Disneyland Resort Cast Member Reflects on Contributions to Disney Animation’s ‘Wish’

As colorful drones danced in the Hollywood sky, Kachain Thongmanee stood alongside his mother on the red carpet at the premiere of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Wish” at El Capitan Theater to celebrate his and many others’ contributions to the 62nd feature film from Disney Animation.

Today, Kachain works as a Disneyland Park Operations Support associate coordinator, but from 2021 through early 2023 Kachain worked at Disney Animation on the Visual Development team helping manage a team of artists that made sure the creative intent of “Wish” was carried throughout the film’s design. One accomplishment he is most proud of is the team’s research into the regions and cultures that inspired the story, world and characters of the film.

“Having seen every character, piece of clothing, hairstyle, prop, and environment from its early concept to the final animated form is very gratifying and cathartic,” Kachain shared. “I can’t help but feel blessed that I got to tag along for the journey, witnessing and being in awe of the amazing creativity and talent that surrounded me.”

Kachain at Walt Disney Animation Studios for the production of “Wish”

As a young boy, Kachain Thongmanee was enamored with Disney characters and stories, but never saw himself reflected in the films he cherished. Fast forward to the 2021 release of Disney Animation’s “Raya and the Last Dragon,” Kachain shared that seeing how parts of his Thai culture and the people and cultures of Southeast Asia inspired the film had a profound impact on him. Through his work on Disney Animation’s “Wish” he hopes he has been able to help create that feeling for others.

Kachain visiting the Disneyland Resort with his family in 1982.

“One of the cool things I’ve been able to do is help our audiences see themselves in our stories,” Kachain said. “It has been awesome being a part of that, and knowing that I’m changing for the world for the better and that we do has an impact on our guests and our audiences.”

Kachain started his 17-year career with The Walt Disney Company at the Disney Store and later moved to the Disneyland Resort. Kachain has worked a variety of roles at the resort including Attractions, Retail, Training and Recruitment. He spent two years working at Walt Disney Imagineering. Kachain’s success and opportunities within the company took more than just wishing for the next role. It was hard work, persistence and determination that led to Kachain’s amazing career.

“What really matters is knowing the importance of our role now, and really being present in making sure we do it the best we can,” Kachain shared. “That’s how we move forward. I wouldn’t have been able to do all these things if I didn’t care so much about my current role and be able to take it seriously, while not taking myself seriously. I genuinely believe in every role that I’ve been in and bring my best self to it. And I think that’s helped me along my career.”

Disney Animation’s “Wish” debuts nationwide in theaters on Wednesday, Nov. 22.