LAST YEAR I was fortunate enough to spend some time at what Disney like to call ‘the happiest place on Earth’, Disney World. It was my first visit and as I didn’t go as a child, although I was still excited, I wasn’t expecting it to be quite as brilliant as it was.

As many have you have probably experienced, the magic is quite infectious and inevitably you get swept along. I use the word ‘magic’ and that is exactly how Disney want it to appear but, in reality, there is a colossal amount of hard work going on behind the scenes to make this an incredible business empire.

Yes, they do have pretty much an unrivalled brand but there are many huge brands that have failed in the past few years so what are Disney doing differently? Well, I didn’t get the keys to Cinderella’s castle but there were a few lessons I observed from the outside:

  1. Systems – At Disney these are tried, tested and repeated. From meet and greets with the characters to the serving of food in the restaurants. Every process has a system that all employees, or ‘cast members’ as Disney prefer to call them, follow precisely. This means that every visitor has a consistently enjoyable experience and Disney maximises profit.Do you have a system? Would every customer that uses your business have the same experience?
  2. Attentive staff – There were no uninterested and underpaid teenagers, that we have become accustomed to delivering many of our ‘services’. Every staff member appeared to be well motivated and personally interested in ensuring visitors were happy. This is down to the systems but also must be due to comprehensive training. They all understand what their role is and the importance to the business and, consequently, they buy into and feel part of Disney’s success.

    Does your business have a clear organisational structure and roles index? Could some extra training make a huge difference?

  3. Mass appeal – You may think it is mainly aimed at children but there were visitors of all ages having fun. Disney appeals to nearly everyone and this is not by luck or chance. Every part of the park has been designed down to the minutest of details to ensure no one gets bored.

    You probably have an ‘ideal customer’, which is fine, but potentially there is a much larger market out there which could be attracted to your business if you make a couple of small changes.

  4. Innovation and tradition – Disney have managed to maintain the right mix of innovation and tradition. You can now download an app to see ride queue times and to organise your day. The photographers can send the photos directly to your smartphone within seconds of scanning your entry pass. At the same time, many of the timeless traditions have been kept.

    What could you do that competitors aren’t to give customers a better experience? Is there anything that you previously scrapped which could be brought back to generate some nostalgia and re-ignite interest?

  5. End as you begin – The evening at Magic Kingdom ends with a parade and huge firework display. This takes place every night, runs like clockwork and leaves visitors wanting more. Many businesses are great at attracting new customers but once they are in the door, the service doesn’t live up to what they were promised. It is easier to sell to existing customers than to have to find new ones so it is important to pay attention to every part of your process from beginning to end.

    Take a step back and assess your business as if you were a customer to identify the areas to focus on.


Needless to say, there are probably at least another thousand things that Disney are doing every day to contribute towards their success but if your business can start by adopting a few of these, expect to see noticeable improvements.

I’ll finish this article with a quote from the main man himself:

Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again, and bring their friends


If you need some further advice to help you ‘do what you do even better’, give us a call.