Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Top Four Things Walt Disney Got Right

Guide4WDW.com
The Top Four Things Walt Disney Got Right 
by: guide4wdw - Collin
twitter: @guide4disney 
instagram: @guide4disney

Walt Disney in many ways was one of a kind. While that seems to be a loose definition of a man that ended up creating quite literally a world of entertainment in one way or another, it really is the best way to describe the visionary that Walt Disney truly was. He created a place that people flock to and return to in a way that no other company has quite figured out. He wasn't a millionaire investors, he wasn't a corporate icon, and he truly was no different then any of us. He was simply a man with a dream. Fortunately though, he took his inspirations and made something of them that very few have the confidence to attempt on their own and it ended up creating an icon in modern society and a series of vacation destinations that we all have grown to love. Sure, Walt didn't get everything right. After all, he was human, just like each and everyone one of us, but he did get certain things right along the way that truly helped develop his goals and dreams into what we have experienced for generations. So, here’s my list of the top 5 things Walt Disney truly got “right”. Don’t worry, they are in no particular order and this is definitely not an all inclusive list, but rather just what stood out in my mind. (photo: imagineeringdisney.com)

1.He Wasn't Afraid to take Risks
-In today’s society everyone is afraid to take a risk and do something out of the ordinary, but in all reality people have been avoiding risks for generations. Fortunately, Walt Disney saw the intrigue in taking a risk and trying something that had never been done before. Only Walt Disney could take a drawing of a mouse named Mortimer (later to become Mickey at the suggestion of Lillian Disney) and dream up a series of events that lead to Disneyland and later the other Disney parks. It’s truly amazing to see what it has become today, what that mouse has developed into, and to look back and to think, what if he just threw that drawing away? Everything we know about Disney would just be gone, but Walt took that idea and without knowing what we know he took the chance with the very little money he had and slowly but surely followed his creativity and created things that revolutionized an industry. 
Sure, it wasn't always good, and it certainly wasn't always a profitable endeavor, but it was something he loved doing and when you do something you love, like minded people star to pay attention. He kept moving, kept imagining, and never thought twice about trying something new and we all know what the end result has become today. However, as Walt always said, we can never forget that it all started with a mouse. (photo: dailymail.co.uk)    

2. It Was All In the Details
-Walt was a rare individual. He would come up with an idea, then later improve that idea as he went along or even take the same idea and move it a step further. For example, Walt Disney had an incredible interest in steam trains. Many say that hobby which later became a border line obsession developed from the summer he spent working on the train near the Disney family farm in Marceline, Missouri. As a kid he loved railroads, but later in life Walt decided to create his own railroad in his very own backyard. 

Today, we know that railroad as the Carolwood Pacific. The railroad was grand in scale, but not quite the full scale operation found in each of the Disney parks today. Rather, it was a small scale, yet still ride-able railroad based out of his own backyard. However, during the creation of the Carolwood railroad, Walt met a particular issue with one of his ideas. Originally, he had developed plans for a path through his wife’s flower beds. That plan was quickly vetoed by Lillian (Walt’s Wife) and the creative genius got a chance to exercise his greatest skill, his imagination. Walt came up with an idea to create a tunnel, but a tunnel alone wasn't enough. The tunnel, he decided had to be created in such a way that you could not see the glow of the exit from the entrance. While that seemed like a problem, Walt developed a “S” shaped tunnel to solve the issue. As you can imagine, it was no simple task, but a detail that made all the difference in the end.

As you can see, Walt had an eye for the extraordinary. He somehow knew that the details were what set his creations apart. No matter what the task, there always had to be something special about the result. Thankfully, that mindset carries over into the parks that we experience today. Nothing at Disney is simple, but it’s everything that isn't simple that makes it so special. You can go anywhere and ride a rollercoaster but no where but Disney has peanuts specifically built into the pavement that are not only allergy friendly, but incredibly realistic at the same time. It truly is the simplest of details that make the greatest of differences. (photo: wikipedia.com)              

3. It Was All About Family From the Beginning
-Walt Disney created a concept that no one had thought of before. He didn't create a park for adults or a park for kids. He created a park where parents and kids could have fun together. Before Disney there was nothing quite like that. Amusement parks were old and dirty or just not worth spending the time in that so many have spent in the Disney parks over the years. Walt had experience for himself what it was like to be a parent at a park and he had seen what it was like for kids as well. 

As many of you may know, Walt Disney was a regular at Griffith Park as his daughters were growing up. On his days away from the studio he would gather his kids and head to the park just to do something with his family and while that seems simple, the simplest of decisions can lead to the most wonderful realizations later on. Sitting in that park Walt realized that he could create something better, but not only for his own family, but for families across the nation. On that very day, the ideas for Disneyland were began. while maybe not in reality, but that had to be the end result in the entrepreneurial mind of Walt Disney.
“We believed in our idea - a family park where parents and children could have fun- together.” -Walt Disney 

Wouldn’t it have been great to be a “fly on the wall” when Walt returned home that day? To have the opportunity to hear the conversation he must have had with his wife Lillian. To be able to see that excitement that must have been planted from that simple idea that later developed into something so incredible that it’s quite literally traveled the world. However, at the same time he never lost that original vision of a place that kids and adults could have fun together.    

4. It Wasn't About the Money
-In my opinion this was the key to Walt’s incredible amount of success. Out of everything you read and all the interviews you hear from those who worked with Walt, you rarely here any mention of what things cost. Price and revenue were never the driving factors behind any of Walt’s creations. It made no difference what it was going to cost to develop his ideas. Innovation was what was important. He knew that if he built something so amazing that the entire country wanted to see it, it wouldn't matter what the cost was to build it because it would return in the future. Of course, Disney faced obstacles as far as budgets are concerned but that always took a back seat to innovation. Today, you can tell that is no longer the case most of the time. Everything is a carefully calculated risk to appease shareholders and guarantee return on investment. While those precautions are necessary, the art of innovation and creativity often gets lost in the realities of what something is going to cost to achieve. 

Disney today is still one one the greatest centers for creativity in the world but its interesting to imagine what could be created by the incredible staff of Imagineers if budget was no longer the main concern. Can you imagine what could be created?
“Disneyland is a work of love. We didn't go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.” -Walt Disney

Walt created a vision then later found a way to make that vision a reality. It was never about the profits they could squeeze out of people or a new price increase every year, but rather a place that just attempted to achieve the simple goal of creating happiness in each and every guest. Disney was designed to be a place where guests could leave the world behind and enjoy the simple pleasure of being amazed by something new and different. That was what it was all about and in my opinion, that is the greatest aspect of Disney that Walt Disney inevitably got right! 

Thanks for reading and if you liked the article be sure to share it on social media and let us know your thoughts down in the comments! 
Don't forget to check out the Momentum Workshop Weekend. Just click the image for more information on the unique event hosted by Lou Mongello of WDWradio! 


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