My family and I recently made a new tradition – to skip Christmas and go on a family trip to make memories instead.
Let me say this: The Disney magic is strong. While we wandered around the park, I was intrigued and impressed with their ability to make every level of their operations feel magical.
How do they do it? When you look at their history – past and present – you start to get an idea:
- Walt Disney was creative, innovative, and relentless. His personal story is inspiring. (Think about the lack of technology when he started animating in the early 20th century.)
- Disney’s inventiveness carried on, resulting in dozens of beloved movies like Cinderella, The Lion King, Frozen, and Beauty and the Beast.
- Disney’s growth during the last decade has been impressive. This was my 4th visit and I was shocked! No wonder. Check their growth.
4 Lessons Entrepreneurs and Business Owners Can Learn from Disney
Disney has been one of the world’s biggest brands for over 90 years. The parks are a wonderful picture of how that’s possible.
So, what can we learn from them?
1. Have a Long-Term Vision
When Walt Disney created Disneyland, he bought 160 acres of land to build it. But, that wasn’t big enough to create the theme park he originally imagined. Disneyland was soon surrounded by fast food restaurants, cheap hotels, and billboards.
Disney didn’t want to make that mistake twice. He knew Walt Disney World would be a success, so he went all-in. He purchased 47 square miles of land in Florida – over 30,000 acres. Only about one-quarter of that land is developed today. (For scope, Walt Disney World is the same size as San Francisco!)
Why did Disney buy so much land when there was no certainty it would pay off? He had a vision and he bet on his success.
2. Hire for Character/People Matter
Disney employees aren’t just employees – they’re hired for their promise to create magic in the lives of park guests. (This might be why they’re called “cast members” whether they wear a costume or not.)
Disney calls their cast members “the most valuable part of our organization.”
3. Premium Sells
Going to Disney isn’t cheap. But, for the price, the experience you get in return is worth it.
Like Apple, Disney uses a premium model for differentiation. This means:
- There are fewer experiences available (there are Disney parks all over the world, but most people have to travel to visit them).
- The experiences are higher-end (most guests stay at the Walt Disney World Resort when visiting the park and enjoy the complete Disney experience).
4. Leverage the Power of Storytelling
Disney gives guests the power to create a story. In their parks, they offer photogenic corners and hire professional photographers to capture guest moments. And, the photographers aren’t just there to take a boring pic – they’re creative!
Truly, the focus on their guests is Disney’s secret to the magic.
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