How Walt Disney Built the Happiest Place on Earth

disney-castle2

Back in the early fifties, when he was trying to build a park like no other, Walt Disney needed to raise some dough.

Disneyland was going to cost him $17 million to build. That’s equal to around $165 million today.

Walt and his company had done pretty well. But not THAT well so…

…he launched a television show.

Walt Disney’s Disneyland premiered in 1954 as a weekly show on ABC. That started a 36-year run of weekly network television shows for Walt’s company.

The names changed over the years. But the strategy was the same: Promote all things Disney AND make some money doing it.

Brilliant.

I loved The Wonderful World of Disney when I was a kid. But those mid-50s shows aired before I was around.

I can watch some of the old shows now, though — on-demand on Disney+.

On July 13, 1954, four days before they opened the park, the show featured “The Pre-Opening Report from Disneyland.”

Walt and his team tell how they created the park — from unformed ideas, to preliminary drawings, to models, to full-scale test rides.

Walt Disney TV Guide Ad

I’ve watched that episode on Disney+ four times, beginning to end.

I learn something new every time.

I’m not interested in this for Disney trivia (although there’s plenty of that). I’m talking about business lessons.

My favorite part:

They’re describing the engineering and design challenges they faced when building some of Disneyland’s natural features.

A raging river. Mountains.

The narrator says, “Some of the questions we had to answer sounded like those a four-year-old might ask his father. ‘How do you keep a river from running away? How do you make a rock?’ And like the parent of a four-year-old, there were a lot of answers we didn’t know.”

And here comes the kicker…

The narrator said:

“But in most cases,
you find the answers to things
by just doing them.
That’s the way we found out.” 

Disneyland’s tagline: The Happiest Place on Earth.

We think of Disney as so polished. So perfect.

But Walt Disney didn’t just drop some fairy dust on Anaheim, California and conjure up that polished, perfect, happiest place.

He built it — from the ground up.

Just like you have to build your business.

Ask questions. Acknowledge there are many things you don’t know. And find the answers to things by just doing them.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when facing big questions. It’s easy to shut down when you don’t know the answers. It’s easy to get stuck if you expect polish and perfection from the start.

You don’t have all the answers.

That’s not a reason to stop.

That’s a reason to keep going. Keep doing. Find out what it takes. Build it.

You can polish it later.

p.s. I help coaches, consultants, and business leaders discover and deliver powerful stories that captivate prospects and inspire them to act. Whenever you're ready, here are several ways I can help you become a storytelling stand-out so you'll land more clients without pitching and prodding:

1) Connect with me on LinkedIn and Facebook and (if not subscribed already) join our email list.

2) Watch the free, 7-minute Micro-Training: “The 3 Most Important Storytelling Keys to Captivate Prospects and Inspire Them to Act -- Without Pitching and Prodding.”

3) Become a Story Power VIP in the Content Transformation Academy: Master how to discover, assemble, and deliver business-building stories. Weekly masterclasses. Members-only content. One-on-one feedback and consulting sessions. And more… If you'd like to learn more about our VIP program, just reply to this email and put "Story Power VIP" in the subject line. I’ll contact you with more details.

4) Work with me one-on-one: If you’re interested in working directly with me -- to discover, assemble, and deliver powerful, business-building stories -- simply reply to this email and change the subject line to "Private Client." Tell me a little about yourself, your business, and what you'd like to accomplish, and I'll reply to discuss options.

5) Invite me to speak at an event: I can tailor a presentation that meets the specific needs of your organization. Informative. Entertaining. Virtual or live. Potential for continuing education credits when applicable for your group. If interested, reply to this email and change the subject line to “Speaking Engagement.” I’ll circle back to discuss the possibilities.

Want to get great content like this...

...delivered straight to your inbox?

Join our email list...

Hidden
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Post Categories

Previous Post

Next Post

Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.