“I’m confident that brighter days are ahead of us,” wrote Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro on Monday.
The Disney Parks Chairman gave a keynote speech during the IAAPA virtual expo this morning. Now, he’s taken to his personal social media to share his hopes for the future of The Walt Disney Company — and to challenge the theme park industry to dream big and move forward.
“This has been a year of unprecedented moments, disruptive forces, and new challenges,” D’Amaro wrote in a post published to his LinkedIn. “At the start of 2020, I could never have imagined something as devastating as COVID-19. I have never witnessed anything that has impacted our business, affected so many lives, and brought so many changes to our industry.”
The bright beginnings of 2020 were quickly overshadowed by the effects of COVID-19, the pandemic that spread throughout the globe and shuttered all six Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide. By mid-March of this year, Disneyland Resort in California, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Shanghai Disney Resort had closed their gates.
The Walt Disney Company also recently disclosed that it lost billions of dollars as a result of the pandemic.
But companies like Disney persevered and moved forward, finding ways to make magic for Guests who were stuck at home and unable to visit the Happiest Place on Earth. D’Amaro reflected on this in his presentation today, and he shared more of his perspective in his LinkedIn post.
D’Amaro wrote, “This year, even as our gates were closed, we saw our guests demonstrate their passion and yearning for our experiences through social media. We watched as our teams accomplished things in a few weeks that might normally take a year. We took what we once thought was unthinkable or impossible…and made it possible.”
The Disney Parks Chairman even went into a bit more detail about how Disney Parks have adapted their practices to fit the health and safety protocol that needs to be in place amid this ongoing pandemic.
“From the adoption of new technology that allows guests to check in to their rooms, order food and enter a queue from their mobile phones … to the introduction of selfie spots and character cavalcades so our guests can interact with their favorite Disney friends, we’re finding new ways to deliver magical experiences as we reopen our parks in the age of social distancing,” D’Amaro shared. “The pandemic has changed us and forced us to focus on the most fundamental elements of who we are, what we do, and what we care about. It reminded us of what is most important – while compelling us to adjust and innovate.”
Above all, it seems as though the Disney executive is challenging not only the Disney Parks team and The Walt Disney Company at large, but also the theme park industry as a whole — and even the general public — to dream bigger. The effects of COVID-19 are long-term, and this pandemic is still raging on. But Josh D’Amaro is sending out a message of hope during these tumultuous times.
“I dare you to ask: if we can navigate the challenges of this crisis – perhaps a little battered, but never beaten – what else can we do? Can we take what makes us special, reinvent it, and make something entirely new?” he wrote. “Here at Disney, that’s our opportunity. We can bring our world-class service, our ability to kindle connection and childlike wonder, and our experience immersing guests in meaningful stories and powerful franchises…anywhere.”
For more information on Disney Park operations throughout the current pandemic, read our article here.