Disney Parks Chairman Talks Disney’s Legacy and How He’s Changing It

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A man standing in front of a lake

Credit: Josh D'Amaro on Instagram

Being the Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products is a big job and someone has to do it. In May 2020, that someone became Josh D’Amaro, who took over the role once occupied by Disney’s current CEO, Bob Chapek. The job promotion came at a time when all Disney theme parks were shut down because of the pandemic and while the world was at a standstill, D’Amaro and his team continued to push forward.

disneyland paris
Credit: Josh D’Amaro Instagram

Since Josh D’Amaro’s promotion to the Chairman of Disney Parks, a lot of major changes have come to Disney. Thankfully, all Disney Parks across the globe are open once again. Along with the openings come some big changes — a lot of them affecting Cast Members.

disney cast member heart
Credit: Disney

With D’Amaro leading the charge, Cast Members are now able to more freely express themselves while working at Disney theme parks. Disney was once known for a very strict dress code and appearance standards that they were required to maintain. Some of the major changes D’Amaro brought to the “Disney look” were the ability of Cast Members to have visible tattoos, wear more jewelry, and have more gender-inclusive hairstyles and uniforms.

avengers campus cast member costumes
Credit: Disney

With big changes can come big pushback — which came mainly in the form of Disney being accused of changing the legacy that Walt Disney left long ago. When it comes to whether or not he can change the famous Disney legacy, D’Amaro has one simple belief, yes he can.

sam wilson captain america and josh damaro
Credit: Josh D’Amaro on IG

In an interview with The Global Association for the Attractions Industry, D’Amaro spoke about changing Disney’s legacy to meet with modern times and modern beliefs:

“Yes, we absolutely can. I will pay tribute to our founder, to our legacy, but I will also at the same time push us to be relevant today,” he says. “To add an inclusion key is so powerful.”

disneyland resort cast members
Credit: Disney

Along with changing the “Disney Look” to be more inclusive, D’Amaro has also been a key leader in changes being made at Disney theme parks to respectfully represent all cultures — including a huge overhaul of Disney’s world-famous Jungle Cruise at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Jungle Cruise WDW Pygmy Update
Credit: ITM Alessa D.

A complete retheme of Splash Mountain will also happen in the future at Disneyland and Disney World, becoming a flume ride that will be themed after the hit film The Princess and the Frog (2009). Of the changes, D’Amaro said the following:

Both “Splash Mountain” and “Jungle Cruise” in California and Florida will evolve in a way D’Amaro calls “beautiful and reflective of our society more relevant to our guests.”

Splash Mountain Concept Art
Credit: Disney

D’Amaro continued to say:

“We will continue to not only look at the experiences that we have today, update them, and make them relevant and appropriate, but as we build, we will also start to think about all the great stories that we have to tell around the world and bring them to life in a way that everybody again can see themselves,” 

While the changes being made may continue to come as a surprise to Disney fans, we must always remember one of Walt’s most famous beliefs — “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world”.

How do you feel about Josh D’Amaro evolving the legacy set by Walt Disney. Let us know in the comments!

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