The Disney Experience and Your School

Ten years ago, I moved from Michigan to Florida. I went from gloomy, cold days to the sun and warmth.

One of the benefits of living in Florida has been the opportunity to go to Disney World. Since 2005, I have been an annual pass holder. I have now lost count of the number of times I have been to the parks.

I love the Disney experience.

The rides. While the rides don’t create the speed and thrill of the top rollercoasters, every ride at Disney is a total experience. One of my favorite rides is the Rock and Roll Rollercoaster at Hollywood Studios. As you wind your way through the line, you eventually enter the Aerosmith recording studio. From there, you proceed onto the freeway to ride in your own stretch limo in which blast you off at 60 mph. While the ride is over in less than two minutes, the memories are a lifetime.

The grounds. Everywhere you look you will see immaculate grounds and beautiful flowers. The attention to detail is incredible and the setting is picture perfect. I especially like the grounds and themed countries at EPCOT.

The service.  At Disney every visitor is known as a guest, every worker is a cast member and the level of service is top-notch. You can stop a worker sweeping the ground to ask them to take your picture. And, when you are there you will likely have a magical day!

The joy. The tagline for the Disney experience is “Where dreams come true.” While your dream may not actually come true, I am amazed at the joy on the faces of my two boys every time we go. This is the main reason we, along with countless families from around the world, go to Disney World time and time again.

I believe that schools can learn some important lessons from the Disney experience.

Think about your educational experience. What is the ride like? What is the experience like from start to finish? Do your families rave about your school after the ride is over at graduation?

Think about your campus. Whether your school is housed in a Church or has your own college-like campus, it is important to consider your grounds. What is the first impression that parents, students and guests see? Is it inviting, well-kept and attractive?

Think about your service. How do you treat your parents, students and guests who venture onto your campus? Is the level of your service extraordinary? Do you treat your families well?

Think about the joy. What is the overall attitude of your parents, students, faculty and staff like? Is there joy on your campus? Do your students like attending your school?

Many people will pay top dollar for a vacation at Disney and there is a reason for it—the experience.

Many parents will pay top dollar for an education for their child at your school and there is a reason for it—the experience.

So think about applying these four areas to your school’s experience—it will make a difference for who pays to send their child to your school.

2 Responses to The Disney Experience and Your School

  1. Palmer Muntz says:

    I think almost all of us can agree that Disney provides a phenomenal experience in every way. Where I think many of us stumble is that it’s hard to envision how we can create a Disney-like environment without the resources of Disney. That idea is a little overwhelming and thus debilitating. The bar is set too high.

    • Palmer, thanks for reading my blog and for your comment. I totally agree that Disney has resources that are far beyond what our schools and universities have access to and that they have set the bar very high for us. However, I believe that there are valuable lessons that we can use in our schools. For example, the cost of a smile or a friendly voice is next to nothing while the impact is great. While we might not be able to do things exactly like Disney, the principles are the same. Take High Point University for example. The leadership has committed their efforts towards making High Point an exceptional experience, and they have succeeded. Donna Cutting illustrates this example throughout her book, The Celebrity Experience. We must rise to the challenge rather than settling for the status quo.

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