How a Disney Parks cast member experience boosted retention and reputation

In this excerpt from Ragan’s 2024 Top Case Studies in Employee Communications & Culture book, find out how Disney Parks’ ongoing Disney Cast Life employee engagement campaign dovetailed with a social push for Cosmic Rewind.

In Ragan’s Top Case Studies in Employee Communications & Culture book, we assembled more than 50 award-winning examples of internal comms-centric campaigns, initiatives, publications and more spanning topics such as manager and executive comms, ESG, employee resource groups, DE&I and more.

In its pages, we dig into the ways comms teams at brands including PepsiCo, CVS Health, John Deere, U.S. Bank and many more have forged unity and passion among employee populations, faced staggering crises, elevated the voices of leaders and achieved key business objectives.

This week, we’re pleased to present an excerpt from the book examining how, as part of its “Disney Cast Life” campaign, Disney Parks rallied its cast members to promote the launch of the Guardians of the Galaxy-themed Cosmic Rewind ride, while creating an unforgettable experience and boosting satisfaction for the employees themselves.

cast members celebrating

Disney Parks cast members’ ‘Guardians’ ride preview spurred recruitment and reputation

As part of an employer brand-focused initiative, cast members got to experience a thrilling new ride and share the (spoiler-free) experience on social media to boost buzz.

During the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary celebration, and as an ongoing initiative, Disney Parks recognized the pivotal role its cast members play in creating magical moments for guests. The company’s commitment to celebrating its workforce was not only about pixie-dusting vacation memories, but also included exclusive opportunities for cast members to get a sneak peek into upcoming attractions and showcase their experiences to publicly communicate to the public what “Disney Cast Life” is all about.

The ongoing “Disney Cast Life” campaign and initiative aims to offer an authentic behind-the-scenes glimpse into the lives of Disney employees, emphasizing the unique opportunities and exclusives available to them, in a bid to drive recruitment, enhance its reputation as an employer and generate excitement about the park experience.

To dismantle traditional barriers that discouraged employees from sharing their work experiences, Disney implemented a strategic shift: Instead of dictating limitations on social media usage, the company empowered its cast members to highlight the positive aspects of their roles. The overarching strategy emphasized the privileges of working at Disney, such as early access to park offerings, backstage encounters with iconic characters, exclusive tours and events.

The omnichannel campaign includes a dedicated blog and YouTube channel where cast members’ stories and experiences are shared and a brand ambassador program in which cast members use the #DisneyCastLife hashtag along with photos and videos of the previews they are invited to participate in.

One example of this strategy came as part of the EPCOT transformation, when a select group of EPCOT cast members were among the first to step inside the newest showcase pavilion. Timed to the launch of Cosmic Rewind, a roller coaster based on the Disney-owned Marvel film series “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the company gave exclusive previews of the high-thrill adventure ride to its park cast members and their families, allowing them to experience the new thrilling adventure before anyone else. They were encouraged to share the experience and their excitement across social media, as long as they didn’t reveal any surprises from the ride before its premiere.

The employee previews, which served to both hype the ride and give a nod to the magic of Disney Parks’ employer brand, spanned several weeks, providing enough time for buzz to build before the opening of the attraction. Cast members were invited to document their #DisneyCastLife experience in a special photo location, with signage encouraging the creation of spoiler-free UGC to be shared across social media.

The previews of the new attraction generated enthusiasm among cast members and consumers alike, resulting in more than 500,000 views and 100,000 likes of the UGC across social media. The experience and posts were recapped on the Disney Cast Life Blog and on the dedicated YouTube channel.

The “Disney Cast Life” campaign is ongoing and has been expanded to a global initiative, with previews, photo opportunities and experiences for cast members continuing to transform the social media landscape for Disney Parks employees, fostering a sense of pride and camaraderie within the workforce — while also raising awareness of new attractions.


Dive deeper into Ragan’s Top Case Studies in Employee Communications and Culture to learn from dozens of additional brands and organizations. And in the same vein as this story, don’t miss our Social Media Conference at Disney World!

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