The Secret Ingredient to Disney’s Magic: Hiring, Training, and Making Dreams Come True

It’s no secret that Disney World stands as the epitome of family entertainment, but beyond its magical facade lies a beacon of excellence in hiring, training, and customer service. This became crystal clear when two of our team members, Co-Founder Blake Coleman and VP of Customer Success Jason Mitchell, visited Walt Disney World with their families during Spring Break. For Jason, it was a novel introduction to the Disney magic, while for Blake, it was his sixth Disney adventure, spanning four visits to Walt Disney World, one Disney Cruise, and a trip to Disneyland. Regardless of whether it’s a first-time visit or the latest of many, any professional in the people business can’t help but be impressed by Disney’s adeptness in employee selection, development, and enhancing guest experiences.

Mastering the Craft of Hiring

Disney’s approach to hiring is both rigorous and reflective of its core values. Cast Members, the term Disney affectionately uses for its employees, are selected through a process that ensures they are not only skilled but also deeply resonate with Disney’s values. These include an unwavering passion for the Disney brand, its rich history, an innovative spirit, curiosity, inclusivity, mindfulness, positivity, collaborative prowess, a continual desire for personal growth, and storytelling skills. This comprehensive vetting process includes hiring managers and sharing in detail what success on the job looks like.

Further, Disney involves team members from various parts of the organization in the hiring process, working as part of the “casting office.” This method ensures a broad perspective is maintained, valuing internal insights from team members in the field into what makes a successful Disney employee. Standardized assessments bolster the selection process to minimize bias, including personality questionnaires and psychometric tests and collaboration with experts like EBW Global, a leader in Business Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

Disney University: The Pinnacle of Training

Since 1962, Disney University has stood as a pillar of excellence in employee orientation and training. This institution not only immerses new Cast Members in Disney’s storied traditions and philosophies but also equips them with the skills necessary for their roles. With locations from Disneyland to Tokyo Disneyland and beyond, Disney University is central to maintaining the brand’s renowned guest service standards. The focus is on stories, immersive experiences, exceptional guest service, and fostering an emotional connection, with quality as the non-negotiable priority. Disney’s training regimen continuously emphasizes safety, courtesy, show, efficiency, and inclusion.

The training also includes unique Disney rules for employees, such as using two fingers or an entire hand when pointing and never saying “I don’t know” to a guest. Special attention is given to interactions with children, ensuring they feel safe and esteemed, as seen in experiences like the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Moreover, Disney empowers its Cast Members through thorough training, emphasizing role-specific skills and the significance of storytelling in creating memorable guest experiences.

Shaping Unforgettable Customer Experiences

The meticulous attention Disney pays to hiring and training is evident in the exceptional customer experiences it consistently delivers. The passion of Cast Members for the brand is palpable, enhancing the magic and wonder guests feel during their visit. Disney’s success lies in its ability to weave emotional connections, storytelling, and immersive experiences into the fabric of its service, setting a gold standard in the industry.

For organizations aiming to excel in service delivery and customer satisfaction, Disney’s model offers invaluable insights. It underscores the importance of aligning employee values with the brand, investing in comprehensive training, and prioritizing the customer experience. At the heart of Disney’s philosophy is a deep commitment to creating magical moments, a reminder that in the realm of customer service, the real magic happens when every detail is treated as part of the greater story.


Recruiting redefined; built for high-tech,
high-growth teams