How Do They Make Magic Happen?
As I do with many things in my life I marvelled at what I saw and experienced. From a professional aspect I was left wondering, HOW exactly do they do it? Not just the creation of "magic", I am amazed at how they create such a deep brand experience and how they get their employees (cast members in Disney speak) to do, what they do.
As soon as you set foot on a Disney property, you feel different. You realize at many levels that you are somewhere special. There is a purpose for everything. Cast members greet you warmly and consistently gesture directions with an open hand, always. Pointing is forbidden and you will not see a Disney cast member do that. Garbage Cans, YES, Garbage Cans have a science behind them. You will notice on any Disney property that everything is impeccable, clean and always in working order. Did you know that Disney figured out that the exact distance a guest will walk with rubbish in their hands is exactly 27 feet? The rubbish bins are never full, always appear clean and are always specifically branded to the area of the park that they are in. I actually did an experiment and purposely shifted a bin so that the two side by side looked askew. Within minutes a cast member noticed and walked up, re-aligned the bins and carried on.
"Details, Mean EVERYTHING"
I noticed on this recent visit that park managers all carry little grabber arms. No matter who you are in the organization, if you see rubbish, you pick it up. Another element that many guests may not notice is that you will never find gum for sale on a Disney property, ever. Why? Walt Disney abhorred the thought of gum staining the walkways throughout the park. You would never see gum in the wild west, so you certainly won't see it in Disney's Adventure Land.
You will not find a sad, surly, or un-happy cast member anywhere on a Disney property. I am amazed at the true interest and passion that each cast member who I encountered treated me, guest number 7 trillion, to each of them I mattered. Again I ask, how do they do it?
"Disney starts with WHY"
I believe that Disney starts with why (Simon Sinek, Start With Why). What I mean by this is that Disney knows clearly what it believes is its purpose, more importantly Disney recruits cast members that believe what they believe. That Disneyland and DisneyWorld are not theme or amusement parks. They are a feeling, an experience, a living movie as Walt Disney would say.
This starts from solid training. Disney has an internal training department called Disney University and the Disney Institute, before cast members ever set foot in their new work space they enter a program called Traditions, which imparts the essential knowledge, behaviours and expectations of being a Disney cast member. Does your organization do this by providing an orientation into the organizations values? Perhaps that would cost too much, what is it costing NOT to provide this knowledge.
Enjoy the magic,