Disney Behind-the-scene Tour

Unlocking Leadership Magic at Hong Kong Disneyland: Insights from the Behind-the-Scenes Tour

When it comes to family fun in Hong Kong, no name is more ubiquitous than Hong Kong Disneyland. Last week, the Melo community had the privilege of enjoying an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour led by Michael Moriarty, managing director of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (HKDL).

Nurturing Dreams and Talent: Championing Local Joy

Moriarty shared insights about the operations of HKDL and how they are uniquely positioned to bring positive change to Hong Kong as a whole. Firstly, the park's dedication to the people of Hong Kong has made it a place for Hongkongers to celebrate all types of occasions, from birthdays and proposals, to graduations. In 2022, the park achieved record-breaking local attendance, with 3.4 million local guests enjoying staycations filled with enchantment.

In addition to entertaining guests at the park, HKDL actively promotes the local arts and culture community. An example of this is their recent collaboration with Hong Kong Ballet, the “StellaLou’s Wonderful Wishes Ballet” show. The show generated unprecedented interest in the local ballet scene, doubling the park’s usual attendance. HKDL also actively supports the local community, engaging with underserved communities in Hong Kong. Through its collaboration with Foodlink Foundation, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort collects surplus food to distribute to elderly homes, underprivileged families, and children. I was particularly inspired by HKDL’s program of providing both free tickets and storytelling sessions for those who were isolated by the pandemic. This reminded me of our responsibility to bring joy to the community around us whenever possible.

Leadership Wisdom: A Tale of Empowerment

Melo Fellow Khalil moderated an engaging discussion on leadership principles, during which Moriarty shared valuable insights. Drawing from his experiences, he emphasized that “magic doesn't create itself” and that it is his responsibility to ensure every employee has clarity on the role they play in the Disney experience. He stressed the importance of facilitation, fostering a sense of belonging, and enabling team members to step out of their comfort zones and unleash their full potential. Wai Quen Chan, VP of Human Resources at HKDL added that it’s not about being the smartest person in the room and knowing all the answers, but rather about giving employees the right opportunities to contribute since ‘everybody has a superpower’.

The magic of Hong Kong Disneyland is amplified by a diverse cast of over 6,500 individuals from 36 countries and regions. To ensure that guests have the best possible experience at the park, Chan also emphasized how critical it is for employees to feel at home. This includes making the recruitment process a behind-the-scenes tour and encouraging staff to showcase their diverse cultures. Disney's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is reflected in its adoption of Inclusion as its   "Fifth Key", alongside Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency. This commitment was evident in the way Moriarty was able to remember almost every cast member's name without looking at their nametags, truly embracing this philosophy.

Looking Ahead: Maintaining the Legacy

The tour concluded with a preview of a brand-new statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, called “Dream Makers”, built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Disney and 18th anniversary of HKDL. Around the gallery were photos and other memorabilia capturing Disney’s 100-year history, but one of Walt Disney’s quotes stood out to me in particular. Speaking at the 10th anniversary of Disneyland in Anaheim, California, he said: "I just want to leave you with this thought, that it's just been sort of a dress rehearsal, and we're just getting started.”

In a world often clouded with challenges, it's all too easy for us to focus on the negatives and forget that there is always tomorrow to improve. Only in a diverse and inclusive environment like at HKDL can we believe in the magic within us and create a brighter future where dreams become our reality. This is exactly the sort of change Project Melo aims to bring to Hong Kong and the world, and I am once again reminded of how fortunate I am to be here, surrounded by people like Michael Moriarty who are helping the youth drive change year after year.

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