Saturday, September 1, 2012

Disney World Wins Autism Awareness Award

One of the great things I remember growing up were vacations to Disney World in Orlando Florida.  I've been there three times total: twice with my family and a third time with my high school band program.  I'm from southeast Michigan, so a trip to Florida during the midwinter months was always a great relief from the stark realities of snow and cold weather.  

In a marketing management course I took in college earlier this year, I studied how Disney trains its employees to look at their jobs differently.  They are trained not to feel as though they are working in the theme park industry, but rather, they are trained to feel as though they are in the entertainment industry.  This way, Disney employees can grant visitors a rich, authentic experience they can get nowhere else.  So, needless to say, a job at Disney requires exceptional acting talent.

A fond memory I have from Disney took place when I was fourteen.  At this time, I played the clarinet in my high school marching band.  During a five day school trip that involved both the band and choir programs, my classmates and I marched down main street in the Magic Kingdom playing "Conga," by Gloria Estefan.  A Latin-Rock song suited for warm weather and palm trees.

Another great thing about Disney is that they pride themselves in having top industry support for individuals with disabilities, including autism.   They recently won the Gold Autism Award on behalf of the United Kingdom Autism Foundation.  In addition to acting training, Disney employees receive extensive training to accommodate those with autism, as well as other disabilities.  A Disney executive is quoted saying the following in my source: he said "part of Disney's heritage is to have no one feel excluded."

Click on the following link to read more and to view my source: 

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