photo of person holding balloons

3 Business Lessons from a Weekend at Disney World

I recently spent a weekend at Walt Disney World. It sucked, and I loved it. It rained a gazillion inches for 48 straight hours. My shoes and socks got soaked twice. I walked 5 miles with squishy, cold, wet feet. My iPhone got water in the charger port, so I couldn’t charge my phone. It sucked. And I loved it. 

It’ll be crowded and hot with long lines and tired feet, but I’m already excited about the next trip. All because of 3 basic business lessons we can all learn from Disney.

1. Moments are powerful.

Standing in the rain at Epcot at 9:00pm, waiting for fireworks to start, Felix tripped and fell. (Felix is the sweet toddler of my fellow Disney College Program Alumni, Daniela and her husband Sean.)

He was rattled and upset, but a nearby Cast Member immediately walked over and offered him a sticker of the Eiffel Tower from the France pavilion. That one little magic moment brought Felix so much joy, and he totally forgot about his big tumble.

2. Kool-Aid is good.

Cast Members are empowered to create magic moments from their very first day. Onboarding is all about “drinking the Kool-Aid“, and while it’s easy to roll our eyes at cliches like that, believing in a little magic actually is a secret sauce. At Disney, drinking the Kool-Aid and sharing it with guests from all over the world is a direct driver of business success. I’ve been a Cast Member, and I’ve been a guest, and the Kool-Aid’s always good. 

3. Bright spots outshine the bruises.

We spent two full days walking a total of 18 miles around three theme parks. It rained the entire time. On back to back days, we had to walk around for hours with wet, squishy feet. And yet, I’d do it again right now. Felix got an Eiffel Tower sticker. My brother was celebrating his 29th birthday and got 97 “happy birthdays!” from Cast Members everywhere we went. My husband got to visit 8 countries and eat dinner at a German biergarten. The bright spots are so bright the other stuff doesn’t even matter. 

The moral of the story is that doing the right thing for your customer or your guest or your service provider or your new hire, etc. creates bright spots and leads to repeat business, word-of-mouth business, and all the good stuff that companies spend lots of marketing dollars on. EPIC moments are powerful. 

How are you creating powerful experiences for others? 


Jillian Miles Massey