Disney is a money making machine.

Disney is a money making machine.

I recently went on a really cool 4 day trip to Disney world in Orlando, Florida. I’m sure I should have been paying attention to the sweet 3D rides and Disney animatronics, but people call me the “Money Man” for a reason. The only thing I could see were $ signs, from the park entrances to the first aid stations. The Disney parks are unique, money-making machines. Everyone that has a side hustle or a small business could learn a TON from the way that these places do business. I’ll be totally honest – I was freaking inspired.

Here are some things that make Disney legit:

1) Killer Customer Service

It doesn’t take more than a few steps into the Magic Kingdom to realize that you are surrounded by the best customer service in the country. EVERY employee was well trained and ready to take care of anything that might go wrong for the park’s heftily paying customer. Can you say the same about other large corporations in this country? (No.) Try finding a super happy Walmart employee during their busiest time of the day. Not happening. Disney puts a premium on the customer experience, and it’s customer service seemed to be at the heart of everything they do.

2) Details

The bathrooms smelled like oranges. All of them. Not sure what chemicals I was inadvertently inhaling, but I appreciated it nonetheless. Also, the floors weren’t sticky. Thanks Walt.

3) Organization and layout

Every park was ridiculously organized. I didn’t know anything about the layout of any park I was walking around in, but I never felt like I was lost. Any time I caught myself wondering where to go next, there was a sign that gave me options. Awesome.

4) Advertising, advertising, advertising $$$$$$$$$$

Disney had it’s advertising game on lockdown. Epcot has a ride called CHEVY TEST TRACK (which was actually pretty cool). The hour long line was a Chevrolet advertisement that even made ME want a new car. Incredible.

I ended up going to Universal Studios on the trip as well. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t quite as cool…but they had a lot of the same advertising strategies that Disney had. (Sponsored rides, subliminal advertising, etc.). Even the first aid station was brought to you by Walgreens!

The biggest thing that I noticed on my trip is that customers are basically paying a ton to walk around and have the mushy part of their brains influenced by big companies. Talk about multiple revenue streams. I thought all of the advertising was cool, but I’m weird about money stuff. Here are some pictures of the advertising I noticed in both parks:

photo 1 photo 3 photo 1 photo-6

5) Convenience (For a little extra dinero)

Disney has rolled out a fast pass option that makes it super easy to punk hundreds of sad people when you pay a little extra. I walked past 500+ fools to get on the Space Mountain roller coaster in Tomorrow Land. I loved every second of their helplessness as I strapped in to the ride a full hour before they did.

Also, if you lose your park ticket, you can easily get it back at guest relations. The employees go out of their way to make it seem awesome that you lost something. I wasn’t the biggest fan of doing a fingerprint scan at the front of every park, but someone has to sell my personal information, right?

6) Creativity

Disney and Universal Studios are huge, money making monsters for a reason. Everything they do is ahead of their time, and always outside of the box. Universal’s Harry Potter areas were surreal – seriously. I don’t even like the movies and I was nerding out about the wizard wands that you can buy. Disney is doing some incredible stuff with their laser shows on the castle at night, as well as their firework show at Epcot.

The cool thing about Disney’s creativity is that it is endless. The last time I had been to the park was almost 9 years ago, and my experience was COMPLETELY different this time around. The rides were updated, the shows were different, and everything in the park seemed fresh. The thing that didn’t change? Brand recognition. Mickey, Minnie and Donald were still rolling around the park like the old days.

I know, I know. Not my usual serious, hard-hitting kind of post that I like to do, but you have to mix it up sometimes :). I’m a big fan of learning from other successful people/organizations, and my trip to Disney was definitely eye-opening from a business perspective.

Also,  hopefully the checks are in the mail from Walgreens, Brawny, Chiquita, and Chevrolet for making you feel the urge to buy paper towels, bananas, and a cell phone from your local pharmacy that you drove to in your new truck.

Advertising is awesome.

 Have you ever been to Disney? What was your favorite thing about the park? Could you apply any of the things I noticed to your side-hustle?? Let’s talk about it in the comment section below.

Live differently, your bank accounts will thank me later.

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6 comments… add one
  • Chenell Apr 3, 2015, 11:58 am

    When I first saw the title of this I was thinking, he’s totally going to mention the $10 ice cream and $8 sodas. haha, but you took it another direction, one that I really enjoyed. They definitely pull in multiple streams of income, and it makes you realize they have been doing what all of us tiny bloggers have been harping on for a long time now. Awesome post, Bobby!

    • Millennial Money Man Apr 3, 2015, 12:27 pm

      Ha! Yeah I guess I could have talked about that, but I figured everyone knows that the place is expensive. I could see it being several thousand dollars to take a family of 4 there from out of state.

      Glad you liked it!

  • Master Nerd Apr 16, 2015, 8:08 pm

    Haha, I totally noticed the same thing, both in California and Florida. The advertising is a good thing for the thrifty traveller though, because it keeps ticket prices slightly less crazy than they could be. In some ways I think the ticket prices are actually not a bad value, if you consider the immense size and complexity of everything! Don’t get me wrong, they still pull in a handsome profit, but I think a lot of that comes from optional expenses (food, souvenirs, etc.) rather than admissions.

    I admire Disney and their business practices. Their attention to detail and gold star customer service truly makes all the difference. I mean what other company has a full time dedicated staff for making sure the gold-leaf on the carousal is always perfect? They also have full time painting and gardening crews (among many others I’m sure) that meticulously repair/replace anything that gets damaged every night after the parks close. It’s an incredible operation! I’ve always felt there’s a little magic in the air as soon as you walk through the gates. It’s too expensive to justify going on a regular basis (especially from Canada), but if the opportunity comes up, I’d happily go again.

    • Millennial Money Man Apr 16, 2015, 8:28 pm

      Food was unbelievably expensive!! Seemed like almost $20 per meal. Attention to detail really got me though. The amount of organization and leadership it takes to make that place a well oiled machine must be insane. I’ll definitely go back as soon as I can.

  • Leah Bell May 19, 2015, 8:55 am

    We went there on our honeymoon. We spent a lot of money but you get what you pay for. It was perfection. I also love that they didn’t frown upon a 25-year old chasing Stitch around to get a picture. You don’t get that just anywhere.

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