in 1990 and is a respected senior executive who is committed to driving creativity and innovation, exceeding guest expectations and delivering long-term business growth. During his 28-year career with the company, he has held a series of high-profile leadership roles in operations, engineering, technology and global support services.

At Disney Cruise Line, Jeff is responsible for the entire award-winning business, including the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy cruise ships, as well as Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island in the Bahamas) and Disney’s Port Canaveral cruise terminal. Jeff will also oversee the much-anticipated expansion of Disney’s cruise fleet, with the delivery of three new ships in 2021, 2022 and 2023, all of them showcasing the immersive family entertainment, enchanting storytelling and unparalleled service for which Disney is well known. Since its launch in 1998, Disney Cruise Line has established itself as a leader in the family cruise market, sailing from ports around the world on exhilarating itineraries to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Europe, Alaska, Hawaii and the Mexican Riviera, among others.

Jeff also leads the team at Disney Vacation Club, the company’s popular vacation-ownership program. The club offers a portfolio of 14 themed resorts, from its newest property, Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii, to properties across Walt Disney World Resort, at Disneyland Resort and in Vero Beach, Florida and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. A 15th resort, Disney’s Riviera Resort, will open near Epcot in 2019. His other responsibilities include Adventures by Disney, the company’s guided group travel business with nearly 40 itineraries across 30 countries, and Golden Oak, the company’s luxury whole-ownership community of custom homes at Walt Disney World Resort.

In addition to his duties with these high-growth vacation businesses (collectively called Disney Signature Experiences), Jeff oversees Global Operations Support & Technology for Disney theme parks worldwide. These teams are responsible for technology, engineering and industrial engineering, maintenance, construction, utilities, manufacturing, sourcing and procurement, and asset management programs at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, the Disneyland Resort in California, Disneyland Paris Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Shanghai Disneyland Resort and Tokyo Disney Resort.

Jeff is actively involved in the Central Florida community, currently serving as chairman of the board of directors for Give Kids the World and previously serving on the Central Florida Salvation Army board of directors. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn University and a master’s degree in business administration from Rollins College.

5 thoughts on “Jeff Vahle Takes Helm At Disney Cruise Line As President of Disney Signature Experiences

  1. Psac

    Maybe the other guy was fired for not showing the Golden Mickey’s on some sailings. Iger did not like that! 😜

    Reply
  2. Ted Amick

    We certainly wish Jeff Vahle the very best as head of DCL and DVC… these are immense tasks with so much to offer for entertainment and learning. Many of us take DCL cruises as valuable learning experiences. DCL need to branch to more exciting parts of the world.. with seven ships it seems that annual round the world cruises should be planned. We joined DVC in 1992 with our Old Key West purchased and have always felt this was the ideal resort for its size, pools and spacious rooms and porches… We wish Jeff good luck and much success with the Mouse! TEA

    Reply
  3. Barton Gates

    I don’t know the whole issue with Mr Connelly or why he left, my concern is that the task of taking over so many positions that Mr Vahle is moving into, does have one wonder if he’ll be able to devote as much time to DCL as someone would need to, especially with 3 new ships coming online in less than 5 years. I could care less about itineraries, I’m sure they’ll find out what is best for the customers and the needs of the line. I just hope Mr Vahle is up to managing DCL as well as all the other positions and keeping the standards of DCL as high as they consistently have been.

    Reply

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