As part of an exclusive interview with the Orlando Business Journal, newly minted Walt Disney World president Josh D’Amaro talks all things Disney, including his approach to Cast Members.
As president of the resort and parks here in Orlando, D’Amaro oversees 75,000+ Cast Members and billions of dollars of new construction and improvement projects. While the ongoing construction and improvements are publicized daily, it’s the work that’s taking place backstage that D’Amaro says is the secret sauce.
In the profile, D’Amaro says that simply caring for his Cast Members can make the difference in energy that they bring to places like Main Street USA that make the land feel so alive. D’Amaro’s previous role was president of Disneyland, a role that he said was an honor and a burden. Watching over Walt’s park came with a level of responsibility and respect of history that made him turn to his initial interactions within the company. D’Amaro talks about how when he started he was lucky enough to have leaders that reached out to him to not only check in on how he was doing, but to hear his ideas and thoughts on operations and more. Those leaders and their desire to hear from those on the “frontlines” stuck with him as he moved up the company.
When at Disneyland, he would often visit Cast Members at their locations to do exactly what his leaders did for him – listen. Since he took the Walt Disney World lead role back in November, he has been pushing for an upgrade to the Cast Member break rooms and dining areas. To that end, Disney is investing millions of dollars into improving and expanding the break rooms, creative dining plans, better technology, and more to improve Cast Member morale.
“We could spend billions of dollars on a new land or attraction, but you need to be putting that money back into the [common areas] or the break rooms to make sure they are equipped so you feel good. To me, it’s a sign of respect to make people feel good about their surroundings,” D’Amaro told the Orlando Business Journal.
He went on to call out a new meal planning program that the company is bringing to Cast Members that offers healthier options at a lower price.
“Not only do you have to be in the right state of mind to do the job our cast members do, but you also have to feel good physically, too. It’s too easy to buy fries and a cheeseburger, and while that’s OK to do once in a while, we wanted to offer something healthy and [provide lower costs] as incentives to get something healthier. So in the end, it’s tied to feeling better so you can do better on stage and better out in the community and bring that home to your family. So this whole system of the cast experience is important.”
In addition to all of that work, D’Amaro is very active on social media, visiting Cast Members and highlighting some of the amazing work they do to create magic. As part of a recent video highlighting the preparations underway to open Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, D’Amaro got some training of his own from the Opening Team Cast Members working to hit the March 4th opening date for the new attraction.
For more on Walt Disney World president Josh D’Amaro, check out the profile in the Orlando Business Journal.