As part of our on-going "5 Minutes With" series, every month we’ll introduce you to a new member of our Disney Meetings & Events team at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland Resort in California or Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Hawaii. Whether they work in our Disney Convention Resorts, Theme Park Operations, Catering and Convention Services, Sales, Entertainment or dozens of other event-support areas, these Cast Members and their teams are responsible for creating magical experiences and unforgettable events for meeting and event industry professionals, and their important attendees and guests, every single day.
Let’s meet Ray Fournier, Show Producer at Walt Disney World Resort:
What is your role, and how is it unique to assisting meeting and event planners?
I’m a Show Producer with Entertainment at Walt Disney World Resort. I lead the creative teams that serve our clients by helping them capitalize on the Disney brand to create unforgettable experiences for their attendees. Our resort is a huge playground—47 square miles!
My job is to make sure we provide just the right creative solutions to help our clients meet and exceed their meeting objectives. Sometimes, this means creating an exclusive experience inside one of our Theme Parks to celebrate their conference theme; at other times, we bring our creative resources into the ballrooms to help our clients tell their organization’s story in a dramatic way.
Can you describe one of your best Disney memories related to your position assisting a convention/meeting group?
There are so many incredible memories over my 20 years of working with Disney, but one that comes to mind was how we brought one of our client’s conference themes to life. “Never Lose Sight of the Possibilities” was the theme, and we won an industry-wide award for our groundbreaking fusion of art, creativity, storytelling, and technology in our inspiring production. We built the largest (at the time) single, widescreen projection surface inside the Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort Convention Center.
Then, to inspire our client’s attendees with the possibilities of the future, we created an original, wide-screen, animated short film in which we showed them the world through the eyes of a child’s imagination. This is just one example of the kind of talent and resources we have available to us in our creative entertainment team.
What is one of the greatest Disney Differences for attendees meeting at a Disney destination?
Disney is an industry leader in creativity and hospitality. We work closely with our clients to understand their event objectives in order to create unforgettable experiences that are focused on them… and we deliver each experience with our famous Disney flair. The strength of our teams’ talent pool, plus our resources across The Walt Disney Company, means we can empower every aspect of our clients’ events.
Creative Show Directors oversee the conference theme, working with Scenic Designers to create just the right atmosphere for each meeting while directing world-class performers in everything from entertaining meeting openers and closers to gala celebrations and even full-fledged shows. As the Creative Producer, I ensure that our entire creative team has the same goal of delivering an excellent experience every step of the way, from inception through production.
What are some of the latest, most innovative meeting trends you are seeing in the industry? How do you incorporate these trends into your client’s meeting? What are some of the latest trends for meetings and events at Disney?
Our world is changing at a rapid pace, and so are our clients’ expectations. They want experiential activities to keep their attendees engaged rather than the standard, top-down, PowerPoint presentations that were once the traditional way of delivering messages. Disney’s use of immersive storytelling—both in the Theme Parks and Resort—offers experiential learning, while our well-known brands use current cultural trends to help deliver relevant experiential activities.
Research shows that the key to message retention comes from engaging the senses, and so we help our client’s tie their messages to relatable experiences for their attendees. From immersive environments and interactive photo locations that encourage social media posting, to live experiences with Characters, attractions, and experiences, we focus on the details to be sure each client’s experience is unique.
What is your favorite part of your role?
The best part of my role is getting to lead such an incredible team of talented professionals to create innovative experiences for every event. It is an honor to work with world-class Creative Directors, Writers, Production Managers, Art Directors, Scenic Designers, Graphic Artists/Animators, Videographers and some of the best technical experts in the business. Each discipline is focused on delivering outstanding results in their field while maintaining the overall vision for the event. When it all comes together…it’s magic.
What can attendees look forward to when meeting at a Disney destination?
Well, you might have heard of a new land opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios…an entire area dedicated to the Star Wars saga! Galaxy’s Edge will transform the Theme Park industry with the most immersive Star Wars experience anyone can imagine.
Then, the all-new Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort will expand the number of rooms for our clients’ attendees and offer new meeting spaces and dining experiences.
Finally, one of my favorite client-friendly locations is the recently renovated Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort Convention Center. Our Disney Imagineers have done an incredible job with the design and functionality of this new space.
We're eager to help you create the perfect meeting or private event for any size group, theme and objective. To speak with a Disney Meetings & Events representative about our pricing and options available at our Disney Parks & Resorts destinations in Florida, California, Hawaii or at our international destinations, please contact us or submit a request for proposal or sign up to stay in touch and continue learning more about Disney meetings and events.