Disney Parks are More Accessible Thanks to Cast Member Advocate

A Disney Parks Cast Member has helped the Walt Disney Company ensure it is accessible for Guests, particularly in how they utilize its technological features.

Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products employee Joanna Collins works as a software engineer in its Technology and Digital organization division, serving as an accessibility advocate for its websites, mobile apps, and digital products. Of course, at both the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland in Southern California, the ability to access Disney Park features have become vital as the entertainment mogul prioritizes digital theme park reservations, virtual queues, mobile order, and contactless payment options.

Family with Cell phone at Magic Kingdom

Credit: Disney

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Though she began her career as a Reservation Sales Agent for the Disneyland Resort’s Travel Sales Center, Joanna quickly became an expert in accessibility standards after transitioning to technical support for the call center’s applications. In fact, it was here that she became aware of accommodations within the workplace, like screen reading software which visually disabled Cast Members used to navigate hotel reservation platforms and book Guests’ travel packages.

Beyond just providing technical support, Joanna made it a goal to familiarize herself with the screen reader’s frequent issues and other software incompatibilities, which posed a challenge, even learning to write custom HTML script to make a more accessible website. Furthermore, as featured in the Disney Parks Blog, this led Collins to collaborate with Disney’s design and development teams to advocate for accessibility compliance and provide guidance on how to support disabled employees and Guests alike.

a white woman with brown long hair in a gray disneyland hoodie stands in front of sleeping beauty castle, which is pink blue and grey and its moat on a sunny day while wearing sunglasses

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Collin’s leader Kelly Noble had this to say about her employee’s impact on the Walt Disney Company Key of Inclusion:

Joanna goes above and beyond to ensure our applications are accessible for our guests and cast. She doesn’t stop at the systems she owns or supports – she is the cast member who sees something that needs to be fixed and works to partner with the right teams to help them make changes to ensure our applications are inclusive for all.

The Walt Disney Company

Credit: Disney

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Moreover, Joanna considers it a multi-faceted position because she’s not just identifying inaccessible problems, but providing technical solutions to them as well, such as writing code for Disney’s website developers after identifying its source and how it impacts their users. While her personal intention “is to make every single person feel welcome and included,” when using Disney digital products, she recognizes that the Company as a whole is committed to the same standards of diversity and inclusivity for Guests within a “wide range of abilities.”

Indeed, with the work of Collins’ own team, visitors of all kinds to these happy websites receive a truly magical experience.




About Spencer Johnette

Spencer is a lifelong lover of theme parks, princesses, and Disney history that recently relocated to Northern California. She completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA, where she was the founder and first president of the campus Disney Club. A former Cast Member still mourning the loss of the Disney Store, she now haunts the Walt Disney Family Museum halls and shares her opinions with anyone who will listen @gothelsflower.