A tiger and the Mouse

Walt Disney threw open the gates to Disneyland over 50 years ago, introducing the world to a new experience in family entertainment. Today, Disney theme parks rank among the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

It’s no surprise that many RIT grads have found fulfilling careers at “the happiest place on earth.” While it was not possible to determine exactly how many work for Disney worldwide, The University Magazine caught up with one among the 55,000 employees of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida: Rainer Janetzki ’82 (food service administration), regional manager of HR Services, Resorts and Transportation.

Rainer Janetzki began his Disney career while he was an RIT undergrad. “I did an internship, and was lucky enough to be offered a job after college.”

Walt Disney World proved to be a good match for his skills and interests: He has been with the company for 22 years.

In a world where customers are called “guests” and employees are called “cast members,” Janetzki started out in the “on-stage areas” – the places where guests and cast interact. Janetzki spent several years managing Walt Disney World Resort restaurants. After gaining a solid background in the operations side of the business, he moved behind the scenes to the human resources area where he has stayed, holding positions in recruiting, organizational development, employment and human resources services.

In his current job, “I’m involved in people-management issues,” Janetzki explains. “Staffing, performance, recognition, continuous improvement to name a few. We help ensure alignment of business, organizational and people strategies.”

In many ways, the work is very similar to human resource operations in any large corporation. “My client group includes the Walt Disney World Resort hotels and transportation system encompassing 14,000 employees and 950 leaders. The appeal, for me, is being involved in developing high-level strategy with a global impact on the company.”

He adds, “There’s a truly collaborative atmosphere here. Everyone is focused on the guest experience. We all have a role, we all have a purpose. It’s a very team oriented culture.”

Although Jantezki’s job is removed from the front lines of guest interaction, his three young children keep the experience fresh for him.

“Now that I’m a Disney dad, I come to the park even more. Just to see it through their eyes is so rewarding.”

The University Magazine, Fall 2005