Take a long, close look at Disney World and you will realize that this place is not just fun, it is smart. After all, there are plenty of theme parks to choose from these days. Disney World is not just adding rides and simple attractions like all the others. Its adding productions: plays, musicals, circus acts, and more. But why expand into performing arts? Surely it must be much more expensive to hire hundreds of talented professionals to run the productions than to hire operators to run the rides. The answer lies in not just the magic of Disney, but the magic of a brilliant company vision.
As an outsider looking in, I uncovered 5 key reasons for Disney World’s success.
1) They capitalize on their competitive edge. Consider the ever-popular Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, and many other Disney characters. Only Disney has the unique ability to play off its successful stories and characters. By making a musical from a successful movie, visitors are eager to see their favorite characters come to life.
2) They emphasize growth and opportunities to their employees. How does Disney manage to hire thousands of cheery people? Many businesses can’t find anyone to fill their spots, let alone those who walk around with customer service as their first priority. It’s simple, they offer their employees the opportunity to be Cast Members, not just employees. They encourage them to grow with the company and to expand their skills. Those who start out as actresses and musicians playing the role of a princess may launch their career to be the next Jessica Simpson or Britney Spears (well, maybe we don’t want to be Britney this week). In short, they give their employees opportunities.
3) Disney World offers a truly unique customer experience. The Disney experience is one that can’t be replicated anywhere else. The “rides” are not just rides, they are experiences. With live people, leading you along, you feel like you are in the middle of a musical, an adventure, a show. Sure, you could pay less and go to another theme park, but the magic would not be the same.
4) Their merchandising strategy grows with the company. Disney already has expanded its amount of successful movies. They know the formula of what works, and manage to pull it off again and again. With a slightly different script based on movie, they can extend their merchandising to sell more DVDs, toys, shirts, etc.
5) The company is positioned to launch into more entertainment deals. Let’s face it, we all have favorable memories of Disney stories, whether they be from books, movies, or songs. With a lifetime of warm, fuzzy feelings about Disney, we are open to find out what more they have for us, whether that be additional stories for our kids or movies and music for an older crowd. As they make additional entertainment deals and products, their loyal customers look forward to the results.
So it seems the magic of Disney is not just in the characters, it is in the company vision. A strong corporate vision is behind all of these successes, from recruiting to marketing, to merchandising.