The Disney Experience: A Reflection

In our society, Disney is coined as “the most magical place on Earth.” Though some may debate the validity of this claim, few would argue the alternative; that their workplace is the most magical place on Earth. Perhaps this contest is a tall order for employers considering it is work and not a journey through the land of Once Upon a Time. 

For some people, a trip to Disney World can feel like more work than a person does at their job. Imagine planning a trip to Disney– paying thousands of dollars, traveling for hours, walking through the big, beautiful gates at the front of the park– only to be met with a line three miles long for every ride. Suddenly meeting Mickey and Minnie becomes lackluster after waiting for an hour and a half in the 95-degree heat for that 5-second picture. Oh, and the famous “It’s a Small World” ride becomes less nostalgic when it is the only attraction you’re able to get to before it’s time for lunch. This is the point where maybe you’re wondering if it was even worth the money– or that you should have gone to Universal. 

The Disney World experience just described could be compared to what many people experience in their workplace. They get the job and on their first day, get smacked in the face with challenges and frustrations as their high expectations are dashed. Perhaps they find they have no support, the procedures are unclear, or the culture is underdeveloped. Anxiety begins to form worse than just before the drop on The Tower of Terror ride. Like in the Disney experience described above, maybe that new employee is wondering if it is even worth it or possibly even that they should have accepted the other job. As there are often two kinds of experiences at Disney World, so too can be the views of work environment and culture for an employee.  

On the other hand, there’s a completely different kind of experience at Disney for those who are lucky enough to experience a VIP Tour like the annual trip that Zapata offers. One where the stress is eliminated, and the excitement is amplified. Where there is no waiting, or confusion, or getting lost. Where Disney provides a tour guide to show the way and provide any and all information you need right in the moment. Imagine hundreds of Ursula’s ‘poor unfortunate souls’ waiting in line for the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride, but not you! Following your guide, you pass them all by with a little sympathy for them, but mostly anticipatory glee. 

This is the example that Zapata applies to our workplace—a place where you feel supported and cared for. Where you don’t ever have to suffer through being lost or unsure. Where you are valued and treated like a VIP every single day. Where you have not one guide, but many to help you grow, develop, and push you toward your potential. A place where no one wonders if it’s worth it or if they should have accepted a different job. Workplaces that can take a page from the book of Disney like we do, can thrive and make a difference.