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4 magical business lessons from 'the happiest place on Earth'

Learn some practical entrepreneurial lessons from the operations of Disneyland.
By Brandon Turner |



When you think of Disneyland, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Kids? Happiness? Mickey Mouse?


Last week, I spent time vacationing at "the happiest place on Earth," and one key phrase kept popping into my head every time I looked around: business perfection.


You see, Disneyland is not only a place for kids and adults to have fun, eat way too much ice cream, and interact with their favorite cartoon characters. Sure, on the surface that might be all we see, but beneath the surface (both literally and figuratively), Disneyland is an exceptionally well-run business that any entrepreneur could glean valuable information from.


Related: 2 key lessons from Disney that help on Kickstarter and in business

Here are four of the biggest entrepreneurial observations I made while enjoying my trip to the happiest place on earth. I'll also offer some insight into how you can take these ideas and apply them to your business to see huge growth.




1. Perfected systems

Most individuals enjoying their time at Disneyland don’t immediately think of “systems” when they think of Mickey Mouse, but at its core, systems are what make Disneyland so great. Repeatable, documented, tested systems.


For example, while waiting in line for a ride, a man cleaning up garbage stopped in front of us and spent 10 minutes telling jokes and making sure everyone was highly entertained. No matter how nice this individual was, don’t think for a second this was random. Disney has a system that this man was hired to play a role in. Every system at Disney has been perfected and designed to increase customer enjoyment while maximizing profit.


What systems do you have running in your business? Are you continually finding ways to improve those?


Mickey mouse

2. Intelligent pricing

If you’ve ever planned a trip to Disneyland, you know that understanding the pricing structure can be a bit complicated.



Disney knows that different people want different things, so it’s created a pricing structure that allows for maximum profit spread out over the greatest number of people. Some people are bound to buy the cheapest option, but many will pay more—a lot more.


Does your business offer multiple pricing packages? Chances are, a small percentage of your audience would be willing to pay significantly more for your product or service if you offered more value, exclusivity and luxury. 


 Related: 4 'magical' keys to business from my stint at Disney world


3. Mass appeal

One of the most interesting things about Disneyland is its mass appeal to people of all ages. I just turned 30 years old, yet loved every moment of the experience. On this trip, my wife and I traveled with another couple who are in their 40s. We saw people well into their 80s enjoying the experiences. Of course, there are plenty of children as well having the time of their lives.


In other words, Disneyland appeals to nearly everyone, and nearly everyone has a great time while there. Incredible detail has been put into every aspect of the park, so no one is bored while experiencing the sights and sounds of Disney. It's truly a remarkable thing.


Take a look at your business from an outside perspective. Yes, you should have an “ideal customer,” but can those who are not your target demographic still enjoy the time they spend with your company? Find ways to appeal to more people and watch your revenue climb to new heights!




4. End with a bang

Every night, Disneyland concludes the day with a parade and fireworks display that puts to shame any Fourth of July event I’ve ever seen. They literally end with a bang!


Why? Because Disney is intent on making the customer’s experience magical from the moment you first arrive to the moment you leave the park. When people leave, the last thing they experience is just as great as the first. In fact, I believe it's largely that final moment that gets people to book trips year after year after year. The memory ends on a high note, prompting repeat visits.


Don't just focus on the first impression. After all, mediocre businesses focus on the first impression. Great businesses focus on the overall impression.

Take a look at your business and ask yourself: Do I wow the customer at every step of the process? Or do I allocate most of my resources getting them in the door? Remember, it’s far easier and cheaper to hold onto a customer than to acquire a new one, so end every experience a customer has with your business with a bang!



Related: 5 magical tips Walt Disney can teach entrepreneurs about marketing



Copyright 2015 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.
This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been done by the editor.


Photos from Flickr (Andy Castro, Paul Narvaez and Thomas Bunton)

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