Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Team Hollywood Studios!!

What's smart, kind, intelligent, patient, brilliant, and suuuuuper cool???

Uuuuh....Team Hollywood Studios!! Duh?!?!?

One thing I can say is that I learned a whole heck of a lot of stuff from my team members.  From communication skills to servant leadership to learning how to organize a pretty good set of surveys to ask customers. 

I learned how to listen first, then respond in a way that benefits both the team and the overall objective. I learned how to quiet my ego so that our goal is accomplished and the team is what is successful, not just me or the ideas that I  wanted. I learned how that at times I would have to follow and at other times I would have to lead. It was always about focusing on the goal and keeping in mind the bigger picture.

Finally I really learned what it meant to be a supportive friend and colleague in tough and stressful times. The extent to which each of us felt exasperation, confusion and a bit perplexed seemed to happen more often than we would prefer. We prevailed though. Through support and patience and playing to each of our strengths which ultimately supported to whole final presentation effort. I honestly could not have been with a more Rockin Rollercoaster crew! 


Creative Discontent

I really liked the idea of creative discontent.  There is something to be said about people that have the humility to recognize that they, too, have room to grow.  Only after recognizing our shortcomings can we initiate change.  We can accomplish great things and pretty much anything we set our mind to by fostering our creativity and seeking excellence in everything we do.

I see creative discontent as a good thing because it forces us to continually assess how we do things and figure out new ways to make them better.  That’s where the creative component comes in; it encourages us to constantly innovate and to never settle for mediocrity.


Poto's Recap of Team Magic Kingdom (MK).

I learned a tremendous amount from Team Magic Kingdom this past week. Our group had a very robust and eclectic amount of work experience that was extremely beneficial to the overall team dynamic. With the different career backgrounds among our team, I was able to gain valuable insight about social media tools that can be used to analyze different channels and mediums. The two tools that I was most excited about were hoot suite and social mention. I am very excited to apply these platforms to my future work experience in the sports industry.
 One of our strongest attributes as a team was organization and time management. In order to work towards a shared vision, we first decided that organizing our work schedule and setting deadlines was one of the most fundamental aspects in order for us to achieve success. The theme parks and various attractions around Disney World are an obvious distraction and if we hadn’t broken down our daily agenda, we probably would have not seen as much success with our project.
To Adi, Mel, Amy, Helen and Cecily- I had such a great time collaborating with you all. The work ethic that everyone brought to the table was impeccable. I really have never seen anything quite like it, and I was truly honored to be a part of such a hardworking group of ladies.
As we have learned in our course readings and the YES workshops, the ability to listen to each other, provide feedback, and value each member’s role in the group are just a few ingredients to the recipe of success. Thank you to my MK teammates for fulfilling all three of these steps. Below I have shared a link, which will walk you through our Disney experience and a few of the fun highlights Team MK encountered during our journey together. 

Team MK facilitating a Q&A session after our presentation

Team MK in front of the castle at Magic Kingdom 

We Arrived as a Group; We Left as a Team

In the final preparations for our  presentation for Stuart and Disney leadership, our group spent countless hours together. Delirium was achieved, the giggles were caught numerous times; at some point I even ended up with 2 laptops trying to do only God knows what.

Originally, parts of the project were delegated, and it was our intention to put everyone's piece into a presentation and call it a night. Yet as we started to enter the presentation in, everyone became interested and invested in all of the parts of the presentation. We were feverishly proofreading each other's parts, helping when someone else got stuck articulating their findings, and asking each other for suggestions to make individual sections succinct. As tired as we all were, each of us wanted to everyone to feel good about their parts and vice versa. This "phenomenon" of sorts (and I call it that because it just happened naturally without discussion or conscious awareness) ties back to the first blog I wrote, when James mentioned a critical characteristic of a high-functioning team... There is an element of care that transcends personal glory or recognition. I truly felt this with my team, and only hope that I can experience this feeling when I'm working to achieve a goal with others. - LT

One small step for mankind, one giant leap for Disney

The technical innovations happening at Disney World right now are nothing short of transformational. Our team joked it’s “a whole new world”, but it truly is. Hearing that the FastPass system evolved primarily as a way to increase operational efficiency explained so much to me. When I visited Disney World over 10 years ago, I remember standing in line to get in the park and for what seemed like ages to get on rides. The best enhancement at the time was misting fans to help with the Florida heat. Cut to today, I experienced no more than a 1-2 minute wait to get in any of the parks at various times of the day, and when I stood in line for rides, I knew what I was getting into as a standby guest.

The Team Experience

While I found the group project/presentation considering the time allotted very challenging as well as rewarding.  First, I met an amazing group of people, which is not just limited to Team Hollywood.  All of my classmates were awesome as well as Stuart and Sharon.  Our time at Disney was filled with sleepless nights, but gratifying results.  As it pertains directly to Team Hollywood, we worked well together utilizing our individual strengths, while challenging ourselves in areas we are not as comfortable to accomplish a common goal.  That is the definition of vision and teamwork.  We discussed all of the elements it takes to access the customer experience
I really enjoyed working with my team, the entire class and Stuart and Sharon.  Thank you!

- Marc


Our two amazing Bretts (1.0 and 2.0) exhibited incredible leadership skills throughout this entire process and I could not be more grateful for everything I have learned from them and the rest our amazing team.

I was fairly impressed at how Brett (1.0) exhibited robust leadership skills by keeping us focused and motivated the whole time we worked on our group presentation.  During this past week time was of the essence, stress levels were high, but Brett kept his cool and gave us a sense of reassurance.  He developed a process, communicated expectations clearly and succinctly, and instilled a positive energy by cracking jokes and encouraging hard work and collaboration, but also building in a little fun and bonding time.  

Likewise, during an exercise at one of the workshops Brett 2.0 pushed the envelope by combining two great ideas into one and inspiring us to work together to integrate them seamlessly and somehow make them work. He also acknowledged the work that everyone put into coming up with great solutions and commended the team for our efforts.  Once we had figured out a solution that was feasible, he surprised us with additional resources that we did not consider.  The limited resources we were working with originally forced us to be more creative and come up with solutions that would fall within our constraints.  It is truly remarkable what we can accomplish with the support of great leaders!


Magical Magic Kingdom Team

I can’t believe I just met the Magic Kingdom gals a week ago. Standing in line at Space Mountain this morning, I was reflecting on our first definition for “team” during Day 2’s workshop as a “group of individuals working together to achieve a common objective” that James pointed out could apply to the folks I was standing next to in line. What changed during the course of the past week that transformed Team Magic Kingdom from simply a group of GWU students working together to complete the course to the high performing team that I’ve so enjoyed being part of and am so sad to leave behind? 

Putting the fun in fundamentals

I should have known better than to expect a typical corporate training workshop from Disney. Through the YES program and our team projects, we not only learned Disney’s team-building process and principles, we lived it. In the end, I got so much more out of the experience. The dedication, talent, positivity and respectfulness of fellow teammates elevated the lessons to a whole different level, and I’m so grateful to you all. I learned as much from each of you as I did from the program itself and am happy to have a wonderful bunch of new friends.

The Disney Culture of Teamwork

The take away from our Disney workshops that resonated most with me is the concept of innovation through collaboration.  It is very interesting to me that we loss Walt Disney in 1966 and his vision is still being employed today.  Disney is ever evolving, but their culture’s foundation remains consistent.  “Whatever we accomplish belongs to our entire group, a tribute to our combined effort.”  “Togetherness. For me means teamwork.”  These two quotes from Walt Disney embody what is great about Disney.  Teamwork is integral to the success of Disney.  It takes each and every one of Disney’s 72,000 cast members to provide guests with the magical experience.  From guiding guest to a certain ride or attraction to picking up the trash that falls to the ground… each cast member is dedicated to that vision that Walt Disney set forth so many years ago.

- Marc

Exploring the Magic of Disney - as a Team

Each of us made the decision to apply and participate in this experience because we were driven by different motivating factors. But for all of us, there was a curiosity factor involved as well. We were not completely sure what all the these seven days of magic would entail J, and what our exact outcomes would be. But we decided to dive into the unknown anyway, because we were curious about exploring Disney’s service innovation principles.
Sharing this common platform within our theme park group as well as our class as a whole allowed us to operate and function effectively in our tasks and continue to push the door in our different tasks and assignments. For me, working with Team Hollywood enabled me to observe and participate in an environment where we were constantly thinking of new avenues and approaches to explore with our project. We were curious about guest utility of the MagicBand, so we decided to create a survey on this topic. Even simple curiosities such as wanting to know what the Riverside part of the Port Orleans hotel looked like were explored. We decided as a group take a walk over and have lunch.

One of my biggest takeaways was really understanding the emphasis of Walt Disney’s idea of fostering innovation through teamwork and collaboration. Even looking at the quote referenced above, he uses the term “we” instead of “I”. One of the most important parts to functioning as a team well is thinking and functioning as a unit. Over these 7 days our team was able to do so as we explored our curiosities together and experienced the magic of Disney.  - Brigit

Poto's Disney Guest Experience: The Importance of Cast Members

One of the concepts that intrigued me the most during the duration of our Innovations and Services course was the role in which Disney cast members’ play in the journey of the guest experience. The extensive application process and training that cast members undergo really contributes to the culture of Disney, because they learn who they are, what they create, and whom they create it for. They learn how valuable their role is to “Everything Disney”. Whether they are offstage behind the line of visibility, or onstage and within the line of interaction, each cast member plays an integral role in guest satisfaction.
I had two very memorable customer experiences during the duration of our stay in Disney. This week was the first time I heard about the concept of “Hidden Mickeys”. I had no idea that the Imagineers placed them all around the parks and resort. One of the highlights of my trip was the hidden Mickey that was placed in my room by housekeeping. Although I did not interact or cross paths with housekeeping (as I was always out of the room by the time they came through), they were able to make my week a bit more magical through creativity. As you can see in the picture below, I found a hidden Mickey made out of towels, strategically placed in the bed frame. In addition to this experience, I also found our last night to be truly magical. Thank you to Sharon and Stuart, we were able to enjoy a magical guest experience in a relaxed environment. Watching the sunset while eating dinner by the water, and having a VIP view and the ability to avoid the crowd during the Illumination Show were just a few of the highlights. The experience was greatly enhanced by our waitress, who made sure everyone was comfortable, happy, and enjoying the food. These two cast members really demonstrated how vital both offstage and onstage roles can be to the Guest Experience at Disney, reiterating the concept that Disney drives home: no matter what the role is, every cast member plays an integral part in the Disney Experience.
A video of our last night and the ambiance and experience that we had the opportunity to be a part of

Hidden Mickeys appearing on lights via the lens of the 3D glasses we received at dinner.

A picture of the Hidden Mickey that housekeeping strategically placed in our room