What I Learned at Disneyland – Transporting People to a Happier Place Mentally and Emotionally


My family and I just came back from four days at Disneyland.  Christmas to New Year’s is always the busiest time at the Magic Kingdom. But despite the huge crowds, people were smiling and having fun. We all know that Disney Corp. is a master of integration, with classic cartoon characters, movies, theme parks, hotels, and cruise ships woven together into a seamless spectrum of products and entertainment. We also know that Disneyland is a place where the child in us can come out and run free. I watched a couple from Japan, both in their 30s, with no children in tow, behave like little kids at the sight of Minnie Mouse.

But what I realized is that Disney is not only in the integration business. It’s also in the transportation business. Disney makes people happy by transporting them back to a state of childlike happiness. There’s no other place that does that half as well. Whether singing along with audio-animatronic pirates or getting your photo taken with Eeyore, every moment is designed to transport you back to a happy memory from childhood.

It got me to thinking that every company needs a similar “transportation” strategy – a strategy for transporting people to a happier place mentally and emotionally. That strategy will be driven by a deeply ingrained vision of how you want to make people feel.

So ask yourself: “What is our transportation strategy? How do we want to make people feel?” Whether a bank, a restaurant, or clothing store, every company should have one. If not, your customers will see you as a commodity, and value you accordingly. In these economic times, that’s a risk you can hardly afford to take.

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