As part of the Disney100 Celebration at Disneyland Resort and “World of Color – ONE” spectacular, we are highlighting cast members who, like our new show, exemplify how one small idea or action — like a single drop of water — can create a ripple that grows into a wave of positive change. Today, let’s meet Allie Kawamoto Choy, Experience Integration manager for Hotels of the Disneyland Resort.
If you walk around the Disneyland Resort with Allie Kawamoto Choy, be prepared to be stopped. A lot.
That’s because Allie is one of those cast members every other cast member seems to know – and wants to chat with.
It may be because she’s worked in both theme parks and at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort over her 16-year career. Or it may be because she attained local celebrity status during her two years (2015-16) as a Disney Ambassador during the resort’s 60th anniversary. Or it might be that you’re likely to run into her at Disney VoluntEARS events in the community. Or maybe it’s her role as a leader in COMPASS, the Business Employee Resource Group dedicated to advocating, celebrating and educating on behalf of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
But most likely, it’s because Allie has taken all of the above and woven her experience and passion with genuine kindness, creativity and a can-do spirit to connect people and create partnerships.
“Disney has a really special company culture, and groups like Disney VoluntEARS and COMPASS have kept me engaged as a cast member all these years,” said Allie, who joined the company through the Disney College Program in 2007. In that very first year, a fellow cast member invited her to attend a meeting to learn more about COMPASS, and that one event inspired Allie to get involved and ultimately, to find ways to infuse her Japanese heritage with her passion for Disney.
Since then, Allie counts her work as a co-chair with COMPASS among her proudest accomplishments. One example is her collaboration with Resort Enhancement on the Emporium retail display windows this May and last to represent Children’s Day in celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Children’s Day is a public holiday in Japan, and the window display includes Japanese elements like the koinobori carp streamers (seen in top photo and below) to symbolize willpower and success and toys that represent other Asian and Pacific Islander cultures, as well.
“Having a window display on Main Street, U.S.A., to honor this holiday meant the world to me and to so many fellow cast members,” she said. “Seeing a piece of your culture authentically represented in the park is so meaningful. And being able to bring my [then] 10-month-old son to see it made it even more special.”
Allie’s passion to share her heritage also comes in handy in her current role as Experience Integration manager at the three Hotels of the Disneyland Resort, where she helps to bring the themes and celebrations from the theme parks into the guest experience at the hotels. For instance, during last year’s Lunar New Year celebration at Disney California Adventure park, she worked with partners to add Lunar New Year artwork to the hotel key card holders (shown below).
“The work Allie has done with COMPASS and creating synergies in her own role have made a huge impact,” said Connie McCallon, Allie’s leader and director of Hotel Strategy. “Her ability to forge meaningful relationships benefits the business while supporting our cast and community.”
Whether she is planning events at the hotels or serving as a cultural consultant, Allie says that working at the resort during the 100th anniversary celebration of The Walt Disney Company is a dream come true.
“I’ve been a Disney fan for as long as I can remember, so to be able to work for the company during its 100th anniversary is a little surreal,” she said. “I feel incredibly fortunate.”