Disney Parks Chairman Josh D'Amaro reflects on 2020 and hopes for 2021

Nov 17, 2020 in "The Walt Disney Company"

'Disney Parks, Experiences and Products' participated in this week's industry event IAAPA 2020, and it has given a fresh opportunity to hear from the company and its plans for the future.


Disney Parks Chairman Josh D'Amaro has shared some of his thoughts on 2020 and how the industry can reinvent itself for 2021. This is what he had to say:

Today, I had the pleasure of speaking at IAAPA’s Virtual Education Conference. As much as I miss the opportunity to come together as an industry for the annual Expo this year – I was nonetheless excited to gather virtually as we come to the end of a tough and undoubtedly transformative year.

This has been a year of unprecedented moments, disruptive forces, and new challenges. 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.

But connecting today with other members of the attractions and theme park industry, and listening to some of their thoughts at the conference, has reminded me how resilient we all are. Our industry is hurting, but we are also hopeful.

And personally, I’m confident that brighter days are ahead of us.

The fundamentals: who we are, what we do and what we care about

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.

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.

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.

As I look ahead to a new year with new challenges and new possibilities, I’ve thought about what we as a company, as well as an industry, should learn from 2020 and apply to 2021.

What’s next and where we’re headed

At a recent town hall meeting with our talented Imagineers, I concluded my presentation with a simple call to action, “I dare you. I dare you to dream bigger, and differently. I dare you to throw out the dogma that has us sometimes acting incrementally rather than exponentially. I dare you say what you’ve always wanted to say.”

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?

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.

In my talk this morning, I dared myself, I dared our team at Disney, and I dared the entire theme park industry to stand proudly and defiantly on the foundation that we have built. To embolden each other. And to move forward into the future and fly.

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Article Posted: Nov 17, 2020 / 7:14pm ET
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V_L_Raptor25 days ago

https://quotefancy.com/quote/46043/Isaac-Newton-For-every-action-there-is-an-equal-and-opposite-reaction Remember this, people. Karma will bite WDI in the solar plexus HARD eventually. And then they’ll be forced to make more original and non-woke rides. I would consider what’s happening now the equal and opposite reaction to Superstar Limo and Habit Heroes. Non-woke, who knows. I do think that at some point they're going to find themselves forced to be more original than they have been, but I don't think that's going to be within the next decade or two or three. The quest for IP synergy is entirely too deeply ingrained for them to discover magical originality with any kind of natural progression at this point. They'll pass the Splash reno as inclusivity, but they're just building out their princess attraction portfolio without having to import a New Orleans Square to Orlando. Karma doesn't have anything to do with it. Lack of original creativity does. This isn't being woke, it's spinning off a project they pulled out of the stack to have a project at all just to try pandering to the clueless rich folks who think riding a theme park flume ride with AA cartoon characters (or buying merch from said flume ride) is a social justice statement. None of it changes the world, and Disney hasn't become woke. They saw an opportunity to run someone's blue sky proposal and hook it to the protests over the summer for bonus points.

Miru26 days ago

https://quotefancy.com/quote/46043/Isaac-Newton-For-every-action-there-is-an-equal-and-opposite-reaction Remember this, people. Karma will bite WDI in the solar plexus HARD eventually. And then they’ll be forced to make more original and non-woke rides. I would consider what’s happening now the equal and opposite reaction to Superstar Limo and Habit Heroes.

RealJoshDAmaroNov 22, 2020

We're cutting back on everything! Do you think we can afford the extra 'r' right now?

LilofanNov 20, 2020

At least spell it right.

MisterPenguinNov 20, 2020

Thread title: Vague enough that almost anything related to the parks is fair game. Result: Thread is just a list of personal grievances. Click: Unwatch thread. Bye, have fun convincing no one!!

larryzNov 19, 2020

Our reptilian alien overlords will now feel much more welcome.* * Don't laugh -- this refurb is coming out of California, after all!

RealJoshDAmaroNov 19, 2020

Don't misquote me! I said churos, not cupcakes!

EagleScout610Nov 18, 2020

I read it more as "Watch us half a** the heck out of everything, starting with Splash"

MEyeSeeKayEYNov 18, 2020

Unbelievably ignorant take.

tirianNov 17, 2020

Enjoy your past memories, and enjoy the new positive things when they happen to occur, because Disney is blatantly just a mega-corp.

SpaceMountain77Nov 17, 2020

Two thoughts: (1) "We watched as our teams accomplished things in a few weeks that might normally take a year." To me, this is operational inefficiency. If I was an executive, then I would want to know why it took a pandemic to get teams to achieve deliverables in weeks that might normally take a year. This statement is nothing short of embarrassing. (2) "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." People are one of an organization's most valuable resources. Those who have lost their jobs continue to be forgotten.

LilofanNov 17, 2020

In the speech, defiance rules!

DisneysonNov 17, 2020

So many imagineers are gone... I wonder whose, exactly, are hearing this “say what has always been on your mind” thing, especially since it seems that Disney is looking for reasons to get rid of people now. It’s hard to be a champion for Cast Members right now considering the things that have had to happen. I think this was a terrible time to give a speech, because frankly, we are motivating people to do... what? If there are no new projects and no new carrots to dangle in front of our faces, what exactly are people trying to achieve? To be frank, I think Josh is doing his job well. This is not a great time to make a speech. But it was IAAPA. I feel like he needed to say something.

HoustonHornNov 17, 2020