Anthony ConnellyAnthony Connelly officially became the president of New Vacation Operations and Disney Cruise Line on October 1, leading several key growth businesses for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. the company announced.

Connelly is taking over for Karl Holz, who will retire early next year. 

Based in Celebration, Florida, Connelly will oversee Disney Cruise Line, Vacation Club, Golden Oak, Adventures by Disney and Aulani.

He began his Disney career in 1989 and is a Disney executive with a wide-ranging background in strategic planning, finance, creative development and operations, the company said, in a prepared statement. 

“I am delighted to be a part of this team and to have the opportunity to lead this organization at such an exciting and significant time in its history,” he said. “We are embarking on an incredible new era of growth and innovation and, working together, our teams will continue to build on our legacy of excellence and create special, one-of-a-kind Disney moments for every person who vacations with us.”

Connelly will also lead the expansion of Disney’s cruise fleet, with the delivery of three new ships in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Before being named president of New Vacation Operations and Disney Cruise Line, Connelly served as executive vice president, Business Operations and Project Delivery for Walt Disney Imagineering. In this role, Connelly oversaw the development and strategic implementation of all Imagineering projects around the world from design to completion. His other previous roles include serving as senior vice president, Disney Cruise Line Operations, and senior vice president and Chief Financial Officer, Domestic Businesses, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Connelly has been actively involved in the state and local community, serving as chair of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He also served on the boards of Enterprise Florida, Florida Justice Reform Institute, University of Central Florida Foundation, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida. Additionally, he was a member of Governor Rick Scott’s Economic Development transition team as well as a member of Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater’s transition team.

Connelly earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida and his master of business administration from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.