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Archive for Disney

Jan
18

Disney Dynamics 5

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We spent our first day at Disney in its most storied and celebrated park: The Magic Kingdom. There we were able to see Disney at its best. We rode the classic rides, the most famous of which toured us through the seven continents where we heard dolls sing “It’s a Small World After All” in several languages. This was just a taste of what we would learn to be one of Disney’s most significant values…Think Globally!

Disney has made the world its platform, opening parks in places like Europe and Asia. But Disney has not just taken their brand to the world, the world has come “home” to Disney here in the USA. I didn’t keep official statistics, but I felt continually surrounded by tourists from foreign countries. I stood in a concession line with newlyweds from Wales. We rode a ride with a family from France. I had my picture taken with a family from Brazil celebrating a wedding anniversary. (That’s another story!) Between the attractions and the guests, I was reminded that I live in a small world that has shrunk even beyond the imagination of Walt himself.

If you haven’t noticed, our nation is changing. Rainer Research is predicting that our nation will turn caucasian minority by 2042. The preschool population of America will turn caucasian minority by 2021. Those events will presumably happen in our lifetime.

Jesus’ first post-resurrection challenge to his disciples was to take the news of his resurrection and think globally. Believers have maintained that challenge through our commitment to missions for nearly two thousand years. What makes today interesting is that we no longer have to think globally in strictly geographical terms. Technology and travel have shrunk the world and brought the world to our doorstep. Walt may not have forseen this, but Jesus did. Now, more than ever, we have to think globally. The world is coming “home.”
Jan
13

Disney Dynamics 4

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What do you think of when you hear the word “classic?” As a guy in his mid forties I tend to think of classic automobiles, such as the ’57 Chevy or the ’65 Ford Mustang. One of the more intriguing things about Disney World was its ability to retain all that is classic without becoming a historical land mark.

As a Baptist, I think there is great value in our tradition. The early church, after all, was rooted in the tradition of Old Testament Judaism. Those first and second generation believers retained important traditions that contributed to how they would worship, fellowship, and even govern themselves. At the same time they abandoned the practices that were no longer appropriate or feasible.

I think churches and individual Christians periodically need to evaluate matters of faith and practice with this illuminating question: Are we cherishing time honored traditions? Or are we merely perpetuating history?

Believe it or not, I am not against tradition. We all have them. As I reflect on how my family recently celebrated the Christmas holiday reveals that tradition is both helpful and healthy. However, we can quickly lose sight of the value of tradition when our lives, our families, and even our faith is reduced to perpetuating history. If all we do is perpetuate history, nothing meaningful is accomplished and we eventually end up alone wondering why the world has passed us by.

Categories : Church, Disney, Leadership
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Jan
07

Disney Dynamics 3

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Our first day we drove from our resort to Disney. It was a simple drive of about 5 miles. All I had to do was follow the clear directional signs. As we entered Disney from the south we passed underneath an archway bearing the phrase “Welcome to the Happiest Place on Earth.”

I don’t know if Disney is the happiest place on earth, but I’ve got to give them credit for being true to their mission. Every “cast member” was patient, friendly, and accomodating. It felt genuine and authentic, too. Problems were dealt with quickly and without incident. Come to think of it, I didn’t see anyone who was unhappy. Sure, there was the occassional crying toddler, but those instances were too infrequent to even notice. Disney clearly made every possible effort to follow through on their promise to provide a place of smiles and laughter.

Sometimes businesses (and churches for that matter) promise more than they can deliver. As for our congregation, my prayer is that we consistently deliver on what we espouse to be true of ourselves.

Categories : Church, Disney
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Jan
06

Disney Dynamics 2

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I think one of the base concerns for those who travel is the expense involved. Going places will cost money, and going to nice places will cost a lot of money. That being said, I was impressed that Disney didn’t gouge their visitors for every last nickel in their pockets.

Case in point, Disney permits you to bring your own food and beverage into the park. Because we have lived in St. Louis and have family that still live near St. Louis, our family has frequented Six Flags on several occassions. When we visit Six Flags we pack lunch in a cooler, exit the park and “tailgate” on the blistering asphalt. At Disney, however, we didn’t have to worry about smuggling sandwiches and bottled water in to the park. Like most public venues, Disney searches backpacks and drawstring bags. Got a sandwich? Not a problem! Got a bottle of water? No big deal! Packing a light lunch each day was permitted, and for a family of four, this amounted to savings in the neighborhood of $200.

Example two is photography. We happened upon a pavillion where Tigger, Pooh Bear, and Eeyore were available for photo ops with guests. Disney provided a photograher who would take a picture that was available for purchase. But we were also encouraged to use our own cameras as well. No purchase required and the Disney photographer even used our cameras to take pictures for us.

The final example is the Disney policy on the fast pass. At Disney there is no charge for fast passes on attractions (compared to the $70 per person fee at Universal Studios). The only rule is that you can only have one at a time.

These three simple gestures are examples of how to add value to an experience without conveying the feeling that the bottom line is the bottom line. Is Disney a for profit corporation? Absolutely. Do they convey that to their guests? Absolutely not.

I think churches and not for profit organizations can learn much from Disney. Disney doesn’t sell a product, it sells an experience. When we focus on the right things and significant things the money will take care of itself. How you deal with money reveals your true mission and purpose.

Categories : Church, Disney, Leadership
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Jan
05

Disney Dynamics

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Last week my daughter’s high school band performed at Disney World in Orlando. It seemed like a wonderful reason to load up and make the trek. When you take a family trip during peak season you can count on several things such as heavy traffic and elevated prices. What I didn’t count on was some lessons that I learned from my four days in the House of Mouse.

We were very fortunate to be accompanied by a relative who is a Disney Vacation Club member. It was like having a private guide to direct us through our experience. As we walked through the various parks I was amazed at what he was able to teach me about “The Happiest Place on Earth.”

For example, I was immediately impressed by the park’s immaculate condition. According to Wiki Answers, Disney world received 42.8 million visits in 2005. Yet there were no signs of trash, grime, or filth. Not a speck of dust. No graffiti in the rest rooms. No paper cups aimlessly wandering across the walkway. No chipped paint, scuffs, or burned out light bulbs. The park looked brand new.

I learned that every night a massive staff comes in to clean. They power wash the entire park 365 nights a year. From the parking lot to iconic castle, it was obvious that Disney employees take tremendous pride in taking care of every square inch of their property.

You’ve probably heard that consultants are valuable in part because they are able to provide you or your organization with a fresh set of eyes. They are able to see the proverbial cob webs that we tend to overlook and the scratches and dents we somehow have grown accustomed to living with. What do you do when you have 42 million fresh sets of eyes come through your place each year? Better yet, what will you do when you have a couple of families visit your church with their fresh sets of eyes this weekend?

Categories : Church, Disney, Leadership
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