I just got back from a lifetime vacation to 3 Disney parks in Florida and a Disney cruise. I’ve done Disney before and my sister used to be a Disney Cast Member. I also prepared a final project on Employee Retention for a Graduate Certificate course based on Disney values so I feel like I know something about Disney. Having just spent the most wonderful 2 weeks immersed in Disney culture, it gave me the opportunity to hold a magnifying glass to the practices that make Disney such a preferred vacation and business interest. What I noticed would make almost anyone or anything stand out as preferred choice in almost any environment. Are you looking to make a “preferred” impression as a job candidate or for a promotion or even as a romantic partner? Consider some of these ideals that Disney meticulously displays consistently:
Every staff (or cast member as they are called at Disney) member at Disney smiles almost continuously and they smile at you. That means they make eye contact so you know it is definitely “you” that they are smiling at. It makes you feel good and special like you are exactly where you are supposed to be at that moment.
2. Go Above and Beyond
Disney Cast Members do things that make you wonder if you are actually in a dream. When you put on a “Goofy” hat to see how ridiculous you look in it, a cast member will offer to take your picture in it with no expectations of purchase. On the cruise, my husband made a comment to our server that the only thing that would make our dinners better than they were, would be a plate of chicken wings. Guess what? At our last dinner on the ship, our server brought out the biggest and most beautiful plate of chicken wings we’d ever seen. No one expected that kind of service but it definitely made an amazing and profound impression.
Disney puts an immense emphasis on even the tiniest of details. You can bet that every aspect of anything Disney has had someone scour over the detail of it. Every link in every chain, every hinge on every door, every ink-stroke on every painting has been thoroughly thought out. There are considerations put into everything Disney, many of them with the understanding that it may never be noticed by the average person. There are books published on secrets of Disney for die-hard Disney fans. Did you know that the imagineers of Disney, purposely place hidden Mickey’s everywhere that is part of Disney property? This gives an added value of scavenger hunting for the hidden Mickey heads while visiting or waiting at a Disney attraction. Here is one on a chair in Disney dining hall. Not-so-hidden but a planned detail none-the-less.
4. Continuous Improvement
Disney strives to “keep moving forward” as Walt said himself. Considering “it all began with a mouse”, we can see how far the Disney dynasty has evolved. It didn’t just do this by itself, Walt Disney made it very clear from the beginning that listening to the people and finding out what they liked, what they wanted or didn’t want and then following through on those ideals was imperative to the success of the company. We saw this consistently during our vacation. There were opportunities to fill out comment cards, email-surveys were available for feedback and cast members would request input. At dinner every night while we were on our cruise, our servers would ask us how to improve on their service for the next dinner. Our room host would ask us how he could help to make our stay more magical for the next day. We felt listened to, cared for and taken care of our entire vacation. And every day turned out to be better than the one before which was hard to believe since the first day was already perfect.
Walt Disney trained his staff to treat their work environment as a stage and that they were cast members performing whenever they were in the public eye. Therefore, he emphasized the importance of look and behaviour in order to demonstrate a good stage presence and taking pride in their performance state. This philosophy was evident throughout our holiday. How everything was presented was impeccable. The parks were immaculate. There was never any garbage littering the streets, the colours were vibrant everywhere we looked, costumes were in top-form on all cast members and every performance was choreographed painstakingly to display the perfect image.
Do you practice any of these values? If so, have they proven successful? Have you experienced magical examples of Disney values that you would add to this list?