After 26 years with Walt Disney Entertainment, vice president Rich Taylor retired from Disney in February to pursue a variety of other professional interests.
Taylor headed the Entertainment and Costuming & Cosmetology divisions for the past 10 years, where he was responsible for leading the teams in creating, producing, casting, and operating all entertainment product for the world’s number one tourist destination. His responsibilities included theme park shows, special events, spectaculars, parades, stunt shows, fireworks, atmosphere talent, celebrity talent, Disney Cruise Line christenings, the grand opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and two Super Bowl halftime shows. In addition, he oversaw the Costuming and Cosmetology division that designs, produces, procures, and maintains over 1.6 million garments and accessories at the Walt Disney World Resort—the world’s largest working wardrobe.
Prior to his role as vice president, Taylor held multiple positions during his 26-year tenure including corporate director of creative development and communications, manager of special events, manager of creative development and communications, manager of creative show development, division manager of Talent Casting and Resources for Walt Disney World Creative Entertainment, and director of entertainment for Disneyland Paris, where he headed the conceptual creative design and show development group.
Before joining Disney, Taylor began his career with choral music pioneers, Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians as featured soloist, choral singer, and conductor. He also served as assistant producer/director and press and publicity director for The Fred Waring Show.
A native of Enid, Oklahoma, Taylor holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma where he was named Outstanding Graduating Senior. He was also president of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity (Gamma Phi chapter), which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. In 1994, the University of Oklahoma College of Fine Arts honored him with its "Distinguished Alumni Award". Later, he received the prestigious Regents Alumni Award from the University of Oklahoma, recognizing his service to the University and his accomplishments in the community, the State of Oklahoma, and the nation. He continues to serve as a member of the University of Oklahoma College of Fine Arts Board of Visitors.
Taylor also serves on the National Advisory Board of MENC (National Association for Music Education) in Washington, D.C., which honored him in 2006 with the Lowell Mason Award for his “unique and lasting contribution to music education in America”. He has also received Media Fellowship International’s "Ambassador's Award", and acts as co-chairman of Fred Waring's America Advisory Board at Penn State University.
Among his greatest successes, Taylor counts his 26 year marriage to professional vocalist, Andy Taylor, and their two sons: Blake, age 21, a recent graduate from The Florida State University Film School, and Zane, age 18, a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy.
In the future, Taylor plans to set his considerable creative and leadership experience against new and different backdrops of the entertainment world: education, lecturing and seminars, plus independent consulting on development of new entertainment experiences and special events. There may even be a book on the distant horizon, on finding balance and significance in the overwhelming pace of professional life.