The last couple of weeks I’ve highlighted some things I learned at Disneyland. Thoughts 1-3. Thoughts 4-5. How about 2 words you will never hear a Disney employee say: “bathroom” and “restroom”. When we were with them, it was always a “comfort break.” We got a lot of mileage talking about feeling “serious” comfort breaks coming on. Guess how many rooms were available the opening night of Disneyland? 7. Guess how much it was to stay? $9. Times have changed huh? It’s tough to get a pack of Skittles at Disneyland for under $9 now. Here are a couple more things I learned while at Disneyland, and the ones that had the biggest impact on me:
6. The mission was important but seemed to be secondary under “telling the story.” (or maybe telling the story was the mission…)
a. “We don’t just make cartoons, we change the world.”
b. I asked one Disney veteran what he liked best about his job and he said he loved making people’s dreams come true. That’s a pretty exciting job.
c. They want to capture your heart first. They believe this is the core of humanity.
7. All people have dignity. All jobs have dignity. I was reminded of the CEO of Ritz-Carlton who said no human being is any more important than another human being. The mission statement of RC is “ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.”
- Disney valued everyone. They honor their people really, really well. At the very first dinner, towards the end, the main chef came out and introduced his “team”—the servers and a couple other chefs. That main chef highlighted one of the beginner chefs and said he was probably going to take his job next year.
- I noticed that they had a vision for who people could become. One of my mentors always says we should hold a crown above others and let them grow into it.
- Always be replacing yourself.
- Spoil people. Gifts every time we got back to the room—chocolate strawberries, big cookies and cupcakes, and then the last night—a framed Thomas Kincaid print for my friend.
My favorite Disney movie is Aladdin. I actually had an Aladdin poster in my college dorm room freshman year. It lasted all year but I do wonder now what people thought. That movie has so many things that make movies great: A lovable underdog, adventure, power, struggle, a love story with a gal that’s out of the guy’s league, a tiger, a genie, ethical decisions in situations, compassion, “what would you wish for?”, and much, much more.
What’s your favorite Disney movie and why? (if it’s not Aladdin, that’s OK. You’re just wrong).