Article by Sabrina Aubut originally published in the Atmosphere magazine. Read the latest edition here.
Montreal native Louise Murray, who spent 10 years at Tennis Canada followed by 17 years managing tours for Cirque du Soleil, now lives and works in the Disney world. Vice President of creative entertainment at Walt Disney World Resort, she supervises over 9,000 employees, working with them to create a more magical world. We’ve put together a short interview to inspire you on your next Disney trip!
You moved to Orlando several years ago. Did you find it hard to adapt to the city?
(Smiling) No. After living in 45 different cities, change is easy for me. And given the exceptional quality of life in Florida and the way strangers are made to feel welcome, you can’t help but feel good here.
Explain your role at Disney.
I’m responsible for all the “live show” experiences in all our Florida parks, from the simplest encounter between a Disney character and a visitor, to huge firework exhibits and parades.
It sounds like a dream job! What do you like most about the work that you do?
For one thing, it doesn’t feel like work! I collaborate with exceptionally high-level creatives, and what brings us together is our passion for creating unforgettable experiences that really touch people. For me, a “meeting” can often mean walking around the site with my team, coming up with new ideas!
How is innovation viewed and used at Disney?
We got Tinker Bell to fly between the towers of the castle. We made a huge dragon spit fire during the Festival of Fantasy parade. At Disney, innovation is a way of life, and for us, the purpose of technology is to create a magical experience.
Can you reveal some of the upcoming highlights at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida?
The next few years are going to be very exciting, with the arrival of AVATAR Land at Animal Kingdom, which will be spectacular, the transformation of the former Downtown Disney, which has become Disney Springs, and much more to come.
You live in a vacation town, but you probably spend your vacations elsewhere. What are some of your favourite places?
To recharge my batteries, I love taking walks through the Hawaiian countryside. I go to New York to feed my intellectual side, and for the action. In Europe, London is my go-to city for theatre and the arts in general. Travelling, for me, isn’t just about going to a different place geographically, but also in my head and in my heart, because that’s what nourishes my creativity.
What do you like to do when you visit Montreal?
I give in to the little pleasures, like buying cupcakes at Les Glaceurs in Old Montreal, going for walks on the mountain, shopping at Jean Talon Market, riding around on a Bixi… I like to live the city.
Louise Murray’s Top Disney Picks
Her Favourite Character
Minnie. She’s very sure of herself, and she has such good energy. I’m jealous of her wardrobe, all that Givenchy and Lanvin… Just kidding, I like her because she’s been able to win people over with her compassion and sweetness.
Her Favourite Ride
Soarin’, at Epcot, which lets you “fly over” some breathtaking California landscapes that are presented literally underfoot on an IMAX screen. It gives you an incredible feeling of freedom!
Her Favourite Restaurants
California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, for its amazing views from the top floor. Monsieur Paul, at the France pavilion at Epcot, for its gourmet cuisine inspired by chef Paul Bocuse, and Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie at the same pavilion, where I get my delicious croissants every morning.
Air Transat offers direct flights to Orlando, so you can experience the world of Louise Murray on your next trip to Disney World!