A major reason for this trip was to inspire ideas for Manchester. How can a small liberal arts university in rural Indiana learn from the happiest place on earth? Well, there’s a lot of ways.
One example is a certain code in Disney parks. Staff are cast members. When they are interacting with guests, they are “onstage” and when they are working behind the hustle and bustle of what the guests usually see, they are “offstage.” It not only maintains the idea that Disney is selling an experience, but it also makes conveying a message to your coworker or higher up seamless. Everyone is on the same page.
Disney also places a huge emphasis on user experience. They test and experiment and try and sometimes fail, but in the end it’s about whether or not the customer is getting what they paid for. Throughout the trip, Marcie compared this to a study she’s been working on, asking professors what they think students need from a college, and asking students what they think they need. The ideal state is somewhere in the middle, combining years of real-world experience with desires from the “customers” those professors serve.
We had our last day in Disney, meeting with Jamal Taylor of the Youth Education Services (YES) program, who gave us some insight into how he climbed his way up from food service as a young man. Food service helped him get to know the right people, from celebrities to those higher up the corporate ladder, because everyone needs to eat.
Jamal also talked about the importance of finding a mentor — someone who will tell you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear. And on that note, I’d like to thank my at-work video and photo mentor, Dan Chudzynski, helping to set this trip up. Thanks to Scott Ochander for setting some of the wheels in motion and, of course, Marcie and Rusty for being so accommodating and welcoming this whole week. Last but not least, the students. A great group that are naturals in front of the camera. I’m pleased to say I think I have 17 new friends on campus.