It’s easy as theme park fans to focus solely on the design process when thinking about the parks. Walt Disney Imagineering excites us because it promises endless possibilities for new creations. This approach places less emphasis on how important the teams that operate the parks are to make them succeed. Walt Disney World falls apart without Operations keeping the attractions and resorts working smoothly.

This episode of The Tomorrow Society Podcast focuses on that realm with Dan Cockerell, former vice president of The Magic Kingdom. He worked in operations and customer service for more than 25 years. Cockerell was also the vice president of Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and a leader at several resorts. His vast experience at Disney makes him an ideal guest to delve into how the resort functions.

[The] discussion with Cockerell covers a variety of topics including these questions:

  • How did he get started working in the Disney College Program?
  • What were the challenges for him while working in France at Disneyland Paris?
  • How can Disney strike a balance between preserving the past and adding new attractions?
  • What the differences in operating a massive Disney resort versus leading a park?
  • Why has Epcot been a challenge to update, particularly with Future World?
  • What made him decide to retire from Disney and become an entrepreneur?