Walt Disney: People Experience Behind The Magic


Mickey Mouse makes people laugh, but behind that lovable mouse is a well-oiled business machine.

That was among the lessons learned by 195 people attending a daylong Disney Keys to Excellence program Tuesday at Illinois Wesleyan University.

“We want the public to think about the fun and frivolity but the engine behind that is massive,” said Bruce Kimbrell, a business programs facilitator for the Disney Institute.

In a session on leadership, Kimbrell touched on employee satisfaction and retention, superior customer value and employee empowerment. The seminar also featured tips on management, customer service and Disney-style loyalty.

“You’re as strong as your weakest link,” said Kimbrell. “We (Disney) learned from listening to the front line.”

The key to learning from employees is creating an environment that contributes to information sharing, he said.

For more content, please read Disney shares its successful business model at IWU

It’s not magic that makes it work; it’s the way we work that makes it magic. That’s the philosophy that has brought much success and acclaim to Lee Cockerell, the man is synonymous with the Disney World. Suman Tarafdar takes tips to hopefully make him a better leader.

Why are employees and leadership so crucial?

Your employees are your brand. They create quality work which translates to your reputation. Your employees can be more productive or less productive depending on how they are led. At least at Walt Disney World we were able to quantify greater financial results based upon the quality of leadership at each level delivered. Excellent leadership leads to more committed employees who then take care of the work and the customer because they want to, instead of because they have to. We all want to have a great leader who treats us respectfully and cares about…

For more content, please read The Disney way to working the magic

Disney Institute is the professional development and external training arm of The Walt Disney Company. The company showcases ‘the business behind the magic’ through seminars, workshops and presentations, as well as programs for professionals from many different industries, including healthcare, aerospace/aviation, government/military, food/beverage and retail.

For more information, please visit http://disneyinstitute.com/

In the mean time, people are trying to integrate Disney’s successful business model into their own.

Here are the 8 big impact ideas from “If Disney Ran Your Hospital”

1. Perceptions > Reality
2. Courtesy > Efficiency
3. Patient Loyalty > Patient Satisfaction
4. Experience > Service > Product
5. Intrinsic Motivation > Extrinsic Motivation
6. Habit > Imagination > Willpower > Compliance
7. Dissatisfaction > Complacency
8. Doing > Knowing

For more content, please read What Can We Learn From Mickey Mouse?

Let’s focus on efficiency. Small business owners will quickly tell you that they have to run lean to be profitable, and that running efficiently is one of their top priorities. But efficiency comes in fourth at Disney. Decisions are made based on 4 criteria, in this order:

1. Is it safe for the visitor?

2. Is it courteous to the visitor?

3. Is it in keeping with the “show” (or, in a small business owner’s case, the brand).

4. Is it efficient?

In other words, Disney would, in theory, make a decision to be less efficient if that led to higher customer safety and courtesy. If a Disney employee must make a decision about a guest request, she will make it according to those four criteria, and in that order. Something to think about!

Of course, not all the stories are glamorous.

Disneyland is supposed to be “The Happiest Place on Earth,” but Liang Ning isn’t too happy. The engineer brought his family to Disney’s new theme park in Hong Kong from the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou one Saturday in April with high hopes, but by day’s end, he was less than spellbound. “I wanted to forget the world and feel like I was in a fairytale,” he says. Instead, he complains, “it’s just not big enough” and “not very different from the amusement parks we have” in China. His seven-year-old daughter Yaqin disagrees, calling the park “fantastic,” but her father grumbles: “If she wants to come again, “I’ll send her with somebody else.”

For more content, please read Disney’s Hong Kong Headache
Written by:

Scott Friedman

Scott Friedman, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) and former President of the National Speakers Association (NSA), is an internationally sought after professional speaker and author. As a motivational humorist, Scott inspires and entertains with engaging, interactive, and content-rich programs. Scott’s main areas of expertise are employee innovation & engagement, customer experience, and creating a happier, more connected workplace and life.

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