We are thrilled to kick off Latinx Hispanic Heritage Month from now until October 15 by celebrating the inspiring stories of our parks, experiences and Disney products and cast members. Today we share the story of Liz Diaz, Walt Disney Imagineering’s assistant construction director, who was behind the magic of bringing Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure to Walt Disney World Resort.
Liz was born in Cuba and moved to Venezuela with her family at age 5 before emigrating to the United States at age 12. Growing up in the Caribbean and South America, where Spanish was his first language, Disney had a huge impact on his life. “I remember watching Disney movies with subtitles and learning the lyrics to the songs, which helped me learn English,” Liz recalls. “Growing up, my dream job would have been to be a Disney or Pixar animator, but my drawing skills weren’t up to par. With this dream I met Imagineering ”.
During her final semester at Florida International University in Miami, where she was pursuing a master’s degree in architecture, Liz took some internships at Walt Disney Imagineering. Although he didn’t get his dream internship right away, his persistence paid off in 2014 when he was given the opportunity to join the Disney Animal Kingdom expansion team as an intern. project management, just a couple of months after graduating.
“The best part about growing my career at Disney has been all the different opportunities the company has,” he said. “I started as a project manager, then moved on to site management and could even become an architect again or try something completely different. The possibilities are endless! ”
While Liz has many fond memories of working on various projects with Walt Disney Imagineering, including the Satu’li Canteen in Pandora – The World of Avatar, her most recent opportunity as an assistant construction director for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, open to guests on October 1 at EPCOT, has been her favorite memory so far.
“In the end, all projects are always fantastic, but the people along the way make them memorable, which is why Remy is my favorite,” Liz explained. “I have countless memories of all the projects I’ve worked on, but there’s always a recurring memory in every project that stands out: the moment you get to share it! Whether it’s to make the first meal in a new restaurant with family, friends and the project team, or to put together a new attraction together for the first time, that’s why we do what we do. “
Another proud moment for Liz was when she recently had the opportunity to direct a Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure tour for Puerto Rican singer and songwriter Luis Fonsi, best known for his world song “Despacito” and his family.
“Directing a tour for Luis Fonsi in Spanish was both heartbreaking and incredibly exciting,” Liz said. “I was certainly surprised by a little star, but I was determined to present the new attraction on behalf of Walt Disney Imagineering so that it would do justice to the project and make them love it as much as we do.”
As we pay tribute to Hispanic Latinx Heritage Month, Liz shares the importance of representation and how her Cuban heritage has a unique perspective on her role as Disney Imagineer. “Our theme parks are part of a global industry. The only way to make an impressive product or experience that resonates with our international audience is to understand what makes each culture unique and what their people like and enjoy. And, the only way to do that is to bring together diverse teams. “
Liz also shared: “Much of our work at Imagineering is based on close coordination and communication. Being able to communicate with some of our construction partners in my native Spanish language is very important in our relationship. It helps to understand, but also to generate trust and mutual respect through a common language ”.
Inclusion has always been essential to our Disney culture. With the introduction of the inclusion key earlier this year, Walt Disney Imagineering’s works management team is making a conscious effort to connect with minority companies and women when opportunities arise.
For anyone aspiring to become a Disney Imagineer, Liz shared that “You have to know yourself to be successful. Ask yourself,‘ what moves you? ’The rest will come. Also, don’t forget trust but humble ”.
Stay tuned for more inspiring stories like Liz’s, as we offer you more stories that highlight the many contributions of our Hispanic and Latin cast through parks, experiences, and Disney products. Follow @DisneyParks on social and check out @WaltDisneyImagineering on Instagram for the latest on all things about Imagineering.