Like the fun-loving guests who frequent the place, Andrew Chan sees the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort as a place of abundant happiness. A former social worker, Chan joined the park when it opened in 2005. Today, he is the area manager of attraction and guest services for the theme park’s latest attraction, Toy Story Land. “I thought it would be a great opportunity to work here,” says Chan. “It has been a fruitful six-plus years for me at Disneyland, as I have been exposed to different duties.” Training is taken seriously at Disney. Every newcomer – full-time or part-time – must undergo routine training to learn the tradition, culture and service standards of the park. Chan says he has absorbed a lot of know-how since joining. “I have learned hard skills, such as how to operate the facilities safely and, more importantly, the soft skills to communicate with and serve others,” he says.
Starting out on the front line, and now a supervisor, Chan has experienced being managed, as well as how to manage cast members. He greatly admires the management mentality of the theme park. “At Disney, we believe in ‘Happy me, happy guest’,” he says. “The first step to make our guests happy is to keep our cast members happy. We have a policy where the supervisor meets with cast members one-on-one and once a week to listen to their feedback. We very much treasure the feedback and suggestions of cast members. We not only want to work smoothly as a team, we [also] want to get to know the person.”
Chan says Disney treasures output from cast members. “In our new attraction, Toy Soldier Parachute Drop, cast members have come up with a theme greeting – ‘Hi, soldiers! Please put your equipment into the storage boxes.’ It’s a good example of [staff] serving with their heart and coming up with fantastic results,” he says. Damien Lee, director of staffing and human resources services, says that Disneyland cares about the well-being and development of cast members. “We care for our cast members from the heart and we believe that if we do, our cast members will serve guests from their hearts,” says Lee.
“For training and development, the Disney University – which is a sector of our human resources department – designs and provides training programmes for cast members.” The university offers more than 100 types of training, including programmes in guest services, project management, problem solving and leadership. “The training is up-to-date and closely follows market trends. There is both classroom training, and also online training for cast members during their free time,” says Lee. For career development, staff are allowed to transfer to different departments according to their interests and strengths. With Lunar New Year approaching, Hong Kong Disneyland is looking to employ 800 to 900 part-time cast members to assist during the biggest traditional Chinese holiday of the calendar. “Cheerfulness and the heart to serve are two important qualities we are looking for. In addition, we need people with strong language skills in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, since they will be serving guests of different nationalities,” says Lee. He adds that some of the cast members who help out during the Christmas period will be retained, but that there will be additional openings.