During a tour of Disney World, an executive at British Petroleum stated, “What a pity that Walt Disney did not live to see this place.” Capodagli replied, “But he did see it, that’s why it’s here” (Capodagli, pg. 27). Remember growing up singing along with Ariel, the little mermaid? Or riding on “It’s a Small World” and being tempted to run your fingers through the water? Or believing that you could fly like Peter Pan with a little pixie dust (also known as glitter)? Well, Walt Disney made all of those childhood memories a reality. Therefore, not only was he a wonderful cartoon artist, he was also a very intelligent and successful businessman. The book, The Disney Way, discusses Walt Disney’s business concepts and examples of how other companies have been successful when using the same techniques. The purpose for the book was to share Disney’s successful tactics to future or current businesses. Overall, The Disney Way gave some excellent knowledge on how to be a successful entrepreneur because, it showed that everything starts small and with the correct techniques anything is possible. In the words of Walt himself, “My only hope is that we never lose sight of one thing…that it all started with a mouse” (Capodagli, pg. 1).
“No other company in the…entertainment business has ever achieved the stability, phenomenal growth, and multidirectional expansion of Disney” (Capodagli, pg. 4). Walt accomplished that success because his main concern was to provide the best family entertainment (Capodagli, pg. 5). Disney demanded to remain committed to “honest, reliability, loyalty, and respect for people as individuals” (Capodagli, pg. 6). In other words, he refused to present his customers with a lousy product. Walt also had several other key concepts needed to have a successful business, which included: storytelling, great customer service, teamwork, training, storyboarding, and details. But three of them were the most important. The first key concept was to treat customers extremely well. Walt’s philosophy was to regard “every customer [as] guest in [his] own home” (Capodagli, pg. 37). He also stated to “know [the] guests, treat them honestly, and with respect, and they will keep coming” (Capodagli, pg. 60). The second important technique was training. Walt considered “training an essential investment in the future of his company” (Capodagli, pg. 132). When skills were “reinforced with coaching, practice, and recognition, they become habits” (Capodagli, pg. 137). The habits then lead to gradual improvements within the company because, employees become accustom to always pleasing the customers they view everything as part of their job rather than going out of their way for a consumer (Capodagli, pg. 137). The third key concept was details. Disney was quite the perfectionist (Capodagli, pg. 10). The Disney Company believed that “details give the big picture depth” (Capodagli, pg. 181). As a result, since Disney was a perfectionist especially with details, he continually strived to enhance the quality of his product (Capodagli, pg. 183). He achieved that because he understood that the entire “package – colors, sounds, smells – had an impact on how quests received the show” (Capodagli, pg. 184). Therefore, because Walt Disney constantly focused on customer service, training, and details, the success of his business continued to grow.
The Disney Way was an interesting book because it showed how simple it could be to have a successful business by giving profitable strategies of the Disney Company. The possibilities that both the book and Walt Disney himself constantly taught was that all dreams can come true. Disney always said “Dream, Believe, Dare, Do” (Capodagli, pg. 1). Although the book was quite helpful, some points were not so convincing. Sometimes the book made a concept seem too easy. For example, the authors often stated that all of the employees portrayed the values and beliefs of the company without explaining how difficult that training would be to achieve those results. Another issue was that the book gave too many examples of different companies. The book was about Disney, but they gave several examples in every chapter about different companies, which took away from the purpose. The authors should have gave more instances on what Disney did, that way the reader would be more focused on the overall concept about Disney’s strategies. Also, the examples given were difficult to relate to my future company since the businesses discussed were multi-billion dollar companies, and my photography studio will never get that large. The last unhelpful topic was chapter six of the book, because it talked solely about partnerships and I do not plan to have one. But with the book, the knowledge that I gained from it was more positive than negative.
I personally experienced exactly what the Disney concept displayed by attending a casino last year. My friend and I went to Four Winds Casion, the new casino located in New Buffalo, Michigan, and used the free valet parking. While gambling, employees constantly asked us if everything was ok and wished us the best of luck. After we were finished on the slot machines, we decided to go to a fancy restaurant within the casino to share a dessert. Several people were serving our table, which they kept cleared and did whatever they could to make sure that we were enjoying ourselves. At the end of the night, we scanned our ticket to retrieve our car. While waiting, a woman approached us and stated that one of our car tires was low and asked if we wanted them to air it up for us. We accepted the offer. A few minutes after waiting by the soothing fireplace, a security man approached us and regrettable stated that the air compressor had died. But immediately offered two options, he said he would either replace the tire with a spare or he would gladly follow us to the nearest gas station to fill the tire there. The moral of the story was that the entire time that we were at the casino, every employee made sure that we were having a wonderful experience and they especially did not want a flat tire to ruin our night, which is exactly what Disney was trying to illustrate. Even though I do not plan to gamble very often, but when I do I am quite confident that I would love to attend that casino again because of their customer service. Therefore, The Disney Way not only showed me how to create a thriving business, but it also taught me to appreciate wonderful customer service and how important it truly is. A key concept about Disney’s success was that he was always sure of himself, his ideas, and his employees (Capodagli, pg. 119) and he gave everything to both his product and his customer.
The Disney Way. Capodagli, Bill and Jackson, Lynn. McGraw-Hill, 1999, 204.