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George Kalogridis named president of Disneyland Resort

The 38-year Disney veteran replaces Ed Grier, who retired last week. Kalogridis will oversee a face-lift at the struggling California Adventure theme park.

October 13, 2009|Hugo Martin

A Walt Disney Co. executive who worked his way up from busboy at a Walt Disney World hotel has been named the new president of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.

George Kalogridis, a 38-year Disney veteran and former Disneyland executive, replaces Ed Grier, who retired last week.

As president, Kalogridis, 55, will oversee about 20,000 employees at the 506-acre resort, including the Disneyland park, Disney's California Adventure Park, Downtown Disney and three hotels.

Since 2006, Kalogridis had held the post of chief operating officer for Disneyland Resort Paris, where he oversaw 9,000 employees, two theme parks, seven hotels and the Disney Village, a retail, entertainment and dining district adjacent to the resort.

"I am thrilled to be returning to Disneyland, particularly during this exciting time of significant expansion," he said in a statement.

As a teenager, Kalogridis worked as a busboy at the Contemporary Resort, a hotel at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. From there, he worked his way up in the hospitality industry before working on the development team of Disneyland Resort Paris.

Kalogridis returns to Anaheim as the park undergoes a $1-billion revitalization effort at the struggling California Adventure.

The face-lift will include the addition next spring of the World of Color attraction, a nighttime display in the lagoon that will feature choreographed fountains, laser and images projected onto curtains of water. Also included in the plans will be Cars Land, a 12-acre addition to the park scheduled to open in 2012 where guests will enter the fictional town of Radiator Springs that was the setting for the Pixar Animation film "Cars."

Kalogridis may have the best resume to oversee the project because he served as senior vice president of operations at Disneyland from 2000 to 2002, helping to manage the opening of the California Adventure park and Downtown Disney, a stretch of restaurants and shops outside of Disneyland.

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hugo.martin@latimes.com

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