Who is your strongest competitor? I’d like to suggest that no matter the industry you’re in, it’s Disneyland. Not because people have to make a choice between spending their money purchasing your products or services or going to a theme park, but because Disney has set a benchmark for creating an experience against which we are all measured, whether we like it or not.
I just spent a couple of days in the Disney parks—something I have done many times before. But this time was different. We didn’t take the kids. We took a couple of tours in which I became much more familiar with Walt Disney and his vision for the resort. I spent a substantial amount of time in the museum reading about the development of Disneyland and history of Mr. Disney.
Since I wasn’t spending my time looking after kids, I was afforded the opportunity to really pay attention to the systems operating all around me. Every cast member was an expert in creating the Disney experience. Long lines melded into their surroundings, creating experiences for those waiting in them that made the wait painless. Food service was quick and seating was plentiful.
I made note over and over of the interactions between cast members and guests. No one was in too big a hurry to meet the requests of each and every guest. When I looked at the numbers of people being moved about, enjoying the various attractions, eating, and making purchases—all in order and synchronicity—I was blown away.
What can we each learn from the vision of Walt Disney? How can we make the passion we feel for what we do as contagious as Mr. Disney has?
With my trip to Disneyland as a springboard, I intend to continue to study the philosophies and accomplishments of Walt Disney. I invite you to join me. I highly recommend the walking tour, “A Walk in Walt’s Footsteps,” along with a study of the displays on Main Street as a beginning to your studies. I would appreciate any insights on books or other materials you may know of as I continue on my journey of discovery.
To Walt Disney I offer a heartfelt “Thank You” for his vision, beliefs, and tenacity. May his inspiration live on and forever burn as the lamp in the little window above the fire station on Main Street that remains as a constant reminder to all of the light he has shared with each of us. The breadth and depth of his ever-growing legacy is immeasurable as more and more of us strive to emulate his profound example—not just making a living, but making life better for others by passionately doing what we do.
Here’s to our collective Disney-inspired success!
Bryan Waldon Pope
Marketing Success Institute