Bob Gault retires as president of Universal Orlando

Posted Tuesday, October 3, 2006 9:15 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Bob Gault, who led Universal Orlando through tough tourism times following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, then a couple of boom years, then another slide, is retiring as the theme park resort's president Dec. 5. Bill Davis, a former SeaWorld of Florida general manager, will replace him, becoming the next chief operating officer of Universal's resort with two of the world's largest theme parks, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, the CityWalk entertainment district and three resort hotels.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006 9:17 AM
Interesting that he and his replacement worked at SeaWorld Ohio.
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Tuesday, October 3, 2006 10:51 AM
"Both of them stress fundamentals. Both of them put the employees first."

And THAT, my friends, is how you make money even when the cap-ex is not the greatest..."employees, they're your best investment"... :)

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Tuesday, October 3, 2006 1:06 PM
Except that business classes taught us to view employees as an expense. ;)

I don't disagree with you though 'gator. I trully believe if you hire the best, pay them like they are the best, and treat them like the best, you can have the best business.

~Rob Willi

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Tuesday, October 3, 2006 2:11 PM
I'd agree with 1/3 of that statement.

Hiring the best will give you the best business. Treatment and pay only retain those services and they cretainly don't help if the employee is a schlub to begin with.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2006 2:31 PM
But word of good pay and good treatment will bring more of the best to you.
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Tuesday, October 3, 2006 7:31 PM
"and what he said are record employee-satisfaction levels today."

I'm sure every amusement park employee loves working for a boss who closes the gates as early as 6:00 pm in "down" times and at 8:00 pm during the busy season. ;) Nothing pleases employees more than decreased work hours. I don't care how business savy it is...people, enthusiasts or not, know that 6:00 pm closing times are parallel to a kick in the nuts.

Anyhow...let us hope the new Sea World guy starts by adding a little value in the hours open department. Sea World has the best nighttime atmosphere in Orlando in my opinion. I couldn't tell you what Universal's late atmosphere is like...it has been so long since they've kept th place open to find out (at least in the summer when I usually attend). :)

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Tuesday, October 3, 2006 7:37 PM
I actually checked their site and now realize I was much too kind. They actually close at 5:00 pm a lot of days in November. May I be the first in the enthusiast community to say..."SCREW BOB GAULT!" Anybody that allows this type of crap to happen under his watch could give two craps about his paying customers. I reciprocate by giving two craps about him. I'm glad he is leaving. Let us hope these parks can return to their former glory with this bafoon out of the picture... :)


*** This post was edited by Jeffrey R Smith 10/3/2006 7:37:53 PM ***

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Tuesday, October 3, 2006 8:31 PM
No, the worst thing is transferring off a pair of trains on Dueling Dragons an hour before closing with a queue full of people.
*** This post was edited by Jeff 10/4/2006 12:25:41 AM ***
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Tuesday, October 3, 2006 10:41 PM
It says this Bill Davis guy that is replacing Gault just left a Six Flags park in California this past June.

Was he GM for SFMW?

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Tuesday, October 3, 2006 11:20 PM
There is no doubt that Universal Orlando has been on the wrong path for the past 3-5 years. It is sad to me as these are two of the best themers I have ever experienced. The operations have gone to the crapper though. I did not realize they did the old Draogon train transfer near closing. You must have been there at 4:00 pm! :) I do however, have many experiences with a line delay to add trains 30-90 minutes after opening.

The good news in all of this is that it will only take minor operational changes to make these the BEST parks in the country. Their rides and theming are second to none. They just need to extend the operational hours, spruce it up a bit (paint et al), and speed up food operations.

I only hope the Sea World model carries over here. Sea World more than holds its own in the world's most competative market. They do so through superior service, operational hours, landscaping, etc. This is quite an accomplishment considering they are competing with full resorts designed to keep customers in one spot. You never leave that place feeling robbed. It is all about that percieved value we've so often referenced.

As much as I love Universal Studio's Orlando, I cannot say that I have left there satisfied as I do with the Sea World and Disney visits over the past several years. Here's to a better and brighter future.

P.S. IOA could use a new MAJOR attraction in my opinion. But I would gladly take a 9:00 pm closing time over a new ride.

P.P.S. Can I look forward to better operations by this Christmas?

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