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Oct 6, 2021

Most people who’ve worked for the Walt Disney company will tell you, it’s a delightful place to work, grow, and learn. Dan Cockerell will tell you so in glowing terms. After college and participation in the Disney college program, he chose to work for Disney. His beginning role wasn’t a glamorous one — he parked cars. But that humble beginning was the trailhead that led him down the path of personal and career development. He eventually filled the role of VP of The Magic Kingdom. That's quite a progression and the story is worth hearing. Listen to hear Dan’s valuable insights into personal growth, management, company culture, and a mindset that leads to success.

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You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Dan’s road from parking attendant to VP of Disney’s Magic Kingdom [2:55]
  • The ins and outs of the Disney college program — learning, earning, living [5:48]
  • How technology impacted Dan’s journey at Disney [7:56]
  • A powerful tip about creating amazing culture in an organization [11:38]
  • Culture stories from inside Disney [14:01]
  • Moving managers toward facilitating excess, not having all the answers [18:53]
  • Favorite roles Dan filled in Disney [22:02]
  • Intentional reflection puts Dan in the right mindset for success [25:24]
  • The catalyst that moved Dan away from his role at Disney [27:09]
  • Advice for the dual-income, dual-career families [32:55]
  • What Dan did today to bring joy and put him in the right mindset for success [35:18]


Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Dan Cockerell


Dan attended Boston University, graduating in 1991, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. An avid rugby player, he was selected for the 1990 and 1991 USA Collegiate All-American Rugby team, and was Captain for the 1991 team. Upon graduation from Boston University in 1991, Dan moved to Florida and worked as a parking attendant at Disney’s Epcot Center. Subsequently, he joined the Disneyland Paris Management Trainee Program. He was transferred to France to join the opening team of Disneyland Paris three months prior to the grand opening. While in France, he held various management positions in Park Operations. He and his wife Valerie, who was also with Disneyland Paris, were married in France and spent five years there before moving back to Orlando in 1997. Since that time they have raised three children – Jullian, Margot and Tristan.

Dan has held various executive operations roles at the Walt Disney World Resort, both in the theme parks and resort hotels, and retired as the Vice President of the Magic Kingdom where he led 12,000 cast members and entertained over 20 millions guests annually. He earned his MBA in 2001 at the Crummer School of Business at Rollins College. In addition to his operational responsibilities, Dan was a keynote speaker for the world-renowned Disney Institute for 18 years. He has addressed open-enrollment participants as well as attendees in customized programs including the USAA Bank, General Motors, the U.S. Department of State,

the U.S. Army, the Southern Methodist University Business School, Porsche A.G., and United Airlines. He also participated in the Sodexo Quality Life Worldwide Conference Panel, moderated by Arianna Huffington, in 2015.

After a fulfilling and exciting 26-year career with the Walt Disney Company, and upon becoming empty nesters, Dan and Valerie made the decision to set out on a new venture and start their own consulting and speaking business. Dan provides customized, authentic presentations and insightful workshops focusing on leadership and management practices, drawing upon his extensive Disney career with relevant examples and inspiring storytelling.

Guests on the Mitlin Money Mindset Show are not affiliated with CWM, LLC, and opinions expressed herein may not be representative of CWM, LLC. CWM, LLC is not responsible for the guest's content linked on this site.

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