Paul's Blog

Paul's Blog July 23, 2018 "It’s kind of fun to do the impossible" Walt Disney

Greetings from Orlando, Florida, the venue for the NASPL Professional Development Seminar.  Got here yesterday and went straight to Disney's Animal Kingdom and tried to imagine the presentation that Walt Disney may have made to his board of directors to launch Walt Disney World Resort.

Uncle Walt: Been working on an idea.  Let’s create the most mind-blowing consumer entertainment experience ever.  First, we buy 40 square miles (105 sq kilometers) of swampland that is 75 miles from any measurable population center.  Turn this uninhabitable land into the happiest place on earth where laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.  WaddaYaThink???

Well, could you be more specific?

Uncle Walt: Like Disneyland only 3X bigger. 

Yeah but Disneyland is in Los Angeles.  How will people even get to this place in the middle of nowhere?

Uncle Walt: They’ll build an airport.

Who will build an airport?

Uncle Walt: Hey, look.  You’re getting bogged down in details and ruining the whole vibe here.      

Okay, Walt.  Well, how much will this project cost?

Uncle Walt: That’s hard to say really.  Untold billions.  Let me put it this way – this project is about a creative vision focused on the UX and it can’t be held accountable to budgets, auditors and your silly ROI indices.   There’s only one measure of ROI that matters and that is whether it enhances the UX. First, we do not know the cost of turning this swampland into a conglomerate of massive theme parks with buildings, roads, and electricity.  Second, while the vision can be sequenced into a series of phases, the whole concept depends on scaling up as big and as fast as possible.  After all, we are expecting our guests to spend no small amount of time and money to travel great distances to come to Disney World. 

Oh, so we’re calling this Disney World?  Kinda always about you, isn’t it, Walt?

Uncle Walt: I won’t even dignify that.  Focus, guys.  This is not just about another theme park.  This is about forging an enlightened view of the world, for combining capitalism and values that represent all the best of humanity.  We’ll bring the entire world together, immersing our guests in an experience that not only entertains, it inspires us to embrace global values like sustainability and preservation of wildlife and respect for the diversity of cultures. 

Gee that’s great, Walt.  Can you give us any data, any evidence, any sound business justification for investing billions in this project to save the world?

Uncle Walt: Really? Are you kidding me?  That’s your response after what I just told you?  Nothing even remotely like this has ever been attempted. There is no set of best-practices to model which, by definition, means that nobody else has a competitive product to offer.  We’ll have a monopoly on the best consumer experience in the world.  That’s all the evidence-based justification we need.   

Post-script:  The most mind-blowing consumer entertainment experience ever.  The scale is unimaginable.  It is a miracle of augmented reality for the way it integrates the real and the fabricated make-believe.  But from a business POV, it’s even much more than that.  First, you notice that thousands of people are being moved from one event to another with hardly ever waiting in line.  Then how countless little details are performed to perfection. Then how this totally uncompromising focus on optimizing the consumer experience has produced the most advanced object-lesson in logistics, project management, HR and training of 74,000 “cast members” (their term for employees who are all dedicated to putting on a fabulous show),  and doing whatever can possibly be done to please the guest.    As Uncle Walt says <<If you can dream it, you can do it.  And when you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably.>>

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